High productivity is one of the most important aspects of any business.
Excellent ideas, innovative approaches, and a well-trained staff are only beneficial if your company actually completes its projects and accomplishes its goals.
So, if it seems like your company has all of the necessary pieces to become a high productivity powerhouse, it can be incredibly frustrating to see an actual low output.
If you’ve already ironed out any other potential problems, then perhaps the issue is simply poor communication.
Even the best employees with the best intentions can’t get work done unless they communicate with each other effectively.
If you’re looking to boost your company’s productivity, then communication should be one of the first areas you look. A 2013 study conducted by Willis Towers Watson showed that communication — along with change management — is one of the key areas that predict whether a company will outperform other companies in the industry.
No matter which field you find yourself in, communication is key if you want your company to do well.
Effective sharing and cooperation can have ripple effects throughout your business and can help put your business on track to achieve even greater success.
Here is how better business communication can improve productivity:
1. Fewer misunderstandings
Effective communication among teams means everyone will be on the same page.
There will be fewer misunderstandings about project statuses, division of labor, and the timeframe for project completion. Misunderstandings in any of these areas can lead to work not being done at the appropriate time, or not being done at all.
For instance, if a manager does not communicate effectively with an employee about what tasks that employee has been assigned, then the employee may misunderstand the expectations and fail to complete all of the necessary tasks. In this case, the failure is not due to a lack of motivation, or a lack of competency.
The employee may be an excellent worker with a strong desire to do the job well, but they can’t get their work done unless they fully understand what that work entails.
Clear communication helps everyone in the business — clients, managers, employees — understand what is expected of them, leading to fewer misunderstandings and greater productivity.
2. Clearer goals and milestones
Communication should go beyond the bare minimum.
Managers should communicate with each other and with their employees about the end goal of a specific project or task. When employees understand why they’re doing certain tasks, they’ll be more motivated to complete the task quickly and completely.
They’ll also be able to gear their work to best benefit the end goal.
For example, an employee completing a budget sheet for the next month can certainly finish the task without additional information. But, an employee completing a budget sheet for the next month with the knowledge that the company is trying to trim excess costs can do even more. They can note areas where the budget seems excessive, or they can compare with the previous year’s budget for that specific month to see which areas could be scaled back.
Informed employees become better at their jobs because they understand the ultimate goal of their specific tasks. Although it is sometimes impossible to share every detail with every employee, managers should always strive to keep their groups in the loop as much as possible.
3. Two (or more) heads are better than one
When employees are effectively communicating with each other, they can work together to solve problems. As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.
The fact is that sometimes even a brilliant employee can’t solve a problem on their own. A fresh set of eyes, or a different skill set, might be all it takes to get the first employee out of their creative rut.
And, of course, stalled employees are detrimental to productivity. Your company’s productivity will improve by simply allowing employees to put their heads together.
4. Greater cooperation, even across departments or groups
Encouraging better communication between employees means that people will understand the work that their co-workers are doing. This communication should take place even when employees aren’t yet collaborating on a project.
It’s important to keep all employees regularly and generally updated on the work being done across the company. This way, any employee can jump in to work on a project whenever their help is needed. Since they’ve kept up to date on the project, they won’t require as much explanation.
Instead, they’ll be able to jump right in and start helping out, even if they’re hopping into a project led by a different department. This means that problems can be resolved quickly without the need to wait for the new team member to get up to speed.
In this way, communication tears down the barriers between departments and groups, and allows people from across the company to work together. Because a wide variety of skills and perspectives are often needed to complete a project in a timely manner, greater cooperation across departments can only increase your company’s productivity.
5. Better company culture
When it comes to company culture, openness and honesty can go a long way to make employees feel comfortable and appreciated.
Effective communication doesn’t just mean telling employees what’s expected of them; it also includes listening to employees’ feedback, both positive and negative. When employees feel listened to, they’ll also feel more appreciated and more like an integral part of the company. All of these factors improve employees’ overall happiness, and happy employees are productive employees.
On the other hand, employees who feel that they aren’t listened to or aren’t appreciated are more likely to become dissatisfied with their jobs. This dissatisfaction will breed dread for their work, and make it more difficult for them to accomplish their jobs on time.
6. Higher employee retention rates
As your company culture improves and becomes more welcoming, you may notice your employee retention rates going up.
When people are happy at their jobs, they’re less likely to be tempted away by competing offers. In fact, you may notice that even if your employees receive offers for higher salaries at other companies, they’ll remain at your company because they enjoy coming into work every day.
The value of job satisfaction cannot be overstated, and many people would prefer working for less at a company they truly enjoy than working for more at a company they despise.
You may spend a lot of time building customer loyalty, but how often do you think about employee loyalty?
On the business side, retaining employees is excellent for productivity. New employees take time to train and orient, and they take time to settle into their new roles. This can amount to at least week and usually months of very low productivity, even from hard workers and quick learners.
It’s better, then, to retain employees who are already operating at peak efficiency. This can boost your overall productivity and keep your business out of a slump.
However, if you are dealing with a constantly changing workforce, you can learn ways to keep your company’s productivity high.
7. Quicker turnaround and resolution through technology
If you truly want to improve your business’ communication, technology can take your information sharing to the next level.
Apps such as the Nextiva App and the upcoming NextOS allow coworkers to communicate and share files quickly and without hassle. With apps like this, team members can convey information to each other instantaneously.
That means that, if there’s a problem that needs to be addressed immediately, employees have the tools to do so. H
assle-free file sharing and appointment reminders also mean that people can share even more information with each other and always ensure that they’re on the same page. Communication apps are the face of the future, and just one of the ways that your company can keep up with the changing face of modern business.
Technology boosts your productivity in more ways than just increasing communication. The ease of communication using technology can also save your company on travel costs. For simple meetings and check-ins, there’s no need to send someone to your satellite office in another state or country. Instead, you can simply set up a video call.
Technology, of course, can’t replace all face-to-face interactions. But, it can replace some and make your company more efficient. And this can only mean good things for your profit margins.
Once your company and your employees get into the habit of communicating regularly with one another, you’ll begin to see positive changes across your entire business. Effective communication leads to happier employees, higher productivity, and larger profit margins. For such huge effects, communication is a relatively simple solution to instate.
And, once improved communication becomes part of your company’s policy and culture, it will continue to give you more and more benefits.
Keith Wasielewski currently serves as the front-end developer for the Marketing department at Nextiva since 2015. Previously graduating from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in Software Development, Keith comes from a retail background where he successfully owned and ran his own comic book store for a number of years.