Efficient internal communication is a key driver to any company’s performance. The ability of employees to access the information they need in a timely manner, collaborate with their colleagues, and stay up to date on team goals can have a dramatic effect on their overall productivity levels. The right formula is also hard to come by, with many companies overcomplicating the issue and creating inefficient and demotivating structures (think frequent big team meetings with unclear agendas).
Luckily there are several straightforward steps that every company can take in order to increase the speed and efficiency of business communication. These steps will bring benefits to any business whether it’s a startup just setting up operations or a large company with years of history.
Move away from email
According to the Radicati Group, the average office worker in the US sends or receives 136 emails per day, a huge time investment. The lag in response rate inherent in email makes it an extremely inefficient method for ongoing communication. Most employees have experienced the multi-day and multi-response email chain for an issue that could have been resolved with a short discussion between the concerned parties.
In order to speed up, this process companies should encourage their employees to move away from emails in certain situations by setting up guidelines on when email is appropriate, and when it’s not. These guidelines should focus on helping employees determine the relevance of the email (does this message concern everyone cc’d in the email) and the appropriateness of email as a medium of communication (does the email require an immediate response). For situations where email isn’t appropriate, employees should be encouraged to use the business’s IM client.
Rethink meeting structures
More logical meeting structures are not only a question of improved communication but carry real benefits to a company’s bottom line. One recent study found that $37 billion in salary costs are wasted annually in the United States alone in unnecessary meetings, so re-thinking your company’s meeting structure can bring increased efficiency on several fronts.
The first step in rethinking meeting structures is returning to the fundamental questions around “what” topics need to be discussed, “how” frequently, and “who” needs to be involved in the discussions. This will give companies a good foundational structure, but In order to make meetings true drivers of fast and efficient communication, companies need to invest more time upfront in creating the agenda for each individual meeting. In doing this it’s important to seek team members input and focus on topics that need group discussion, as opposed to being only informative. This will both give the meeting a clear focus, and better determine exactly which team members should be in attendance.
Take it internal
The best way to increase business communication is to create an internal communication structure through a private IM network, which allows your employees to instantly communicate and collaborate from any location. This is especially important given that remote work has increased over recent years in terms of total employees working remotely at least part of the time. Setting up an internal IM network sounds complicated, but luckily there are several good options currently on the market. To take one example, Brosix IM helps companies set up such networks while taking care of all the issues involved with hosting and maintenance. This allows companies to focus on the more important task of network administration and increasing employee collaboration.
One of the biggest benefits of using a private network is that companies can group their employees in logical ways (by teams, projects, etc.), and ensure that they are focused on business communication while at work. The features provided to this end are varied, but usually cover text, audio and video chat (great options for reducing the amount of sent and received emails), screen sharing, and file transfers. Some private networks also have a higher security level than freeware IM clients, so companies can address cybersecurity concerns while working towards faster business communication.
The task of ensuring quick and efficient business communication is not an easy one. Without a clear plan, employees often resort to inefficient standbys, like over-relying on emails and in-person meetings. In order to combat this business should focus on clearly outlining when certain communication structures are appropriate, and encouraging employees to use an internal IM network designed to the business’s specifications. This increase in business communication speed will lead to increased productivity and more engaged employees, the ultimate goal of every team!