• Jeff Barkun

4 Tips on How to Improve Communication and Collaboration in the Workplace

It is important to have communication and a collaborative spirit in the workplace for a business to run effectively. Why is this? If we don't share information with each other, work will breakdown and fall through the cracks. Customers will not be served and will be angry and leave. Chaos will ensue. Getting people to work together in a harmonious fashion does not have to be difficult

Here are four tips about how to facilitate this.

Show You Are Trustworthy

As the saying goes, trust is hard to earn and easy to lose. Your employees need to be able to trust you if you want them to be open and honest so you can get the most out of their talent. If they do not perceive you are trustworthy, this will simply not happen. This will be evaluated everyday so always be conscious about how the things you say and do may be perceived.

Open Your Ears

When a team member comes to you with a question, concern, or suggestion, pay attention. Show you are interested by asking questions, providing feedback, and attempting to fix issues they bring up. You have probably heard this before, but this is active listening and it works really well. Employees will have many more concerns than you ever imagined and they will find a problem, and hopefully a solution, to an issue you did not even know you were facing.

Create a Collaborative Environment by Eliminating Silos

This is a commonly mentioned topic, but I do not believe it is truly well understood. One central tenet to building a collaborative environment is the elimination of information silos. We share information across the organization about customers, projects, policies, processes and culture. Beyond sensitive or proprietary information, we should aim to make as much information as possible publicly accessible to all internal stakeholders. This will reduce time wasted having people chase after each other for basic things like where a document is stored, or what the last discussion was with a prospect. If someone can simply access this information, they can immediately get going on what they need to do and will reserve the act of reaching out to another person for when there is a more sophisticated discussion to be had that might involve interpretation or analysis, something businesses should consider to be higher value work.

Have Processes and Workflows In Place And Documented

It is much easier to do what needs to be done if you know what that is and how you should do it. Thus, make sure to have clearly documented processes in place and be sure to have both a written descriptive guide and an associated visual map. These should be readily available to everyone at all times so you do not need to keep explaining them. By the same token, we should always be reviewing these to assure we are following best practices, so regularly review and question them. The best companies understand there is a natural and continuous evolution to help remain nimble and adaptable to changes in the market, world, technology and anything else that affects you.

By setting up effective business processes or workflows that implement these tips, communication and collaboration can be a regular part of your day to day work. For help analyzing your business processes and implementing business process improvement, contact Barkun Consulting today.

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