7 Tips to Improve Team Communication
Posted on September 8, 2017 by Kristin Proctor
When it comes to organizing your team members and making sure that everyone is on the same page, communication is key. Making sure everyone is informed about what’s going on with shifts and last-minute coverages can be difficult. Here are some strategies that will keep everyone in the know, so you can create a cohesive unit that works well together.
1. Make It Easy
As you decide how you’ll communicate with your team, you want to make it easy. For that to work, the information needs to be accessible and obvious. Consider the demographic of your employees. If it’s full of teens and other young professionals, having something available on their smartphones is the best way to go. Apps like Crew include notifications that can let team members immediately know when there’s new information. This prevents the need to proactively check to see if there are changes. In fact, according to leaders, using Crew saves time — on average four hours a week!
The Crew app isn’t just easier for the team. It’s also easier for you as the manager. No more needing to constantly create new group text chats to talk to the whole team or start new ones when someone leaves the team. You also don’t have to worry about sharing other employees’ phone numbers with their team members. With Crew, there are no phone numbers shared, and you can send messages just to the team members who need the information. Remove and add new employees as needed. It’s that simple, and because it’s made for teams, it’s more intuitive than using WhatsApp and other alternatives.
2. Avoid Too Much Communication
Although communication is important to ensure everyone is on the same page, too much communication can frustrate and annoy your team. There are three strategies that you can use when it comes to communication:
1. Avoid including team members in communications that aren’t relevant to them. With Crew, you can use the Location Group feature to easily communicate only with members who are onsite at the time. This means you’re not bugging team members about timely worksite issues when they’re at home.
2. Give team members the ability to turn communications on and off. When team members go on vacation, for instance, they don’t want to be reminded about work at all. Many teams use text messages for communication, which is difficult to add and remove people. With Crew, team members can turn off notifications when they’re away, allowing them to relax and not worry about work.
3. Provide all information that employees need in one location that’s easy to find and always in the same place. Just because employees don’t want to be inundated with information doesn’t mean there’s not information that they want to know. This is where having a central repository is so important.
For instance, if the weekly shift schedule is always posted at the same location each week, then employees can check it at their convenience, without having to sift through group texts or having to call in to find out when they’re working next. This repository may be an internal website, Facebook groups, or messenger apps, but as mentioned above, having an app made specifically for teams makes things easier.
3. Motivate by Sharing Progress
A big part of team communication is helping to bond members of the team together. If your team’s big push is customer service, for instance, you can use communication tools to help reinforce your team’s ideals and remind employees of what their goals are. For those goals to be achievable, they must be definable and repeatable.
Use your communication tools to reach out to employees to let them know where the team is at with their goals and also possibly praise individual contributions to reaching team objectives. This will help motivate other team members to do likewise and help with team building.
4. Know Who’s in the Know
Team goals aren’t the only things you might be interested in tracking. Have you ever sent out information to your team and didn’t know who had received the message and who hadn’t? With Crew App, that is a question no longer. You can see with the read receipts exactly who has read the messages you send out. This turns into a great accountability tool, ensuring that the team as a whole has the information they need to be successful.
5. Use the Right Tools
Think about how you communicate with your team today. Is it working? If it’s not, the reason could be that you just don’t have the right tools in place. A printed Excel spreadsheet with that week’s team schedule pinned to the wall is not the best way to communicate who is working when. You need a way to turn that printed schedule into a digital one that your team can easily access.
The right tool can make all the difference. An easy-to-use app like Crew lets you put the schedule in everyone’s pocket and simplifies communication around shift changes. With the Crew app, team members can reference their schedule and find someone to cover their shift if an emergency arises, as well as seeing what shifts need coverage and volunteering when they need extra work.
With Crew, you can have group and individual chats, and also instantly communicate with all team members if there’s an immediate need. No more calling each crew member when you need coverage at the last minute simply broadcast an open shift to the relevant team members to quickly find coverage. Also, make sure you check out the 6 tips that make you schedule your team like a pro.
6. Provide a Channel for Feedback
As you choose your communication tools, consider whether there’s a way for your employees to provide feedback. Employees should feel free to give feedback that is open and honest as well as share ideas of how they think things could improve. If you choose Crew, it’s as easy as starting an individual conversation.
Employees are on the front lines of the business, and they see how strategies are working in the real world. This means that they sometimes have a better perspective on how to fine-tune processes and how to improve things. Encourage open communication with your employees, so they know you’re open to these new ideas.
This goes along with allowing for open and honest communication, but since communication is a two-way street, employees aren’t likely to open up unless you do, as well. This is why transparency is so important. When you’re willing to communicate with your team members and provide an open dialogue, trust will increase among the whole team. As you share, make sure that you do so deferentially and without defensiveness. This will help employees to feel respected, which will, in turn, increase their respect for you.
If you’re ready to improve team communication, download the free Crew app and see what benefits it can provide for you and for your team.