Here are some ways to evaluate your company’s current communication tools and how to reform those tools to better suit employee needs:
Restructure your File Server
Are your employees regularly unable to locate important documents and other information needed to do their jobs?
If so, your company’s file server may be to blame. Many businesses lack procedures for labeling and storing company documents. The result is improperly labeled digital folders, lost files, multiple versions of the same documents and more.
Form a workplace task force or hire a consultant to assess your company’s current file storage process and reform that process as needed.
Communication happens in many forms, including through stored files, so be sure your employees are working together to create a well-organized and intuitive file storage system.
Assess Email Usage
As the article “10 Ways your Current Communication Tools are Wasting your Time” looks at, email is a major source of communication frustration for most professionals.
While email can be an effective and efficient way for co-workers to communicate, it’s often misused. Many inboxes are filled with unnecessary email strings, disjointed messages, piles of unopened emails and more.
Reform this communication tool by working with employees to assess their current email practices and adjust those practices as needed.
By implementing email usage policies, providing email training and switching to new email platforms when needed, you can reduce frustrations and improve this medium as a tool for effective workplace communication.
Consider Instant Messaging
Are your employees using instant messaging as a tool for fast workplace communication? When used properly, instant messaging platforms can unclog email inboxes, give workplace phones a break and more.
However, like other communication mediums, instant messaging tools can bring more frustrations than benefits when used improperly. For example, only certain types of communication such as informal messages should be sent via instant message.
To avoid workflow interruptions, this platform is best turned off when employees are focusing in time sensitive, important projects.
Evaluate Meeting Structures
Classic face-to-face communication remains one of the more effective communication tools. This method of communication can also cause the most problems, if used ineffectively.
Just as a communications audit of your company’s marketing plan is critical to your brand success, a communications audit of your company’s meeting structures and other face-to-face interactions can uncover weak communication practices and provide ideas for change.
Training is often necessary to orientate employees on proper meeting structures and how to effectively communicate their messages during in-person interactions. Communication doesn’t happen when words are spoken, it happens when those words are effectively received and understood.
Follow the Paper Trail
With the increase in digital communications, the paper trails of many companies have been left to follow dead ends. If your business’s memos, announcements and newsletters are still distributed via paper, take some time to follow the paper trail.
Who receives those paper documents and what do they do with the messages? If messages are lost along the trail, you may need to switch to a more up-to-date tool.
The best businesses have the best communication tools and practices. Don’t wait to improve your company’s communications after problems arise. Instead, assess your current communication tools and reform them as needed to stay ahead of the curve.
About the Author: Shayla Ebsen is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience both in the corporate and freelance settings.