Deciding which communication platforms to use can be overwhelming.
Where do I discuss and manage current projects? Where do I want to receive budget approvals? Where do we brainstorm new ideas for our business? Where do I share my learnings on current events? And what tools do I use to share this information??
Internal communication will directly effect the quality of work you produce for your clients. Identifying the communication gaps and brainstorming solutions as a team will improve moral and increase productivity.
How do you get the ball rolling? You can start with a staff meeting that will address what communication platforms we have access to, and how we will plan on using them. I have come up with a six-step process that can help your team collaborate their ideas and identify the purpose of your communication platforms.
1) Identify what you use. List all internal communication platforms your company uses. Examples: Gmail, Google Sites, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Basecamp, Highrise, Phone, Text, etc.
One person can lead the discussion, visually recording all ideas that surface from the brainstorm.
2) Identify reasons why you may need to communicate. What are the events that trigger collaboration between team members? Examples: getting approval on budget, design, reports, publishing content; determining goals of a project; determining due dates and tasks for each project; requesting time off; sharing new learnings, etc.
Team members may make suggestions that do not necessarily require collaboration. This is the perfect opportunity to address issues, share reason, and provide direction. Sometimes team members need confirmation that they have the authority to make certain decisions.
3) Make the connections. Start drawing lines to connect events (challenges) to the preferred communication platform (solutions). This activity will begin to relieve stress because it is creating structure.
4) Apply what you’ve learned. Apply the solutions your team has established. Open up each communication platform and produce a message, status, or call out that reminds the team what events will take place. Show your employees how to subscribe to the platform to receive real-time updates. Example: If your company uses Google Sites, you can subscribe to updates for specific pages to be sent to your inbox.
5) Summarize and share. Summarize the key takeaways of the meeting, and have a team member share their notes in digital format. Don’t forget to identify a communication platform that you want to use to share meeting notes and brainstorming sessions.
6) Follow up. Set an hour aside in the beginning of each work week to meet with your team. In that meeting, dedicate at least 15 minutes towards addressing their challenges to help refine your company’s communication platforms.
This six-step process is an example on how to provide structure for your team. The idea is to address issues early and find solutions quickly in order to increase their productivity.
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