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Mission-Driven Marketing Blog

5 Ways to Implement Effective Communication in Your Work Environment

After working with the innovative team of Tapp Network, I’ve noticed how powerful communication is and how much it leads to the success of an organization. What makes this team stand out is how they are constantly trying to grow and improve their methods to create a better understanding for their team and customers.

As you know, we are all different in our own ways. Tapp understands these differences and allows their employees to feel comfortable working on a variety of projects simultaneously turning their passion for work into motivating energy. What Tapp has seemed to make the head of, is this: there needs to be some sort of constant understanding, or some may call it “common ground.”

Tony Robbins,  American success coach, and self-help author explained it perfectly: “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” So what is that “common ground?” Effective communication.

Communication

What are the “softer” skills needed to communicate effectively?

1. Understand your employees

It all starts with knowing whom you are working with. Identify that there are differences in habits, beliefs, learning styles, etc. Once you can see that and believe it, emphasize it. Make your team aware of these incongruities so they can also try to understand each other. Some ways you can make your team aware:

  • Host and allow others on your team to host team-building activities 
  • Meet with your employees one-on-one
  • Incorporate “Get-to-Know-You” questions into weekly meetings
  • Hold Diversity & Inclusion workshops 

What this understanding does, is help to create warm reception and increase approachability enough to connect from the get-go. From this, your employees will develop a sense of belonging and feel empowered.

Another setback, in particular, that is overlooked in the way employers and employees interact with one another. That is understanding introversion vs. extraversion. 

It’s important to understand that personalities are not one-size-fits-all. Someone who tends to be more introverted may not feel comfortable or psychologically safe doing the same activity as someone who is on the extroverted end of the scale. This is where knowing your employees and encouraging them to get to know one another can build psychological safety. This allows for introverted employees to feel comfortable participating in “risky” activities, feeling they know and trust the group.

The entire world seems to be designed for extroverts, yet 30%-50% of the population are somewhere on the introvert scale! If you’re interested in where you land, take this free 10-minute test. To summarize:

  • Understand introversion vs. extraversion
  • Build psychological safety

2. Build a communication-friendly culture

Yes, communicating is great, but feeling comfortable doing it gives it a whole new meaning. Building a communication-friendly culture means creating a comforting and reassuring environment for your organization. It helps break down those walls for people, encouraging them to raise concerns and voice their true opinions. The trust this type of culture establishes is exactly what is needed to make an individual feel confident and communicate effectively. Some ways to build a communication-friendly culture: 

  • Be transparent to your employees: Explain why you’re asking your employee to do something. Think of a window. It restricts how much you can see outside but gives a glimpse of what is there. The people working for your organization should know the “why” to what they do or, more specifically, the end goals they are trying to reach. Full transparency can result in better employee engagement, loyalty, and build a better sense of respect.
  • Set goals: By providing them with insight into an end goal and possibly the steps it may take to get there, you are not only improving open communication and affability but lighting a spark! People get excited knowing that they are contributing to something bigger and actually making an impact.
  • Ask for feedback: How will you know if you are doing things right? I mean genuinely, being effective. Ask, ask some more, and adapt. You may be thinking, “how do I know they are being honest with me?” You will know if you establish that trust within your organization. To my previous points, everything has a way of connecting, so create an environment where honesty is a simple expectation. Meeting one-on-one with employees is a great example that can give you the best results. 

Lastly, ask how they are from time to time. We are all people with different lives and things going on. It may sound simple, and it is. A small interaction or showing of interest can go a long way and mean more to people than you think.

What about the “harder” skills needed to communicate effectively?

It’s no secret that technology has become our means of communicating, both in our personal lives and professionally. Generally, we know that technology and increasing electronic communication improves the communication process. This is because of its ability to eliminate time and obstacles that affect how an organization hopes to meet its objectives. Let’s look at it technically.

3. Use an employee communication app

Having a messaging app, like Slack, can help connect people to the information they need. Understand there are different messaging apps better used for different needs. PCMag summarizes the top picks for business messaging apps in 2021 and their special features. 

Someone I worked with once said they wish there was a single “source of truth”: One place to go to for all things such as project management, tasks, conversations, etc. Unfortunately, there are very few applications that can do it all efficiently, if any. This is why we, as a society, rely on communication so much. We need it to inform and learn from one another. Tips for maintaining effective communication within your messaging app:

  • Define different modes of communication
  • Inform your team of the differences in roles each form of communication plays 

For example, you may choose to text message someone for something you wouldn’t email them about. Text messaging or direct messaging in Slack may be for higher priority and more timely subjects, whereas email may be strictly having to do with clients and projects with the expectation of a 24-hour response time. Maybe there’s one way you’d specifically like to bring in third parties, like contractors, and communicate with them. You can define different groups in an app like Slack to be more conversation-based too, but inform your team of the differences in roles each form of communication plays in your organization.

  • Create a team calendar of everyone’s expected working hours
  • Set regulations about when to communicate

Expectations should be set as to when it is appropriate to message, call, or email, especially for a business with flexible work hours and employees around the world. Since everyone has their own time and style, keeping a calendar of when people will generally be available throughout the day, that is updated daily, can help from disrupting others. You may propose that all members of your team should be available to answer questions on your messaging app between standard business hours. However, with a more flexible schedule, you may not require them to work the 9 am to 5 pm structured hours.

4. Learn all there is to know about your task management app

Like messaging, task management apps have a variety of special features, pros, and cons, etc. Drag does a great job explaining the main features of 20 of the best, free task management software to help you at work. 

These apps help you organize your workload more easily and improve your overall experience with managing your to-dos. Task and project management apps can do so much more than you might originally need them for. Explore them. 

One example is ClickUp. It can integrate with your email, sync with your messaging app, team calendars, and has dashboards where you can include important project indicators, like visual widgets, all in one place.

5. Set expectations for app use

We tend to underestimate how confusing using these apps can be to people, especially with different learning styles. For instance, creating a task in ClickUp can look different from person to person. Some may like to keep it vague for their own knowledge or make it specific for others to fully understand. This is where that common understanding between employees and employers comes in. 

In order to effectively communicate, employees need to have some sort of standardization where all tasks are easy to read and comprehend. What is a task? What is a sub-task? What do you expect out of your employees? This, of course, is just a minor example. However, you may find similar instances with how to link documents, organizing OKRs and Sprints into goal folders, and analyzing workload reports.

Join Us!

Working as an Administrative Intern for Tapp Network this summer, I have been able to learn about the ins and outs of People Operations, and let me tell you it is tough! I was especially impressed with how well Tapp accounts for the diversity of their team, whether that’s what each individual is interested in, how they work, or how they identify. An example is how they encourage you to create a title for yourself that you feel encompasses the values and goals of your position. With that being said, I highly recommend you consider a career with Tapp Network. Take a look at our openings!

Heather Stroili

Written by Heather Stroili

As an Administrative Intern, Heather has helped measure Tapp's profitability with clients, worked on project management of accounts, operations, and human resources work to help grow our company. She is a rising Junior at the University of Delaware passionate about double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Management and has been able to apply her entrepreneurial spirit to the internship role and modern business world.

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