If a successful business plan is the foundation of any successful business, then the framework for success has to be effective communication.
Without clear and open avenues of discussion, no business can thrive, or in some cases, survive. So, how should a business owner ensure they set up their company with a structurally sound communication strategy?
Develop a strong, collaborative company vision
Employees expect a lot from business leaders; they expect practical direction, but they also want to work for someone confident in their own abilities.
To ensure your employees fully understand your business goals and where they sit in relation to them, you need a shared company vision. This should primarily be driven by your business model and professional goals, but don't be afraid to involve your staff. Ask them for their ideas, even if it's on simple things like the brand of coffee you buy - it all contributes towards how your company functions.
The more involved your employees feel in the business, the more invested they will be in the company vision, and the more dedicated they will be to doing a good job for you.
Set clear roles and responsibilities
One of the major barriers to clear communication is the crossover between roles and responsibilities. Difficult situations can arise when employees aren't entirely clear on what their role is within a business.
This can cause issues when it comes to anything from sending invoices to preparing for meetings and negotiations. When hiring and promoting, ensure staff are clear on what their roles include and review these responsibilities regularly. When you're giving out individual tasks, make sure you come up with actionable points that can be allocated to specific team members so that nothing gets lost in the midst of a busy meeting.
Train your staff to be leaders
An important part of the growth of the company is a leader's ability to delegate effectively to managers. Recruitment is, of course, vital, but training is just as important. It's all too easy to lose track of how your managers are managing their individual teams.
On average, managers only start getting proper training ten years after they take on their roles, which means many are uncomfortable with important aspects of the job. For example, Harvard Business Review reported in 2015 that 37% of managers named giving direct feedback as one of the most uncomfortable aspects of their job.
Don't lose sight of real world interactions
While digital communication is convenient and can open up doors for your business, you should always remember to keep your business firmly in the real world. Face-to-face interactions and phone calls are important; take active steps to ensure employees don't fall into the trap of only communicating online.
You will probably notice this is more of an issue with younger employees than more senior colleagues, as they're more used to communicating digitally. According to our own research, 72% of graduates admitted they're sometimes scared to use the phone. Compare that to only 35% of over-65s and you can see the need for demographic-specific training on the use of the telephone.
Encourage, and give, direct feedback
Feedback is a vital element of ensuring your business grows and learns, but it also ensures that staff don't keep repeating the same mistakes. A mistake is a learning opportunity; it's a momentary lapse in judgment or communication. However, failing to feedback to team members on mistakes signals a wider issue and needs to be addressed. Feedback isn't just about avoiding mistakes, by having regular feedback sessions from your staff you'll find new ways to streamline your services, discover new tools to help them do their job better and ultimately create a more open working environment.
Copyright © 2017 Sean McMahon, Senior Content Writer for Toll Free Forwarding.