3 ways to improve your company's communication

New project management software and mobile apps offer companies good alternatives to email and Skype to make sure communication does not become a game of broken telephone

effective online communication

Communicating and connecting with employees has never been easier. Thanks to advancements in technology, companies are in a fortunate position to replace anachronistic practices such as company meetings or even conference calls with tools that are effective and end up saving the company plenty of money and help acquire and retain talent.

“Companies need to change their mindset and embrace mobile technologies that enable them to deploy productivity enhancing tools to all their employees. The range of available tools is broad and is expanding constantly. From workflow management, task lists, learning and training systems, surveys and polls, GPS location tracking to shift management and real-time communications. Employee apps are like the Swiss knife of business tools. Everything is now easily accessible, anytime, anywhere, through a branded employee app,” said Amir Nehemia the CEO of Connecteam, an organizational employee app creator.

1. Forget email

Email is the devil. For tasks and rapid-fire assignments, it should no longer be your tool of choice. Email is notorious for banter and dragged out back and forths. While email is good for personal use, it is ineffective and overly indulgent. The original function of email was to replace memos, but not conversations that require immediate action. Startups in tech exist in a hectic environment and competition is fierce. Bottom line, email should not be a company’s default communication tool.

"The problem is in trying to make email do everything when it's not particularly good at anything. Gmail conversations are horrible. People always reply to the wrong subject, and as the discussion continues it moves off topic, so the thread becomes useless. It's the wrong mechanism, badly done,” said Don Norman, the author of Design of Everyday Things.

2. Project management tools

The amount of startups that stubbornly refuse to employ time and headache saving project management tools is mindboggling. Slack, Trello, Smartsheet, HipChat, Asana, Flowdock, Basecamp, and Yammer come to mind as excellent ways to delegate, communicate and assign projects. Yet most companies still stick to email and seem to enjoy long and tedious threads with no end in sight.

Project management is all about helping your organization see projects through from start to finish, giving employees a voice in the process. Thanks to technology project planning and delivery is more efficient than ever. The only thing your company needs is a savvy leadership bold enough to try new software options instead of dividing communication between archaic Outlook and often unreliable Skype.

3. Good onboarding requires great communication

Perhaps the most integral part of company culture is the effective onboarding of employees. After all, without a coherent work and company culture, there’s a good chance some employees will simply lose motivation or work against the team.

“When you start to work at a new company you receive a folder with lots of reading materials. In many case the onboarding materials are outdated as someone did not update and print out the new version. Apart from wasting tons of paper, these brochures and booklets get lost or land in the next paper bin. Then you get lots of read this and view that suggestions and request from peers, managers, compliance and human resources. A structured and optimized onboarding process is often missing. Today companies have access to a much more efficient, engaging and fun way to ensure that their new employees are better trained and ready for the job faster. With the introduction of mobile employee apps, companies have now access to a full training and learning management system as part of the many available features. In addition companies can set up their own knowledge base that employee can access anytime, anywhere to access company specific information and familiarize themselves with required processes,” said Nehemia.

One way to do a better job communicating is to use gamification. I wrote here about gamification and its importance in onboarding new employees. Gamification can be harnessed equally for the purposes of communication.

“When topics such as sexual harassment, onboarding of new hires, and company policies are gamified, it shows the subject that this information is so important, you've taken a lot of steps to ensure they learn it. Just the fact you have gamified a topic leaves that impression,” said Paul Trowe, CEO of Replay Games.

When a company is successfully conveying important messages to its employees it simply means that the company is successfully building a strong company culture with communication at the center.

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