Communication techniques and strategies can have a huge impact on increasing workplace productivity. Declining or stagnant productivity is often chalked up to lack of employee motivation or engagement. Both of these can be turned around with better communication.
Productivity may also sometimes suffer from sheer lack of good quality information. Perhaps employees don’t fully understand how to do their tasks or the goal toward which their work is contributing. Better communication can also improve these factors, increasing workplace productivity.
What steps can you take toward increasing workplace productivity? The following are best practices that will drive better communication and enhanced productivity:
1. State the Company’s Goals Clearly and Transparently
Employees need to know the overall goals the organization is working toward. They also need to know how their job fits in. Are you striving to increase revenue with a new product? Aiming to be the #1 company in your field? Enhancing customer service? Make sure employees are clearly told what the primary goals are.
It’s best to do this in a place where all employees can come or through a series of smaller meetings. Some companies effectively use all-hands meetings where highly placed executives give a series of 15-minute presentations about the goals and mission of the company.
It’s also a good idea to make the presentations available after these meetings, via posting videos or PowerPoint presentations so that employees in another locale or who were absent can see them.
2. Make Sure Each Team Knows Their Objectives
In addition to overall company goals, each individual team needs to know the objectives they need to hit. For instance, if the company overall is striving to increase revenue with a new product, the sales force needs to know their sales targets!
This needs to be done throughout the company. Each person needs a communication system that tells them what they must do to align with company goals and help the company succeed. If the overall goal is enhancing customer service, for example, the customer service department may need to be trained to more effectively respond to customer calls, and they may need enhanced information technology (IT) support.
3. Train Effectively
Sometimes, employees aren’t productive because they aren’t trained properly. Say you have a new salesperson who knows and understands her sales targets. She is clear on how the targets translate into the company goals for increased revenue — but she is not reaching the targets because her customers are not adopting the new product rapidly.
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One communication approach would be to train her to turn “no’s” from customers into “yes’s.” For example, perhaps they are not purchasing the new product because the redesign eliminated a feature that they find very helpful. Training on how to elicit the reasons for a “no” would be useful here because if she realizes the reason, she can address it effectively. She could, for example, communicate the reason back to the company. It could have the engineers redesign the product to put the feature back in. If the redesign in turn hikes sales, this could become an instance in which communication — the training and the communication back to the company — have improved productivity.
Customer service departments sometimes provide scripts to representatives so that they respond appropriately to customers. If a customer is returning software they have found difficult to use, for example, they should be validated that it was not a good experience for them and apologized to, not patronized for failing to use it properly. Not all new customer service representatives will realize this without explicit training.
4. Motivate Through Gamification
You can utilize communication methods to motivate your employees. Don’t overlook the essential motivators, like salary increases and benefits for good work. But don’t ignore the ways that praise and meeting goals can be communicated through gamification.
Gamification refers to the awarding of badges, prizes, stars or points for the achievement of goals. As a salesperson nears his target, for example, he might receive stars for each time he achieves 25 percent of the sales quota in a given quarter. If customers are surveyed about the customer service experience, you might award a badge for ratings that are four out of five or above.
People like to be told that they succeeded. Gamification provides a fun way to pat them on the back and communicate that they are doing well.
5. Have Informal Meetings Frequently
Once you’ve communicated company goals and individual objectives, institute informal meetings and conversations with your employees. You want to touch base to find out if they are comfortable with the goals and motivated to do them. Is there any obstacle that needs to be cleared? Are there any misunderstandings that need to be eliminated? Are they feeling appreciated?
Good communication strategies and techniques are essential to driving productivity upward. These five steps will help you make both your organization and your employees more productive.
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