Communication is at the forefront of any savvy business owner’s mind. Not only is it crucial to be able to communicate effectively with your clients, but it is equally important to be able to communicate with your team.
A business needs to have a strong platform on which they can store information, documents and communicate across different streams and departments. So, there needs to be ample storage and unlimited means of conversation between team members. These days it’s more important than ever to have a platform set up. More and more people are working from home, either full time or part-time. With small businesses establishing themselves solely online, having a communication platform is going to be very important for growth.
Unfortunately, some of these platforms can be tricky to manage and not all of them are right for every type of business. These chatrooms can be overrun with different conversations, they need to be monitored in some cases and without the proper rules and guidelines, they can make more problems than they are worth for employers.
It’s important for team members to use the platforms properly and effectively, but when all else fails, here is a detailed list of 4 ways you can improve your business’ communication platform.
Find the right platform
First and foremost, you need to pick a platform that is strong, easy to use, and cost-effective. While most do require a subscription fee, you do not need to be paying for an overcomplicated system that you hate using. Find something simple and be prepared with backup options if you ever need to reconsider the platform you are using.
One of the most talked-about communication tools is Slack, it seems to be the one everyone is using, but there are other options such as Microsoft Teams, RocketChat, and Chanty that do the same job. For a more comprehensive list, have a look here at the best slack alternatives.
Take advantage of any trial period offered and make sure you are happy with the platform before you purchase it.
Set up chatroom rules and guidelines
Make sure your team knows how to use the software or platform and set up a set of guidelines that can be easily accessed by all members of your business. If your biggest problem is the platform being used too informally, infrequently, or is overrun with messages, remind your team of the guidelines. You might want to put in place rules that require the platform to only be used professionally and all other communication to be done via email or vice versa.
Perhaps some of your staff don’t know how to use the platform to its fullest potential. Go over the guide and any how-to’s provided to keep all team members up to date on how to use the software to better communicate with each other. Having this control over your communication platform and knowing how to properly use it is all a part of running a successful and efficient business.
Clean out unnecessary conversations/Clear out the system annually
Much like it’s recommended to clear out your office space or pantry, or wardrobe at the end of the year, it might be a good idea to encourage your team to clear out their chatroom groups or conversations that aren’t necessary anymore. Or, you could also clear out the platform at the end of the year, making sure that everyone backups up their work and important information prior to the overhaul.
Depending on the software you are using, too many uses or too much storage space being taken up could be making the platform run slowly and inadequately. A big cleanout could be exactly what you need. Try and think of your communication platform as any other system or software you use to do external business such as point of sale (POS) or internal business such as your payment system. These aspects of your business are often evaluated, thoroughly checked, and fixed when there is an issue.
Be present on the platform
Finally, if you feel like there is too much going on that you, as a business owner, are unaware of or unhappy with, make yourself visible on the platform. Do this to create a stronger sense of camaraderie between yourself and your team and help with the overall well-being of your team, or to keep an eye on the communication system. Regardless it’s important to be present. Reach out to your team and gather any helpful information about how they use the platform and what they think of it.
Partake in conversations and be personable. Show authority when necessary by sending out a daily bulletin, maybe. Remember, there might be a problem that you are unaware of, whether that be workplace bullying, a slow system, or an ineffective communication problem. You can only solve a problem if you are aware of it. Maybe your employees will feel more encouraged to use all the tools provided to them and to use them effectively and appropriately if the boss is online.
This gives your team a place to reach out to you as well, which isn’t so formal as an email but is still a professional space.
Finding the right communication platform is a crucial aspect of running your business. The right platform met with the right people who understand how to use it will always be met better than by those who don’t. Find a good platform that works for you and your business, do your research and take advantage of trial periods, set up those guidelines to make things clear to new and current team members about how to use the platform correctly and appropriately.
Clean out any unnecessary conversations and get your team members to do the same. It’s always best to keep your business tidy both in-office and online. Finally, be present. If you’re not using it correctly, or at all, your employees might not know how to either. Creating space for your team to be able to communicate with you and other team members effectively will ultimately help to improve your business’s overall communication.