Sometimes In-Person is Best
In this digital age, it’s easy to send an email to someone who is sitting in the next cubicle or just down the hall. But for sensitive matters, talking over the phone or in person can often not only save time, but prevent miscommunication that can happen over email or text.
If there is a situation that needs to be handled delicately, or one that’s complex enough to cause confusion, stopping by a coworker’s desk to chat or setting up a 15-minute meeting is often all it takes to make sure the problem is solved before it even begins.
Promote in-person chats in your office by setting up meeting pods or tables, or by having an open office anyone can use to hold impromptu collaboration sessions. Completely open floor plans aren’t always the best for productivity, but the right layout can make employees feel comfortable stopping by a coworker’s desk instead of sending an email.
Chat Can Make Employees Closer
For simple conversations, online chat can help employees be more productive, and it can result in employees feeling closer to their coworkers. It’s often easier and faster to answer a coworker’s instant message than it is to respond to an email with the same answer. Emails can take longer to transmit, so responses are usually delayed. Chat can get people the answers they need more quickly, and doesn’t add to what may be full inboxes.
While online chat can be detrimental to company culture if not used appropriately, most employees do find that it helps them grow their relationships with coworkers. This leads to better communication and transparency, as they also foster trust.
Adding a collaborative, social element to keep employees updated can also help them feel closer. Apps such as Chatter allow employees to see a real-time feed of status updates, project deadlines, and other information that can keep them in the know. When your employees know what’s going on, it will help them feel more connected to one another.
Document All Processes for Better Cross-Training
Another important aspect of transparency is knowing the responsibilities of other employees. This ensures everyone is on the same page with their duties and what is owed to coworkers. Having a good idea of what your colleagues do on a regular basis is also helpful for cross-training. It can help employees train new hires, fill in for colleagues while they are out on leave or vacation, and understand how their role fits into the customer experience and product offerings as a whole. Furthermore, learning new skills can help reduce burnout and keep employees engaged in their jobs as they continue to grow their expertise.
For cross-training, companies should create a knowledge base of workflows that documents all required tasks in detail, from start to finish. Not only does this help current and incoming employees, it can also help the company and its employees when someone leaves their role, such as when someone retires. Standardizing the way things are done can cut down on confusion and make sure everything adheres to standards. It also makes sure there’s no lapse in service for customers.
Steps to Improve Transparency in Your Office
- Encourage in-person discussions when necessary
- Use internal chat and enterprise social media
- Document processes
- Use the cloud and a CRM platform to keep all employees updated
- Understand and work with different communication styles
- Foster an open-door policy