Communication is Key For The Culture of a Company
When we last talked about company culture, good communication was at the crux of many of the suggestions shared. But, what exactly does “good communication” look like, and how can it be achieved?
Today, you’ll learn 5 communication tips that will help strengthen and solidify your company’s culture. By emphasizing clear, consistent messaging, you’ll foster a respectful and productive working environment where all team members feel as though they’re part of one cohesive business unit.
1. Define what appropriate communication means in your business
Some companies are very formal. Others sway more to the casual side of things. And many other businesses fall somewhere in the middle, leaving room for interpretation amongst employees.
Where does your business sit on this spectrum? If it’s not a question you’ve ever considered, spend some time thinking about it.
Some of this information can be included in your employee handbook, but far more of it will be learned on the job as it’s modeled by management and other long-time employees. If you don’t want to encourage off-the-cuff jokes in the workplace, then don’t make those jokes and comments. If you’re comfortable with a more casual environment, let it be known (and don’t forget to communicate examples of how far is too far.)
2. Say “no” to unclear and ambiguous language
There’s little else more confusing than ambiguity, and different words and phrases have different meanings to every individual on your team. If you say a meeting will be quick, and it lasts for more than an hour, you’ll have confused employees and best… and very frustrated employees at worst.
Ask yourself, “How can I be clearer?”
3. Understand the importance of tone, because some conversations shouldn’t be had over email
Have you ever incorrectly assumed a work colleague's email was written in annoyance, or that someone was upset with you based on the words and punctuation they used?
It’s happened to all of us, and left unchecked, tone-deaf emails and other written communications can lead to some serious company culture degradation. In a world that’s gone digital, face-to-face communication is a key component of maintaining a cohesive company culture.
To build trust and credibility, certain conversations should always be had in-person (or over the phone if that’s the next best option.)
4. Similarly, outline expectations around the types of conversations that will happen digitally vs. in-person
Since you’re improving company culture by communicating clearly, it makes sense that these expectations should be documented somewhere.
What types of conversations are appropriate to have via email or Slack? If you have to communicate facts and other data points, should those always be sent via email? At what point do meetings become necessary?
Spend some time defining how different communication tools should be used, and provide employees with concrete examples to keep everything crystal clear.
5. Ask for feedback, listen to that feedback, and then respond
Communication can be tricky, but effective business owners should consistently strive to improve in this important area. Asking for feedback allows you to identify inefficiencies, and has the added benefit of helping you see what works and what doesn’t based on your unique company culture.
Aim to create a culture where open, honest dialogue is encouraged, and where sharing feedback and concerns won’t lead to conflict. When you keep this goal in mind, a strong and communicative company culture will naturally follow. Don’t forget about your remote employees, too!