20 Ways to Improve Team Communication in the Workplace

Good communication is the engine that drives high-performance teams. But without some routine maintenance, things can misfire.

You can’t share information efficiently (if it’s even shared at all). Ideas don’t get heard. Processes aren’t followed. Productivity begins to break down.

With two-thirds of managers feeling uncomfortable communicating with their employees, the need to improve communication at work is clear.

Improve Team Communication Starting Today

Every team needs a tune-up from time to time. Whether your team’s been stuck in neutral for a while or it’s just struggling after the COVID-19 pandemic, there are various strategies you can use.

1. Pay ample attention to onboarding

Effective communication starts at the very beginning.

Research shows that employees are more likely to remain with a company for three years or more if they experience great onboarding.

Onboarding processes vary depending on company size, makeup, and team functionality. That said, a few methods remain time-tested.

  • Introduce your new hire, but not just via email. For in-house teams, organize a meet-and-greet. If you’re remote, set up a video chat or conference call. Either way, make it personal!
  • Train newcomers on the company intranet. If you expect newcomers to know rules and policies, as well as share knowledge and documents, familiarize them with the platform.
  • Give new employees time to learn the ropes and encourage questions. You may be surprised at a new hire’s willingness to offer questions simply by encouraging them to ask.

[TIP: Don’t forget to communicate your remote work policy with your new hires to ensure they are able to communicate and work effectively with the other members of your team.]

2. Establish common goals and communicate them

Establish common goals and communicate them

Every business has goals. But does your team know them? Communicate business goals and objectives with the team as soon as they’re established. Then make sure they’re clearly visible.

Don’t stop there, though. Set team goals, too. Let everyone know their roles and responsibilities to ensure clear communication among team members.

Sitting down together and laying out shared objectives and challenges keeps everyone on the same page, improving your team’s ability to collaborate and engage in constructive communication.

3. Talk face to face

There’s nothing like the authenticity of a good old face-to-face powwow. Getting together in person without the pressure of deadlines is a great way to help everyone relax. This type of communication makes it easier to discuss tasks, shared challenges, or even just weekend plans.

Set aside time for one-on-one meetings, like a team lunch or a Friday morning coffee. Providing time for casual conversation improves your employees’ social skills, mental health, and well-being. It’ll also pay dividends for their ability to communicate work-related issues.

If your company is entirely remote, get the team together once or twice per year. Companies like Zapier organize yearly meet-ups to spend quality time together and share ideas.

In the meantime, establish a virtual break room.

“Just as you would in a physical office setting, set up a space to connect and communicate with your team members outside of the formality of work-related meetings. This helps to build team member relationships and reminds us to take a quick break to recharge and catch up with our coworkers.”

– Molly Gutterud, Vice President, University Communications and Advancement, Northcentral University

[TIP: Just because you’re a virtual team doesn’t mean you can’t meet. These video calling apps and use cases improve your virtual meetings, bringing them to life. Conduct daily stand-up via video or meet for a remote coffee, for instance.]

4. Know when not to communicate

Good communication with your team means knowing when not to communicate.

To yield real results, let your team recharge over an extra coffee break, a longer lunch, or even a personal day. After work, power down devices, and don’t send instant messages or emails unless it’s urgent.

A balanced work-life routine isn’t just a trendy idea. In many cases, communication can wait.

5. Use psychology as part of communication training

Don’t discount the power of psychology. It can help you get to know your employees’ personality types and traits. This sheds insight into individual and team temperaments.

Taking a personality test as a team is a great idea for improving communication at work. You can use the results to determine what communication practices will work best for you and your team.

Some of the top assessments include:

  1. Myers-Briggs
  2. DiSC
  3. Belbin Team Roles
  4. Keirsey Test
  5. The 5-minute Personality Test

Taking a personality assessment as a team allows you to tailor teams and projects, shape the workplace dynamic, or just understand your employees and their communication styles. Use these findings to develop communication training for your team. This makes it easier for team members to improve essential soft skills, such as verbal and nonverbal communication skills, decision making, and problem solving.

6. Encourage two-way communication

Top-down communication allows you to control your message. But that approach won’t benefit you or your team in the long run.

Being a great team leader means you have to lead by example. It’s your job to make communication a two-way street. Channels like instant messaging can help. Of the many benefits of instant messaging, it provides a great way to encourage constant, real-time communication, improving the quality of news or knowledge sharing, feedback, or even just chit-chat.

Another idea could be to set up no-agenda team meetings.

“One interesting solution is to have a weekly call with your team that has no agenda. Just let people show up and chat. They may talk about office politics, their family, or interesting new ideas, gadgets, and techniques. Let the creativity flow. These sessions can be fun, engaging, and an opportunity to get to know teammates.”

 Jono Bacon, Community and Collaboration Consultant, and Author of People Powered

7. Don’t overlook security

Don’t Overlook Security

You can’t focus on communication if you’re busy cleaning up after information leaks or data breaches. And with many data breaches taking place due to human error, a lax approach to internal communication can put you in a Catch-22.

Your strategy requires more than just good anti-virus software (though that’s still part of it!).

Safeguard your communications from all sides. Encrypted communications over a fully private team network utilizing peer-to-peer communication channels protect your communications from employee carelessness or malfeasance, as well as nefarious outside threats.

[TIP: Not all encrypted chat apps are created equally. To enhance internal team chat, collaboration, and security, choose an app with robust platform security protocols and administrative control options.]

8. Stop relying on email

Effective team communication requires using the right communication channels.

Unfortunately, email often can’t solve most routine, work-related processes.

  • Real-time communication
  • Inquiries or issues that require quick action
  • Advancing engagement and collaboration
  • Communications that require voice, video, or other tools

In many cases, instant messaging is faster, favored, and more reliable for keeping in touch. No one’s advocating you quit email altogether. But there’s a reason your emails don’t get read.

9. Use a team communication tool

Streamline Your Team Communication Tools.

Of all the ideas here, using a team communication tool is a tried-and-true way to enhance communication at work. Are we saying that because we make Brosix? Of course! But hear us out. After all, we’ve been improving how teams communicate since 2006.

If you were to add up your time spent during the day looking for information-scanning emails, WhatsApp groups, and chats spread across social media platforms, how much time would you waste? Don’t know? Don’t want to know? Let us tell you.

30% of employees waste 30 minutes at work each day. 10% waste 3 hours or more.

You see, each platform and channel for communication serves a specific purpose. Mix and match at random across multiple channels and you’re aiming for a rabbit hole of wasted time, potential security risks, and eventual death by WhatsApp. But there is a better way.

That’s where team communication tools like Brosix come in. You get the communication channels your team needs, such as direct messaging, broadcast messaging, group chat rooms, and voice and video calls. All of them work on a unified private team network featuring rigid user authorization protocols and rich administration tools.

And it’s all highly searchable and trackable thanks to chat histories and user activity logs.

Encourage your team members to use a team communication tool and stop subjecting your team to disorganization, inefficiencies, or worse. Better yet, try Brosix. It’s built to improve how teams communicate.

10. Consolidate your collaboration software

Collaboration software is supposed to improve how teams work together. And with so many new software solutions and tools, it’s tempting to try them all. More tools equal more teamwork, right?

Not exactly! When each tool specializes in one thing, bouncing back and forth between 5 different ones cripples team communication.

Believe it or not, screen sharing and remote desktop control, instant screenshots, file transfers, and whiteboards for creativity can help you get most jobs done. The good news is that many instant messaging solutions for business include these tools.

You’ll also want a good project management tool. Tools like Basecamp, Trello, and Monday.com make project management much more effective. You can break down project components, allocate resources, track workflows, delegate and coordinate tasks and progress, and more.

Beyond that, you may choose a productivity app to manage mundane tasks like social media posting, time tracking, and to-do lists. Buffer, TimeDoctor, and Todoist are all good options.

Tool overload is a thing. Take stock of what you really need to improve team collaboration, but don’t go overboard.

11. Try remote work

Busy offices and long commutes drain employees, and, as a result, team communication suffers. Working remotely can lead to better team communication by helping your team members strike the right balance.

One way could be to use half of the week to hold meetings or presentations that require in-house collaboration. Then use the other half of the week to focus on individual tasks or projects that are more efficiently executed while working from home.

[TIP: If you’re new to working from home, you need to consider everything from how you keep in touch with your team to your work routines and environment. Use these work from home tips to upgrade your workspaces, habits, and team communication.]

12. Keep track of timezones

Tracking time zones isn’t just necessary when sending out calendar invites. Scheduling a noon meeting for European time won’t do your meeting any favors if the North American team is joining. If you want to streamline communication among your team members, pick a time when everyone’s at least had their first cup of coffee.

13. Use your administrative toolkit

Administrative tools are an often-overlooked method for improving communication. Most team communication solutions include advanced control options, but it’s up to you to use them.

Brosix, for example, provides a rich set of administrative features to help you create a custom communication experience on your network. Control over contacts, shared chat spaces, and the features to which users have access allows you to target communication systemically, focusing on productivity and enhancing communication and collaboration.

14. Socialize

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “A team that plays together stays together.” People are inherently social, and this should be kept in mind even in an office setting.

To improve morale, make use of team-building activities outside the office. Suggest an escape room, ax throwing, board games, or go-karting—something fun where the emphasis is not on work but on building communication among team members. Such activities foster mutual respect, trust, and camaraderie.

[TIP: If your team works remotely, they can have fun, too. A host of remote team building activities can help you build relationships within the team. Hold a quiz session, share a meal, or watch a movie virtually, for example.]

15. Keep the door open

To improve communication within your team, address questions, issues, and ideas as they arise.

One approach is an open-door policy. By eliminating barriers to communication, an open-door policy promotes approachability, free-flowing communication, more efficient dissemination of information, and healthier working relationships.

For in-house teams, keep the door open literally, welcome in-person discussions, and stay open to feedback. For distributed and remote teams, do so virtually. Set up a chat room for continuous group discussion and hold regular one-on-one meetings online.

Wrapping it all up, you should foster a culture of open communication where everyone can share their ideas and concerns. This creates a sense of community, giving team members the confidence that they will be heard and appreciated.

16. Utilize mobile communication

Utilize mobile communication

Nearly everyone has a smartphone at their disposal. Meet your team on their level, whether it’s in the office, on public transport, or from the couch.

Most of the top team chat apps feature versatile mobile apps that provide a safe and secure chat space while enabling them to communicate effectively.

17. Track your communication

In addition to making conversations searchable, tracking your team’s communication has huge benefits for productivity.

Consider this: What if you knew not only which team members communicate with each other but also how they prefer to communicate and when? In a data-driven world, this information is power.

By utilizing user activity logs to track communication, as well as preferred features, who’s using them, and when, you can pinpoint productivity and maximize teamwork.

18. Take a tech timeout

Take a tech timeout

Research indicates that too much screen time impairs us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Schedule tech timeouts. Take them. And most importantly, disconnect. Taking tech breaks enhances health and well-being, boosts productivity, and helps you forge deeper connections.

Here are a few ideas to break up your screen time.

  1. Take a walk.
  2. Read a book.
  3. Listen to music.
  4. Practice some brief yoga or stretching.
  5. Do sudoku or some other brain exercise.
  6. Run an errand between tasks.
  7. Grab a coffee with a coworker or friend.

Improving your ability to communicate with others ultimately begins with focusing on yourself.

19. Allow anonymous feedback

You can’t improve something if you don’t know it’s broken. Open communication isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. Sadly, though, many employees hold back from sharing their thoughts or opinions because they’re afraid.

Fight poor communication and encourage transparency by following some best practices. These include establishing a suggestion box (physically or virtually) or designating a person of confidence to collect team feedback. But keep it anonymous. Anonymity allows your team to openly share their thoughts and ideas, free from the uncertainty of negative consequences.

20. Recognize your team

Don’t just check in with your team (although that’s also important). Make it a point to recognize them regularly. This allows team members to feel connected.

Holding in-person or virtual meetings every few weeks or months is a good idea. Use the time to discuss projects or issues, invite and give feedback, or just listen to complaints. Organize virtual coffee sessions or virtual toasts to celebrate events, shared successes, or employee milestones.

“One sure-fire way to improve communication at work is to celebrate company and staff accomplishments. Share items like people joining your team, earning promotions, and getting kudos from clients or team members. Share on whatever internal communication platform your team uses or something external like your social media channels if your team is comfortable with it.”

–  Colton De Vos, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Resolute Technology Solutions

Regular communication is important and recognizing their thoughts, opinions, and accomplishments shows that you truly value them.

What Ideas Can You Implement to Improve Team Communication?

While team communication issues are inherently unique, a few methods for rectifying them remain time-tested and can ultimately benefit your whole team.

  • Forge real connections by meeting your team regularly, recognizing them and their accomplishments, sharing goals and challenges, and even socializing.
  • Encourage questions, feedback, and knowledge-sharing.
  • Take meaningful breaks.
  • Craft your toolkit to suit your team, but don’t go overboard.
  • Don’t overlook the role of sound security protocols and administrative control.

What ideas can you implement? Not sure where to start? Consider Brosix. With the right mix of communication, collaboration, productivity, and security features, it’s built to improve team communication. Give it a try!

Nikola Baldikov

Nikola Baldikov is a Head of Marketing at Brosix, specializing in SaaS marketing, SEO, and outreach strategies. Besides his passion for digital marketing, he is an avid football fan and loves to dance. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter at @baldikovn.

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