How to Streamline Communication in Small Businesses
Communication is the foundation on which success, for nearly 79% of organizations, is built. Failure to enact effective communication will result in project failure or delays, significant employee turnover, a frustrating environment, low morale, and depreciation in sales, potentially worth millions of dollars. This is a tough pill for big companies; imagine the effect on small businesses with fewer departments and very busy owners.
Every company should place more focus on improving internal communication. Still, even more so should small businesses as they do not have the budget that most of these big companies have to mitigate the effects in the short term. In the aftermath of the pandemic, when more employees prefer to work from home, communication is a valuable tool that is dangerous to ignore.
This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to improve communication in your business.
Effects of Poor Communication on Profit Margins of Small Businesses
The cost of poor communication is expensive for small businesses and large conglomerates alike. Given it is the ideal way for companies to achieve their goals and meet customers' needs, its impact on the profit margins of small businesses is significantly greater than it is for larger ones.
The situation appears direr when factoring in that inefficient communication is responsible for 40% of the workweek ending up lost, which comes from employees in customer-facing positions or decision-making. On average, small businesses incur a cost of 420,000 USD per year due to poor communication, while barriers in communication result in an annual loss of 524,569 USD for small businesses with up to 100 employees.
Taking into account the cost of communication pain points for small businesses, the effect of poor communication on crucial business processes, revenues, and customer satisfaction becomes painfully apparent.
Effect of Poor Communication on Employees at Small Businesses
As if the damaging effect of poor communication on profit margins isn't enough, small businesses have to contend with the troubling impact it has on employees. Lack of communication from management does not go unnoticed by employees, especially in small businesses, where a small number of people take care of daily functions.
The hoarding of information is a leading cause of high employee turnover in small businesses. It leaves employees feeling frustrated and disconnected from work and their colleagues. Morale plummets, their work becomes less fun, and eventually, the desire to leave what has become a toxic environment surpasses the hefty compensation received. In the US alone, 55% of the workforce have their eyes on a new job within twelve months because of a lack of direction from management, poorly communicated changes, and poor overall communication.
Proactive, comprehensive, and creative communication within small businesses goes a long way to foster connections not only among colleagues but also between management and employees. This helps small companies retain the talents at their disposal, allowing them to compete in the marketplace even with a small budget.
Improving Communication in Small Businesses
There are many ways to improve communication in a small business setting. However, the simplest way is usually the most helpful. Below are key ways to improve communication in small businesses.
- - Clear and Succinct Messages
The use of plain language, more often than not, gets avoided when it shouldn't. Communication requires clarity and brevity, and simple language is astute in making it understandable. Unnecessary jargon that impedes understanding has no place in workplace communication. It makes communication drag on and confuses employees who need to return to work.
- - Use Appropriate Channel
There are various means of communication; as vital as each one is, their effectiveness usually depends on the situation. The idea is to meet employees where they're at in understanding. Suppose statistics show that employees in a particular company react better to traditionally written or visual messaging sent via email; that is the appropriate way to communicate with the staff of that company.
Similarly, if the survey or employee feedback suggest that in-person or live streaming is the preferred choice for meetings or big announcements, then doing otherwise doesn't help anyone.
Delivering vital information in a way that increases its reception among staff is critical and specific to each business. Additionally, it saves time and allows employees to return to their duties.
- - More Listening, Less Talking
In the workplace, where conversations have a hierarchy, active listening is not an easy skill to adopt. Irrespective of position, effective communication is predicated on also listening. It ensures concentration on what is said, understanding of the details expressed, and increases the ability to retain the information.
To achieve this, neglecting or removing distractions during conversations is a major influence. This can take many forms, like shutting down computers, switching off cell phones, or stepping away to a quiet location. Becoming an avid note-taker, especially during meetings, is another way to increase listening and communication skills.
- - Accessibility to Information
There is unique information pertinent to specific companies or businesses that direct how they operate. Examples of documents with such information include employee protocol and benefits plan, SOPs (standard operating procedures), operational workflows and processes, training materials and tutorials, and organization mission statement and vision plan. Without these documents, employees' interactions and company goals face significant setbacks.
- - Feedback
Communication goes two ways. Just as much as management tends to give out instructions and feedback, employees also need the space to offer their input to management. This is important as it helps managers and employees know what they need.
However, asking for feedback is quite tricky for management as employees fear honest feedback could jeopardize them, especially when there is no anonymity. Management needs to create a space that lets employees freely speak their minds. This could come from an app, a survey, or an adherence to an open-door policy.
All in all, it requires work to make employees believe that their feedback is welcomed and has value.
- - Integrate Technology
Technological advancements have led to massive improvements in communication in and out of the workplace. The caveat is that communication technology is not limited to just text messaging. Communication technology also features remote engagement, telecommuting, and virtual offices that allow employees to remain connected irrespective of geographical location.
Smaller businesses can no longer ignore the use of technology as leveraging them could help to realize an improved bottom line through employee engagement and productivity.
Investing in dedicated software or platforms like Snapfix allows employees to communicate in real-time, easily share files and documents, and report issues with few words. Yes, with Snapfix, a video or photograph is sufficient to get repairs in order!
With our integrated messaging platform, users can provide status updates, ask questions, and show appreciation to their team with emojis that are understood in any language.
Snapfix also increases employees' productivity and engagement by ensuring employees know what they need to do and when. The scheduling of tasks ensures their designation is even and planned effectively. This guarantees that no employee wastes precious hours due to poor communication and provides accountability.
Snapfix offers more than meets the eye and is designed for easy use by any employee, irrespective of technological deficiency. Plus, it’s super affordable for small businesses too!
To streamline communication with your team, get in touch with us today.