Professional development guru and philanthropist Paul J. Meyer once said, "Communication—the human connection—is the key to personal and career success."
As the tools that make up this "key" have evolved, businesses have invested time and money in staying on top of popular trends like text, mobile apps and social media. But these trends aren't only for communication with customers. This same evolution in communication can be used to improve relationships with employees.
With remote work on the rise—some surveys suggest that remote workers will make up more than half of the workforce by 2020—effective communication is more important than ever to business success. According to a 2015 study by uSamp Research, 97 percent of employees said they believe communication impacts daily tasks. Digging deeper, nearly half said they want wider adoption of internal communication tools.
Here are three tools businesses can use to improve the flow of communication to stay competitive in the digital age.
The popularity of mobile apps has seen impressive growth, and not just for sales and brand promotion. The same seamlessness that apps provide for customers can also be provided to employees. Quick and clutter-free access to essential company information can be accomplished on a mobile app and accessed while employees are performing remote work or on a business trip.
Considering that employees use more than one device for a majority of their work, a platform that provides them with mobile access to important data has the potential to drastically increase employee efficiency. In fact, a recent study revealed that 51 percent of employees say they are more productive when accessing work-related materials through a mobile device.
In addition to productivity, the use of internal business mobile apps also hones in on another crucial issue: 62 percent of employees say that accessibility to company information directly affects their job satisfaction. By providing workers with the means to perform their work from the device of their choice, businesses enhance communication and strengthen their employee relationships.
Surprised to see texting on the list? You shouldn't be. More than 80 percent of employees prefer receiving voicemails as text messages. EVP of Innovation for Ring Central Kira Makagon explains that workers "expect instant communication, such as a one-button dial to a conference call or voicemails to come as text."
Besides being a fast form of communication, texts allow employees to read and respond to information on their own time, whereas a voice call can disrupt them at an inconvenient time. Texts can also be scanned for essential information, making them great time-savers.
These and other benefits are highlighted in this case study for MaidPro, a residential cleaning company. President Peter Turner says that texting allowed them to quickly share information to our cleaners in the field: "In many cases we need to provide them with information not known when they left our office in the morning. A text provides us with a means of sharing that information in written form so that it can be referred to afterwards."
There are a huge variety of social messaging boards that businesses can use to foster communication among their employees. Each has their own set of features, but the core advantages remain the same.
First, message board create a common space to share messages about ongoing projects, news bulletins and other office information. In addition, they often offer file-sharing for collaborative projects, and create a sense of company culture, so that even remote employees feel they're part of a team.
In our technology-driven work landscape, trying these tools to create the conditions for optimum communication in your business could be a number one differentiator.
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