We can spend all day talking to our coworkers in the office, and everything might appear smooth on the surface. But have you ever wondered what your coworkers really think about the team communication happening in the workplace?
We surveyed more than 1,000 IT professionals all across the country, and the results were fascinating. For instance, 25% of respondents cite “lack of team communication” as one of their primary issues at work. To put that in perspective, out of every meeting with four IT professionals, at least one is very dissatisfied with the communication (or lack of) taking place.
What causes communication issues?
According to an article from Workplace Psychology, team communication issues arise for several reasons. These can include:
1. Lack of participation. Silence in meetings is louder than any voice can be.
2. Tactless communication. Interrupting or pointing fingers is not conducive to any team-oriented environment.
3. Groupthink. Team members rest on their haunches and are unwilling to discuss alternative ideas. Team unity is one thing, but collective apathy… not so much.
4. Poor leadership. A lack of an inspiring voice from leaders causes a domino effect through the rest of the team. Leaders fail teams when they can’t effectively communicate their vision.
How can communication be improved?
Based on our own experiences as a company, here are five simple ways to improve team communication:
1. Stay organized. Holding structured meetings to go over the team’s agenda for the week keeps team members organized and on track. When everyone has a list of actionable items, there will likely be less overlap and confusion with duties. You can even designate portions of the meeting for everyone to speak to minimize interruption.
2. Touch base frequently (and document the process). Keeping a steady stream of communication going is one surefire way to keep team members engaged and on the same page. Holding team meetings in person is a valuable addition to the team’s communication process – once a week is a good goal. One tactic that improved Summit’s communication was creating a weekly internal newsletter to document the meeting’s highlights. Honestly, items can be missed in meetings, whether that be due to distraction, tiredness or just plain boredom. And speaking of honesty…
3. Honesty is the best policy. As long as it’s respectful, encouraging open and honest communication from team members during meetings is just as important as keeping organized. Set aside the last few minutes of meetings for employees to talk things through with one another in a low-pressure situation. That way, issues (and praises, as well) can be right in the open.
4. Get a team communication software like Basecamp. Using software is an excellent way to keep messages organized in one place. This also helps hold team members accountable; if someone is confused when a task is due, for example, you can reference past messages to clear things up.
5. Bond with your team. Sometimes, when you spend so much time in a professional setting with someone, you only see them as a coworker. However, every person on your team has a unique personal life. It may be helpful to find time to bond and learn more about the people you work beside every day. Have lunch together. Organize a post-work happy hour. Go lawn-bowling. When you enjoy the company of others you work with, you may find that communication starts feeling more natural.
By prioritizing team collaboration and testing these five actionable items, you will hopefully see that 25% dissatisfaction rate whittle right down to 0%.
In addition to communication issues, our survey also found that 83% of IT professionals cite budgeting constraints as one of their most pressing issues at work. Download our budgeting guide to find simple and effective ways to reverse that.