Companies across the U.S. are contending with a need to work online or over the phone as much as possible. This may look like a team where every member works from home or it could look like avoiding physical meetings while your staff works in the office.
Either way, many business leaders have moved away from in-person discussions, meetings, management, and operations. Instead, company managers are opting for directing operations over Slack, Teams, Zoom, Skype, or standard phone/email.
With so many available channels through which you can communicate, efficiency can often go right out the window.
Increase Efficiency with Clear Policies
One of the most common issues we hear about with remote employee management is that a manager will provide direction on one channel, but the instruction will get lost among all of the other conversations that are occurring. The team leader will then try to find their message among all of the channels on which they talk to employees and it becomes a mess.
This is just one way that company management can become inefficient when everyone is working over Zoom, Slack, etc.
Often, the communication difficulties your team encounters are enduring issues that crossed over from before remote work became prevalent in your company. However, these issues could be cleared up more quickly in person as a meeting could be called or a quick conversation could occur. That is harder to do with remote workers.
The solution for inefficient communications is quite simple. Create communication standards through clear policies.
For example, let’s say that your team regularly coordinates through a chat app like Slack or Teams. This mode of communication is fantastic for on-the-fly coordination throughout a project. However, high-level management and direction are tricky as you may need to provide an extensive introduction to a document, process, or other guidance. These apps are not suited to long-winded communication. Documentation systems like Google Docs or OneDrive, coupled with a project management system like Asana is a much better option.
So, your company policy may need to be that your chat app is used for on-the-fly discussions and conference calls. But long-form communication needs to be provided in a written document and the tasks of reading, understanding, responding, and implementing must be assigned within your project management system.
Build Procedures to Support New Policies
As you saw above, policies can begin to get a little complicated, depending on the company. Procedures can support policy implementation.
Creating a procedure to support policy implementation takes the policy from “a good idea that we always forget to do” to something that is used every time.
Creating a procedure to support your new communication policy is simple. Just take the policy and create a step-by-step action plan that will take it from a rule to an action.
For example, the above communication policy needs to be implemented. You can create a procedure that says:
When long-term management instruction or large bodies of information must be communicated, use this process.
1. Write a task within the project management system and assign it to the appropriate individuals.
2. Include clear direction, all background information necessary, and any attachments and documentation. This should be provided in a company-wide documentation system like OneDrive.
3. Ensure your system will message those recipients to inform them that they have a task that requires a response within ___ amount of time.
4. The person assigning the task must keep on top of the task as well to ensure compliance and to answer any questions.
This is a simple breakdown that implements the policy and empowers both you and your employees to enforce it. If someone tries to create a massive message on Slack or Microsoft Teams, the team can point to the above policy and process and ask that the offender use the appropriate communication channel to provide their instruction.
No matter where your employees are located, well-thought-out policies and processes can create consistency and efficiency in your company.
Are you ready to create efficiency in your business? Contact Business Success Consulting Group today for a free initial consultation.