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Via CXM : Top Tips for Managing Your Digital Communications

Technology is constantly delivering new methods of communication to the workplace in abundance.

There are so many different communication channels available, we often question which one is best to use and what for. Sometimes, issues occur when we don’t question, and then use the inappropriate tools to communicate something. This can lead to misinterpretation, people may get offended or misconstrue what’s been said, or left feeling they haven’t received sufficient information.

We can all feel like we are drowning in digital communications and are consumed by the 24/7 digital noise. The norm is to respond to everything the instant we receive it and to check all social media updates and sink with FOMO if we weren’t invited to a party or even a meeting!

The objective of technology is make us more effective and productive and not hinder us. It is time to stop manic multi-tasking and thinking that everything has to be now and instant – take a step back, breath, focus, and learn to how to manage your digital communications so you become empowered by technology and not enslaved by it.

Phone: the Power of Voice

By speaking on the phone we can develop a personal connection with a person, understand their tone of voice, and talk in more depth therefore strengthening the connection. There is less margin for error or misinterpretation, and of course the advantage is also there are more opportunities for conversations on a personal level and for humour. Another benefit is trust and authenticity can be built more quickly in comparison to an email or text.

When to use it:

  • To resolve something urgently that is complex. It is often easier to get results face to over the phone as you can talk around the issues
  • When you are chasing someone – if a client or employee has been ignoring your emails and messages then pick up the phone and talk to them about it. It will be much quicker
  • There are times when you must deliver bad news or discuss something personal and empathy is required. This can only be achieved in a face to face meeting or on a phone call
  • A catch up – you have a business issue to chat through and also it’s been a while since you spoke to the person so you want to catch up with them

Email or ‘snail mail’

Email is still very much the most used communications tool in business. The issue is that you end up with a full inbox and people still copy you in on irrelevant emails. We send roughly 281.1 billion emails a day, a figure that is estimated to increase to 333.2 billion by 2022, according to Statista.

Therefore, we would expect that emails often get ignored, deleted, or end up in the junk box. Emails are not the most effective way to communicate and it is much easier to use other tools such as picking up the phone.

When to use it:

  • Sitting at your desk or on move from smartphones or tablets
  • To document conversations and activities
  • To send files

Video and audio conference calls

These tools are great when you want to speak with a group of people in another location without having to travel. With video you can read people’s body language and easily gage reactions to what you are saying.

When to use it:

  • For a team meeting to discuss a project or proposal
  • If there is an issue you can have a collective discussion
  • To screen share a document and go through it together

Instant Messaging

Conferencing and collaboration solutions contain instant messaging tools and you can see your colleagues’ presence, when they are available and when they aren’t. However, people expect an instant response and tend to ignore the ‘busy’ and ‘do not disturb’ signs.

When to use it:

  • When you need an instant answer to a question
  • You may need to talk to someone and ask them to call you when you are free. Instant messages are more intrusive than emails and are harder to ignore

Social media

Companies may use Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc to communicate to customers or other stakeholders.

When to use it:

  • To share photos or information
  • To ask questions and generate a multitude of answers
  • To answer customer complaints
  • For customer reviews

Bringing it All Together

The key is to know how and when to use the different communication tools available. Therefore using them at different times and when appropriate to improve efficiencies and productivity.

Downtime

Knowing when to switch off is vital, so if you need to focus on a piece of work or need some downtime, and don’t want to be disturbed then you could set your ‘Do Not Disturb’ or turn it all off.

Be guided by the experts

A Solutions Provider in communication solutions will advise and guide you on what communications technology you need for your business and its objectives. They will assist you with setting guidelines on how and when to use the tools, setting ‘etiquette’ rules and ‘duty of care’ policies on how to minimise interruptions utilising them to their potential.

Empower and set yourself free

Set yourself free from drowning in digital noise and instant gratification, and manage your portfolio of communication tools to empower you and not enslave you.

Via Strammer: Managing the Impact On Communication In the Company

Technology has greatly impacted the way people communicate in today’s digital workplace. It has offered broader reach and tools for employers and employees. According to Radicati, an estimated 269 billion e-mails were sent and received in 2017. However, along with the benefits of digital communication there are also downfalls which makes it important to implement a communication strategy within an organisation.

Problems with Digital communication in the workplace

A challenge with digital communication is that people are always “on”. Thanks to many platforms and devices for communication – internal workplace networks, Messenger, Twitter, email, LinkedIn and others, communication is constant.

However, finding a balance can be difficult. Digital communication is supposed to assist people instead of getting in the way of getting work done, especially when dealing with business partners or colleagues that work in different time zones. This makes it difficult for people to switch off.

Another challenge facing digital communication is how to manage the online workload. The number of digital platforms makes establishing what matters and what does not hard for employees and employers. It is crucial for companies to have a strong digital impact internally and externally, but many do not know how to do that and getting it wrong could have negative consequences.

Benefits of digital communication in the workplace

However, there are many benefits to digital communication in a company. It has enabled colleagues and associates from all over the world to collaborate and communicate faster therefore making them more efficient. With instant messaging solutions employees acquire an immediate response if necessary and knowledge is freely exchanged. They learn to adapt quickly their communication style according to their audience to reach colleagues or clients effectively. Understanding the person, you are communicating with is vital for internal communication. Not everyone interprets and receives information the same way.

Digital communication has also increased interaction by enabling to share results, best practices and other news. This type of sharing enhances employee engagement by making them care more about daily operations.

Strategies for strong communication in the workplace

For everyone to relate in the workplace, it is important to intently listen and engage with each other. Thus, internal communication strategies need to be implemented within a company by making clear and direct messages to be understood.

Companies need to encourage sharing information in a way that is of interest to the company by advocating face-to-face interactions. This can be done through inter-office, inter-department visits, secondments and placements internationally or nationally, and conducting objective meetings. Technology has been a way for businesses to do things cheaper and faster, nonetheless, relationship is an area you cannot skimp out of. The way we can “touch” someone is by building a relationship rather than just spending time with each other.

A way to promote strong communication is to have co-working spaces. This allows employees to exchange and bond with each other therefore, working closely together and learning new skills when trying to solve problems together.

It is also essential to modernise internal communication, especially in this digital age, to improve the organisational climate, change routines, shape new habits or to minimise misinterpretation.

Companies should find out what their communication needs are, and how it will help them meet their business objectives. To do that, employees are key. Leaders and managers should speak to them to find out what communication tools they are already using and which ones they would prefer to use to improve their work environment. Finally, guidelines need to be set up on how and where to use newly deployed communication tools. By understanding those needs, companies will improve the wellbeing of the company.

Opening a dialogue within the workplace and implementing internal communication strategies opens discussions and/or debates, allowing people to feel valued. Increased employee engagement and internal communication creates an organisation that knows about their workers and more importantly workers that know about their organisation and common objective.

Via Jostle : 6 ways to improve communication between managers and employees

Communication between managers and employees can be a challenge. Luckily, this article compiles 6 of the best ways to break down barriers and open up lines of communication.

It goes without saying that communication between managers and employees is one of the most important factors of any successful business. Clear and open communication ensures everyone is on the same page about objectives, direction, and expectations. It means everyone knows where they stand.

But if there’s a blockage there, your organization is likely going to run into some problems in the future.

So, what can be done to improve communication between managers and employees? This article looks at six of the most effective ways your organization can open up clear lines of communication and start working together as a team again.

Let’s take a look.

6 ways to improve communication between managers and employees

1. Meet weekly

Getting together as a team on a regular basis is one of the best ways to create a professional environment in which all team members feel comfortable communicating with each other. Weekly team meetings in particular can help break down any communication barriers between managers and employees by giving each team member an opportunity to talk openly about some of the following topics:

  • Projects they’re working on
  • Challenges they’re facing
  • Questions they might have

One way to improve communication in meetings like these is to keep them relatively informal. Managers should keep the conversation moving organically, but also make sure everyone is given adequate space to speak and feels safe doing so.

2. Regular 1:1s

Because communicating in groups can be difficult for some people, a good manager should create additional avenues of communication for their employees. The regularly held 1:1 meeting offers the perfect space for more direct conversation between managers and employees, and it’s also a great way to learn about each other’s preferred communication style (more on this later).

Depending on your workplace, 1:1 meetings can take the form of a quick informal chat about projects and ideas, or it can be more structured and formal. Whichever form yours takes, keep in mind that this is your opportunity to connect and collaborate with your employee or manager. It’s a chance to vent concerns, figure out solutions, and have a frank conversation about work (or anything else important to your employee).

Ben Saitz, Chief Customer Officer at RocketFuel, brings up an important point: “If there’s nothing to discuss, it’s OK to cancel. People, too often, view 1:1s as mandatory, but it’s refreshing when you both acknowledge that things are ok for now, or the time may be better spent other ways… and you can do this as long as you both agree not to take a request to cancel personally.”

3. Managers, keep employees in the loop

This tip is specifically for managers. Since good communication relies upon everybody being in the loop, one of the best things you can do is communicate what’s happening at the company with your employees.

Sound too obvious? As it turns outs, a lot of employees feel like they’re disconnected from decisions made by management. One study shows that up to 25% of employees who quit their jobs did so because they felt like they were kept in the dark. Here are some more troubling findings:

  • Only 10% of employees surveyed were aware of their company’s progress in real time.
  • 4 out of 5 employees surveyed wanted to hear more frequently from their bosses about how their company was doing.
  • More than 90% of employees surveyed said they would rather hear bad news than no news.

Keeping your employees informed not only improves communication, it’s also a simple way to build trust and cultivate a shared cause or purpose.

4. Employees, get to know your manager

And this one is for the employees out there. It’s pretty simple: get to know your manager. Some people tend to think of their managers as unapproachable, infallible, scary people. But your manager is a person, too. And if they do seem unapproachable, getting to know them is one way to make them open up.

Don’t be afraid to have casual conversations with your manager about topics that aren’t specifically work related. The same goes for work related topics: don’t be afraid to ask them questions (or for help)—that’s what they’re there for. Open communication is all about trust.

5. Take advantage of tools that improve communication

It’s the 21st century and there are a number of tools that are designed to improve workplace communication. Whether it’s a chat app, an intranet, or something else entirely, taking advantage of the right tool can go a long way towards improving how you communicate with your manager or employees.

This is where a person’s communication style comes into play.

Some people prefer informal written communication (chat discussions, etc.) in the workplace, others prefer direct face-to-face discussions, and still others prefer a combination of the two depending on the situation. A communication tool like a news stream, for instance, provides one additional option for communicating project objectives, expectations, voicing concerns, or giving props.

6. Ask for and give feedback

The majority of employees (and managers) are unsure about how they’re performing in their role. This can have a tremendous impact on self-confidence, and subsequently how open and direct they are in their communication.

One potential solution to this problem is to regularly ask for (and give) feedback on performance. Did your manager help you out with a problem that’s been eating away at you? Give them a shout out in your next weekly meeting. Did your employees outdo themselves on a project? Tell them so.

The same goes for negative feedback. Is an employee not performing up to expectations? Explain how they might overcome that challenge. Is a manager neglecting the team? They should be open to hearing if that’s the case.

And if this isn’t already a common practice at your workplace, you can always introduce it to your leadership team.

Conclusion

Improving communication between managers and employees is one of the most important steps your company can take towards creating a move cohesive and collaborative workplace. Break down those barriers, clear out the blockages, and start communicating openly and freely!

Via Recruiter : Why Face-to-Face Workplace Communication Is So Vital in the Digital Era

From the coworker who is constantly getting “dings” on their phone to our culture’s obsession with social media, there’s good reason for the growing concern regarding the way we engage with digital tools to communicate in the workplace.

In fact, much of the technology designed to make us more productive in the professional world can actually do the exact opposite. For starters, instantaneous communication can make it challenging for employees to concentrate on one task at a time, especially if they are frequently being interrupted by an endless flow of texts, emails, and phone calls.

In addition, while digital communication tools can help us increase productivity and boost efficiency at work, our escalating and intense relationship with this technology can send us down the road to bad habits — especially if this technology starts to replace human interaction.

In 2016, Randstad asked employees around the globe whether technology helps or hinders their ability to relate to and build relationships with colleagues. More than half of the respondents said they feel technology “makes them feel less connected to people in the real world,” and 89 percent said face-to-face meetings were the best way to interact with others at work.

The Paradoxical Way Communication Technology Hinders Communication

As an author, communication expert, and international speaker, I firmly believe our reliance on technology at work can be a hindrance to effective communication, especially if it ends up as a complete substitute for face-to-face interaction.

Smartphones, tablets, and computers have all contributed to a reduction in the number of face-to-face interactions we have with our coworkers, managers, and clients. It is much easier to send a quick text or email than it is to actually take the time and effort to talk to someone in person for even a few minutes.

While this approach is clearly advantageous with regard to efficiency, there is value to the face-to-face dialogue that seems to be turning into a lost art. We tend to build better relationships with each other, and our customers, via direct, in-person interactions.

If we want our work environments to promote creativity, collaboration, and effective communication, we must approach digital workplace policies with a top-down strategy. After all, management sets the tone for what is — and what is not — acceptable.

Today’s business leaders must create cultures of transparency regarding how and when mobile devices can be used in the office. They must help employees understand that while digital communication tends to be more efficient, face-to-face interaction is still the most powerful way to achieve business goals.

Being in the presence of other people allows us to hear what they are really saying. We can read and assess their body language, nonverbal cues, and emotional state, and we formulate appropriate responses. With face-to-face communication, we can also minimize misunderstandings and provide more opportunities for clarification.

Furthermore, communicating with colleagues and clients in person allows us to exhibit more genuine reactions and use our own body language as a cue for others. It also helps develop more trusting and meaningful connections.

Finding the Right Balance

It is important to understand that even the best technology and digital communication tools are only as effective as the people using them.

At the end of the day, communication still requires input from humans — and it always will if we want to do it successfully. Finding a healthy balance of how and when your employees utilize digital tools versus in-person communication ultimately depends on your ability as a manager to set clear boundaries and communicate expectations company-wide.

The bottom line: The more transparent and engaged each employee is on a personal level, the easier it will be to promote a healthy mix of digital habits and face-to-face communication in the long run.

Via Blitzz : The Importance of Communication & Collaboration in Digital Workplace

As the digital workplace becomes increasingly common, the importance of communication and collaboration becomes, in turn, increasingly highlighted. Let’s take a look at a few of the many ways communication and collaboration are not only important but essential in a digital workplace. Let’s also review how augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are making that communication and collaboration easier.

AI and AR: Transformative Technologies That Are Changing The Workplace

Inc. called AR and AI “the next step” in business. “Augmented Reality” and “Artificial Intelligence,” respectively, help businesses “engage with customers, follow up on leads, and maximize marketing opportunities,” but they also allow for better communication between different members of your business’s team. In addition to allowing your company to have better communication with its customers, AR and AI allow you, as an employee, to feel more engaged with the rest of your team, regardless of where they may or may not be in the state, the country, or even the world. Thanks to these technologies, employees no longer have to feel separated by the technology and/or communication barrier, and by driving down the cost of international communication, and the help of remote access software, AR and AI can bring the world’s office on a remote level by live remote assistance.

AR and AI In The 21st Century Remote Workplace

AR and AI are proving to be a great benefit for businesses that use field service technicians. Forbes reports that 34% of companies that currently use remote employees — like field service technicians — believe that AR and AI are the biggest game changers technology wise. In addition to allowing for an improvement in the customer experience, AR and AI allow for improvements in productivity and accountability for remote and field service technicians. Let’s take a look, in greater detail, how a communicative and collaborative digital workplace benefits from an augmented reality software and AI.

The Benefits Of A Communicative And Collaborative Digital Workplace With The Help Of AR And AI

One of the biggest challenges faced by digital offices is the lack of a sense of “community” within the organization. The time differences, the communication barrier, and — if the company uses business process outsourcing (or BPO) — language differences and barriers can prove to make communication and collaboration difficult, no matter how progressive the office may be.

What’s more, under the best of circumstances, managers are often tasked with creating an “office environment” that features peak communication and collaboration — and that’s when all of the employees are under one roof! The challenge is doubled — and even tripled — in an environment where nearly everyone is separated by computer screens.

But with the right mix of the use of AR and AI, employees can create a digital workplace that is both communicative and collaborative and also promote real-time communication.

A communicative and collaborative digital workplace is productive.

A proper communications platform, wherein the employees can “talk” with one another, is able to leverage these strong communication bonds to collaborate better and, in turn, be more productive. Using AR glasses, for example, is a great way for a field service technician to show a problem to an in-house tech team, in real time, thus bringing about a solution to a problem that much quicker.

A communicative and collaborative digital workplace has less turnover.

According to the Crowe Compensation Survey, which specializes in the banking industry, the cost of turnover is 150% of a standard employee’s salary and up to 250% of a manager’s salary. According to a recent Gallup poll, however, a communicative and collaborative digital workplace reduces its turnover by nearly 60%. This is not only beneficial to employees — who can “hold on” to their salaries — but to businesses, who don’t have to incur the high cost of turnover. Finally, employees in a communicative and collaborative digital workplace report that they’re more satisfied with their jobs, resulting in employees being less likely to quit.

A communicative and collaborative digital workplace has better problem-solving techniques.

To put it simply, a good manager knows that hiring two people who communicate and collaborate well is more cost-effective than hiring five people that work in virtual silos and don’t communicate and/or collaborate at all. Thus, it stands to reason that companies that can communicate with their field service technicians using AR and AI can solve problems better than those that do not.

A communicative and collaborative digital workplace is transparent, accountable, and focused on the big picture.

Finally, when there’s effective communication in a digital workplace, there’s no secrecy. This means that employees can perform tasks and be accountable for said tasks. What’s more, by being task-focused, employees are able to see the so-called “big picture” of the organization in real time, and managers can remain focused on the end goals of the organization.

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