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10 strategies web development startups can use to improve teamwork

Posted on: August 4th, 2017 by Julia Samoilenko

 

What do team communication issues mean for your startup? Over communication, under communication and everything in between influence productivity which eventually influences revenue. According to the stats, 41 percent of American workers believe that “lack of communication between staff and management” is one of the biggest issues companies suffer from while managing their employees.

Tasks don’t meet the deadlines. It takes a ton of time to get started. Not having any feedback from your colleagues, you are confused about what’s going on in your projects. Employees don’t contribute as much value as you plan. Conflicts within your team happen continuously. And so on. The picture isn’t rosy, is it?

It is generally claimed that team communication is the main cause which makes-or-breaks startups nowadays. There are 10 basic ways on how your team members can communicate more effectively than before. Check out the hints you can adopt in your own company today.

1. Review your own communication habits

Regardless of the type of startup you run, almost all job positions in any field require good communication skills. So be mindful of how you are communicating at work. Moreover, don’t forget about body language and other non-verbal’s, like clothing. These ‘silent elements’ of communication contribute about 55 percent of information to other conversation participants.

Going into details, there are some basic personal communication skills you can adopt today:

  • Ask questions and don’t monopolize the conversation. Your colleagues will appreciate the fact that you are interested in their issues.
  • Give your undivided attention. Maintain eye contact during meetings and put all your gadgets aside to visually convey you’re staying present.
  • Never personalize criticism. Resist. That. Urge. Whether you’re giving or receiving criticism, it should be based upon cold hard facts, not emotions.

Starting with these simple rules, you will notice an impressive positive shift in communication with your employees.

2. Encourage a communication-friendly environment

Let’s start with the very beginning. Can anyone in your startup share ideas and initiatives or speaking up openly about their feelings? That might sound obvious, but does a communication-friendly environment really exist in your company? What you need to do is create an open-door policy that means everyone feels comfortable reaching out.

After that, your startup should get constant feedback from the team to perform well. Don’t be shy to ask about everything you are interested in. Do your teammates find the office comfortable? What do they think about a startup’s management? Without it you are working blind. At best, you will accidentally reach your business goal. At worst, you and your startup will move about aimlessly for a while. Otherwise, by encouraging constant feedback, you send a positive message that your company is open to constructive criticism and values employees’ input. All you need to do is choose a convenient medium to supply regular feedback. For instance, SurveyMonkey, 15Five and OfficeVibe are handy tools for crafting surveys and gathering employees’ feedback seamlessly.

3. Apply psychology at work: define who is who

All employees have their own identity. Managers have to deal with a variety of different temperaments in the workplace. Understanding your employees’ personalities can give you insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

So, how can you benefit from having different characters in your teams? Recognize the value of all personality types and create the right mix of employees. Needless to mention that using different approaches to managing different characters will help you, as a leader, better interact with each employee. As a result, it will increase your chance to succeed as a team.

4. It is all about company culture

Company culture is more important than ever for startups. It is quickly becoming a “must-have” rather than a “nice-to-have.” This shift can be explained by an emergence of a new generation of employees and rapid digital restructuring of businesses.

So why is company culture so important today? Above all things, a strong culture generates dedication to the company values. Your employees will bring more value to the business feeling they spend time at work for something they believe in. This is why productivity and revenue are closely related to an effective company culture.

5. Organize the workplace to eliminate distractions

Thinking ahead and utilizing creative approaches to office space is a great way to boost your team communication and collaboration. Stats show that investment in effective use of working space could increase productivity up to 64%.

If your startup is located within a physical office, one of the best steps you can take to improve team communication is to rearrange the way it is designed. Many employers would claim that there is always a lack of working space, but companies can help their employees to become more flexible.

As a matter of fact – it is your office! So experiment with arranging it however you believe the space will keep your creativity flowing. Create a ‘silence room’ or a ‘silence corner’ where people don’t talk at all, but just work in silence, or turn the whole office into one open space – the choice is yours. Eventually you will find the office arrangement perfectly tailored to your team.

6. Synchronize your team communication

Team messengers are changing the game for today’s startup teams, and there are plenty of options to choose from. That will encourage your staff to become more engaged with the business’ goals. Moreover, their thoughts and updates won’t get lost in a messy email box.

Business decisions may be better if they are based on conversations or discussions between many people. Take time to choose a communication tool which will meet your team’s needs perfectly. Compare the tools by their affordability and features. These days Slack is the most popular however you can use various Slack alternatives to cut your expenses and receive pretty much the same value.

7. Make your workflow organized and accessible

Teamwork may become messy and chaotic without a centralized center to manage all the parts of a project, especially if you have a distributed team located in different offices or working remotely. It can be easy to get confused about who is doing what exactly, where information is located or how many tasks are left to be done. Project management tools such as Basecamp or droptask can help you coordinate all the activity in one easy-to-manage tool.

8. Rethink your meetings in a more productive way

In the United States a whooping $37 billion is wasted each year on unproductive meetings. On the other hand, you may agree that there is nothing more profitable for your workflow than an effective team meeting. So what can you do to hold a meaningful meeting? Make sure that:

  • All participants know what is being discussed.
  • A strict time limit was determined.
  • All stakeholders were prepared to the meeting agenda.

Moreover, create video meeting space. Video conferencing is a great tool for startups especially for remote teams because it is effective and affordable. Although face-to-face meetings are important, online group video calls are one of the best ways to maximize performance. Instead of wasting your budget and time on traveling or phone bills, video meetings allow your employees to ‘meet’ digitally.

9. Design guidelines for using forenamed team tools

After your team has picked its toolset comprising of a team messenger, a management software and a video conferencing tool, set guidelines to have a clear understanding about how this toolset will be used. This guideline is a key for keeping team members engaged.

10. Estimating the effect of activities for improving team communication

In most cases, steps on improving company internal communication bring long-term returns. But as an employer, you have to understand the interim results. Here are a few methods to analyze the impact of communication on team performance.

  • Review recent changes in overall productivity, sales and income.
  • Conduct surveys on employee happiness.
  • Check the latest staff retention rates.

If the interim results show promise, scale your efforts. If you are not satisfied with them, try to use other tactics on improving team communication. There is no doubt that eventually it will bring you fruit.

SUMMARY

Generally speaking, it takes a lot of time, actions and planning to set up an infrastructure that will keep your startup team synchronized. Here is one last look at your team communication blueprint:

  • First, review your personal communication skills.
  • Then, create a communication-friendly space, build a healthy feedback culture.
  • In the meantime, empower your team with communication and collaboration platforms.
  • Remember to pay attention to employees’ psychology.
  • Company culture is now more important than ever.
  • Finally, measure the impact of your efforts and seek for their practical benefits.

Using these simple strategies will help you build positive and effective communication in your team.

Julia Samoilenko is a Marketing Manager at Chanty – a simple AI powered business messenger and a single notification center. This powerful and free Slack alternative is aimed to increase team productivity and improve communication at work. Having 5-years experience in the digital marketing field, Julia is responsible for Chanty’s online social media presence and public relations. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliasam111 or feel free to connect on LinkedIn.

Julia Samoilenko

Julia Samoilenko

Guest Contributor

Julia Samoilenko is a Marketing Manager at Chanty - a simple AI powered business messenger and a single notification center.

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