The world’s greatest teams prioritize open and honest communication. In the same way that professional athletes use verbal and non-verbal cues to emphasize messages to their teammates during games, businesses must share regular updates with employees that inspire them to accomplish major goals.
Today, let’s explore the effects of poor work communication and why teams struggle to give updates, discover five ways managers and team leaders can share important updates with their teams, and take a look at some best practices for sharing effective updates.
The effects of poor work communication
Employee output suffers when individuals don’t receive clear direction and instruction from leaders. Think about it: How can someone work at their highest level of productivity when they don’t even know what tools or resources they need to succeed? If your team is cross-functional, your employees may find it especially challenging to gather the information needed to complete their work.
2Valuable time lost
Time is one of the most valuable assets in business. Miscommunication is costly and time consuming. When managers don’t communicate their expectations, employees lose out on precious working hours they could have used to complete small tasks and achieve major goals.
3Employee retention issues
Poor communication may create a stressful work environment for employees. Without proper tools, knowledge, or information to work towards their objectives, individuals may not feel prepared to complete their work. This can lead to issues with employee retention, as productive and talented workers won’t want to stay in an environment that doesn’t equip them with the resources they need.
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4Lack of transparency
Trust is what creates the foundation for employees and their organizations to flex, adapt, and thrive in times of continuous change. When employees aren’t given regular team and company updates, they’re bound to lose trust in their leaders. Without transparent leadership and communication, employees will be easily confused, which can lead to conflict and resentment.
Poor communication doesn’t allow for a two-way flow of information for employees. This means that workers may find it challenging to form connections with leadership, won’t have opportunities to give and receive feedback, and may not see their company’s big picture. Without a well-communicated vision for the team and company, employees may become disinterested in their work and unmotivated to work towards objectives.
A communication overload happens when employees are told about many updates at once, rather than when they first occurred. A communication overload can result in overwhelmed employees, worsen existing inefficiencies, and make for lost or misrepresented information. Your employees won’t be able to complete deep, focused work if they are regularly bombarded with messages to which they’re expected to respond immediately.
Why do your team updates get lost?
In our digital age, we have many communication options for team updates aside from in-person announcements and emails. Teams more frequently turn to messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams to deliver quick updates on tasks and projects. While there’s no doubt that these tools are more efficient than hosting hour-long team-wide update meetings every day, messaging threads have a rapid turnover that can cause essential information to get lost. It’s disheartening to return to your work after a quick break or day off only to realize you have hundreds of unread messages across multiple messaging streams!
Let’s take a look at five ways you can share updates with your team so the updates don’t get lost in messy threads.
5 ways to share updates with your team
Stand-up meetings are short, structured meetings meant to go over important tasks that have been finished, are in progress, or are about to be started. These types of meetings are called “stand-up” meetings because they are often held daily and on foot. Managers can use recurring stand-ups to share and receive important updates regarding progress on tasks and projects, reflect on successes and roadblocks from past days, offer support, and motivate employees to work through challenges.
Did you know that you can use Fellow to automate stand-up meetings and status updates? Use our tool to host asynchronous stand-ups and status updates that keep everyone in the loop. Begin by creating a recurring calendar event with all attendees, selecting our Daily Stand-Up Meeting Template or another one of our 500+ meeting templates, setting a pre-meeting reminder, and sending an automated meeting recap to everyone involved.
A check-in meeting is a one-on-one meeting between a leader and an employee and is used to give updates, offer support and feedback, and develop rapport. During check-in meetings, you can also coach and mentor employees, address questions, and troubleshoot when challenges arise.
Our best tip: Boost engagement and productivity before check-in meetings by sharing a collaborative meeting agenda with attendees in advance!
A status update is an informal note or email that lets other involved parties know where a project stands. Share frequent status updates to teammates in one stream or tool so that important messages don’t get lost. If any involved employees are away when status updates are sent, send a follow-up email that lets everyone know what is happening and to whom they can reach out for additional information.
Need to give detailed step-by-step instructions on how to use a new digital tool or complete a specific task? Share an asynchronous video update that teammates can watch on their own time. Try Fellow’s integration with Loom to bring video messaging directly into your meeting notes and personalize mundane updates to boost engagement. Go a step further and embed videos and other media into your notes in Fellow so employees can easily refer back to important video updates.
5Workplace communication channels
Your team can use tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other communication channels to deliver updates on the status of tasks, projects, milestones, and major goals. Fellow integrates with a variety of communication tools to make meeting, management, and productivity workflows even better. Get helpful reminders via Google Calendar and Office 365, get a side-by-side view of your meeting agendas, access your meeting notes, and connect to video calls directly from your meeting agenda.
Best practices for sharing updates with your team
1Make communication consistent
Your team should expect to hear from their leaders regularly. Prioritize recurring meetings and email updates that notify employees about company and team changes, major news, and project updates. Set reminders during times of high stress so you never forget to reach out to employees when they need to hear from you most!
2Find the right tool (like Fellow)
A great tool can make all the difference! Level up your communication by implementing a digital communication tool that allows you to give updates and communicate in real time and asynchronously on your own terms. Our suggestion: Try Fellow to build great meeting habits that will keep your team well informed and productive, always.
When you’re transparent with employees, they’ll be able to make more informed decisions that lead to great business results. Improve transparency within your team by sharing business performance updates with employees when you can. When you give an update that affects your team and their work, explain your decision-making process to improve employee satisfaction. Better yet, involve your employees in the decision-making process from the start to make them feel like they’re a part of something bigger!
4Set communication expectations
As a leader, you must set expectations for team communication. Make it clear when and how you expect your employees to communicate with you each time you assign a new project. For example, if your team is working on a new product launch, ask that they provide regular status updates via communication streams or email, during check-in meetings, or within your team’s digital tool of choice. Reach out to your teammates often to see if they require additional support to complete their work.
Providing your employees with regular positive and constructive feedback will improve their confidence, motivation, engagement, and productivity. Use feedback sessions to make your employees feel appreciated, recognize their strengths, and give them the resources needed to improve upon their weaknesses. Try Fellow to enable your team to share real-time feedback on meetings, projects, and performance. Our Feedback feature allows teams to easily give, request, and exchange feedback about others, meetings, and projects, too.
Updates are more than the simple act of bringing a group up to date. They are an important communication tool that managers should use to increase trust, motivate employees, and attract outstanding talent to their team.
The next time you’re dreading giving your colleagues an important update, remember that it will only improve teamwork and efficiency. You’ve got this!