Communication Strategies for a More Effective Workplace

Effective communication in the workplace can help you promote a healthy culture within your business and between your business and people outside of the company. Whether you’re a broker, a team lead, or other small business leaders, one thing is certain: There is a constant flow of information coming in and out of your business with clients, stakeholders, and employees. A simple misunderstanding or lack of communication can spell disaster for you and your business and can lead to losing sales leads – or even talented agents!

This is just one of the reasons why improving communication in the workplace is essential for your business’s success and growth. Whether it is with agents, employees, between partners, or with your clients, your organization has to have efficient communication channels in place. In this article, we will share insights on how to improve communication at work and be a leader that encourages strong communication. 

Ensure Leaders Understand Their Role

Your leaders need to be effective communicators (this is one of the fundamental characteristics you should look for in your leaders). You should set the tone for the rest of the organization and enforce healthy communication channels with clearly divided responsibilities and tasks. When each employee knows what information they should share with which sector or person, your job as a leader will be facilitated. Several studies have shown that employees are more satisfied and have a better opinion of leaders who communicate effectively.

Encourage Feedback and Conduct Engagement Surveys

Communication is a two-way street. As a leader, you shouldn’t allow yourself to grade the communication efficiency in your organization on your own. You have to engage your employees and consider their feedback. One of the most widely used methods of receiving feedback and increasing employee engagement is through surveys. Engagement surveys are a great way to receive feedback for your work and an incentive for your employees to be more productive and look for ways to improve and expand your organization. 

Of course, some employees may feel hesitant or even intimidated to share their feedback, regardless of your encouragement. If that’s the case, you can conduct anonymous surveys to understand your co-worker’s point of view and how satisfied they are with the organization as a whole. It’s a quick and straightforward way to communicate with your team and receive the feedback you need. You can also group the survey results by sectors and share them with managers, partners, and responsible parties. Some brokerages even store responses in their real estate CRM.

Top companies also regularly survey their customers to get feedback. This is a practice that has driven a tight feedback loop for companies like Real Estate U and Real Estate Express (as evidenced by their strong number of reviews!).

In the end, whether the survey is internal or external, make sure to thank the survey participants for their time and input. Ensure each participant that their responses are taken seriously, and that changes will be implemented based on their feedback. Giving your employees the recognition for their effort will encourage them to keep communicating with you. It will also help you understand which communication efforts are most effective so that they can be implemented. 

Be Transparent

Not everything will go according to plan in your everyday work. Unexpected negative feedback, poor reviews, surprising changes, sudden shifts in policy or leadership, and other potential issues may arise at any time. 

The sooner the issues are discussed with your employees, the better it is. Imagine if you inform your managers and employees of a problem when it becomes severe. This could cause complete disarray in your organization. Your employees could panic, be confused, and maybe even quit their job if they worry about the organization’s future. Instead, you could prepare everyone by being transparent about the issue. It’s one of the best effective communication strategies out there that will minimize stress for your employees.

When you encourage transparency in your organization, open communication follows, and as a result, problem-solving becomes more active. When you’re open about everyday missteps, you’re encouraging everyone to share their issues, problems, and concerns. And an organization with a transparency culture where issues are discussed as soon as they appear will perform better and show better results than an organization where its employees fear making errors or sharing a problem they’ve encountered. 

Moreover, being transparent with employees and involving them in the problem-solving process from start to finish will give them the skills to solve the problems on their own in the future, which will improve their productivity and ultimately boost your bottom line.

Collaborate Between Departments

Improving communication in the workplace requires regular collaboration between departments. Think about how an average brokerage works, for instance. All agents come to the office at some cadence and work together, which generally can help boost agent morale and allow people to see the bigger picture of the organization. If you’re part of a virtual brokerage (like eXp Realty), of course, you’ll have to get creative!

Whether it’s a remote office or in an office environment, intra-departmental collaboration is vital for the successful completion of a project, especially if it is a big one. Projects are like a big puzzle, with every department holding a piece of the puzzle. To complete it, everyone has to share their input, their puzzle piece. 

When there is a constant flow of information between departments, everyone will know how everything is going, how far out until completion, and be aware of any problems another department is experiencing, which also boosts transparency, as we mentioned before. 

However, intra-departmental collaboration is not something that happens out of nowhere. You have to establish an organizational structure with divided responsibilities and tasks, so there are no misunderstandings or conflicts about responsibility and accountability in the organization. Make sure each department shares its input and receives feedback on the job they did. Only through transparency and communication will you be able to boost your business’ performance and its bottom line.

Avoid Gossip

Even the smallest group of gossipers can strain your company’s morale and make everyone feel uncomfortable. Moreover, the person who is a victim of a mean-spirited rumor will feel uncomfortable, and may also leave because they feel unwelcome and unprotected by your organization. You have the responsibility to protect your employees from outside factors and other employees, gossiping included.

But don’t confuse watercooler talk with gossiping. Casual chats between employees should be encouraged. A friendly, non-work conversation will allow your employees to cool off their heads from work a bit and get to know each other better, which will create a feeling of closeness and increase their work satisfaction. 

Because spreading mean-spirited rumors can ruin your organization, you need to be able to spot it and clear out the negative atmosphere before it gets toxic. Whether by organizing after-work parties, colleague hang-outs, sending friendly emails, or addressing the gossipers directly, you should be actively involved in fighting negativity in your organization.

Understand Basic Communication Skills

Regardless of which of the effective communication strategies you’re using, you have to have communication skills and continuously work on improving them. There are a few simple tricks and skills you can work on to improve the way you communicate with your co-workers, such as:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Speak loudly, confidently, and clearly
  • Be conscious of your facial expressions
  • Talk with a firm but friendly tone 

When you employ these communication skills, you’ll be able to transfer your ideas easier, get answers quicker, and solve problems more efficiently. 

Be a Good Listener

Everything we discussed above requires you to be a good listener, especially when communicating with your co-workers. If you’re not a good listener, all your communication efforts will be one-sided and won’t take you far. Instead, you should promote feedback communication, strong leadership, transparency, collaboration, and healthy workplace culture. Improving communication in the workplace starts and ends with being a good listener. Only by being a good listener will you understand everyone’s needs, challenges, and discover ways to resolve issues and create positive changes from it.

If you and your co-workers work remotely, constant contact is that much more important. It doesn’t matter that you’re not physically present in the same room; your ideas, feedback, and problems should be regularly communicated. If you’re part of a remote real estate team, use a collaborative lead generation tool with the ability to include notes on status – or even a full-blown CRM depending on how big your team is. Picking technology with remote collaboration features will help you stay in close sync with your remote colleagues or employees.

Takeaways

Effective communication is just one way to keep your small business organized. It’s one of the most important business tools that have many benefits for your business, from improving your workplace culture to increasing customer satisfaction – it’s surprising that it isn’t taught more in even the best real estate schools.

Because of its importance, spending some time finding the right communication strategy for your organization is more than worth it. Every person and every organization communicates differently, and it’s up to you to find the communication strategy and process that best fits your organizational needs.