Sharpen your metaphoric pencils and optimize your multi-location business’s communication skills. Keeping teams connected and communicating is the backbone to any good multi-location business. There is a fine balance between getting the right amount of information and not getting enough or too much. Here are four tips for optimizing your communication stream.
Establish a set time and day for team updates and critical operating information
Teams thrive on consistency and simplicity. Establishing a regular date and time for updates to go out to the team are important to a routine. Once you’ve found a time that works in your operational calendars, you need to hold the time as important for both you and your team. Be sure to make the time ‘sacred.’ This means creating the expectation that during that time, as many team members stop what they’re doing to get the update from you.
Pro tip: Make it a big deal the first three or four times you do this so that everyone understands how important it is.
Create a standard format for how information is to be delivered
This is for simplicity and to be effective. Teaching multi-locations to read the same document is a skill that can be passed on easily and knowledge can be transmitted simply. Don’t get stuck on a template – your purpose here is to reduce the amount of frustration that a multi-location team member has from reading something different every time. The update should be concise, and action items should be marked clearly so teams understand what they need to do. Be sure to incorporate elements of images and video to help transmit your ideas, and leave space for the team to reply or give you feedback as well.
Create a feedback loop
You’ve set up a regular time for your teams to check their communications and expect updates from you. How do you receive feedback from them? In your process, create an open channel to allow teams to communicate with you in a format that allows you to log and process their feedback. This might be a voicemail, email, a specialized communication and collaboration tool such as Intelocate, or one of the platforms found through sites such as Software Advice. Be sure to make accommodations for anonymous feedback – not everybody is comfortable with putting their names on their feedback.
Keeping teams informed and helping them keep you informed is critical to any business. Follow these tips to transform your multi-location business into a well-coordinated, well-informed group. As your team’s communication skills grow, you’ll find the teams will start to bond and grow into a single team across multi-location units.