As you navigate the business world, you’ll often hear of the importance of communications. Some say it’s an essential business component, while others believe it’s the driving force of company success.
Either way, if you’ve been managing your company with this mindset, then you’re on the right track. Communication is indeed one of the contributing factors to the success of an organization. Alas, not everything goes according to plan.
As your company continues to grow, you’ll come to realize the limitations of your current infrastructure. As you bring in more employees, customers, and therefore sales, the foundation of your success, your communication style, will no longer be as effective as it was before.
In short, the success brought by the communication methods you take pride in is what renders those same methods obsolete. When that happens, the best course of action is to scale communications.
Unfortunately, scaling business communications is as challenging as scaling the company itself. After all, as stated earlier, it might as well be the foundation of your company.
In any case, it still must be done, hence this guide. Below are six methodologies you can use when scaling business communications.
1. Invest In the Right Tools
As with most business operations, you can hardly achieve maximum efficiency without using some sort of tools to support the strategy. This is particularly the case if you plan to scale your business, or a part of it, like communications. Take note that depending on your intention, the types of tools you have to get will differ.
In your case, you may need the following business communication tools:
During rush hours, employees have barely enough time to explain the specifics of a task or an assignment to their coworkers. This often leads to misunderstanding, which in turn hinders communication efficiency.
One way to prevent such incidents is by sending voicemails instead of vague text messages. For that reason, having a voicemail application, such as Drop Cowboy, can go a long way in avoiding misunderstanding in the workplace, especially during busy hours.
Videoconferencing has become a lot popular over the past few years, and for an apparent reason. It combines video, audio, and text, all of which can contribute to effective communication. It’s also an excellent substitute for face-to-face communication, which is quite handy for remote teams.
Task Management Platforms
Business communication consists of numerous components, one of which is task management. This pertains to how teams deal with tasks in the workplace. Task management platforms can be incredibly convenient, especially to managers, as it allows them to assign all sorts of tasks to team members and track its progress from creation up to completion.
Issue Tracking Software
This type of tool is similar to task management platforms, except this time, it helps you track issues instead of tasks. To be precise, an issue tracking software allows employees to submit a query explaining an issue that they’re currently facing.
By doing so, other teams are made aware of the issue while the support team promptly resolves it. Issue tracking software is particularly valuable in the case of business communication issues as it reduces downtime.
As your company continues to grow, the amount of information in the digital workplace would also expand ceaselessly. Eventually, your employees would struggle to keep up with all the information. And that would be the best time to centralize all information into one place.
A knowledgebase platform would be the perfect solution in this case. Not only does it allow managers to decentralize information, but it also makes them easy to digest for employees.
Naturally, if you intend to invest in these tools to scale your business communications, you’re not just looking at USD$500 a month. Some tools are more expensive than others, which is why you have to keep your eye out for tools that do more than one thing. For example, a platform that allows you to send voicemails and schedule video calls would be a much better choice than any one-trick pony.
2. Purchase The Necessary Equipment
While purchasing communications software is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment, you have to remember that most software largely depends on the hardware. For instance, in order to make full use of auto-dialers and voicemail apps like Call Cowboy, your company must have landline phones installed all over the workplace. That way, if you want to broadcast an announcement to your team, you can easily do so by sending the message via landline phones. Simply put, software and hardware go hand in hand.
Take note that not all software requires hardware. Some are entirely digital, like knowledgebase platforms, for example. Below are other examples of hardware your business may need:
- Computers (e.g., laptop or desktop with a built-in mic and webcam)
- Mobile devices (e.g., tablets, smartphones, etc.)
- Flat-screen TVs (e.g., LED, LCD, OLED, etc.)
Hardware is typically more expensive than software, but it’s still a worthwhile investment nonetheless.
If you’re struggling with setting up Drop Cowboy, check out the video below, especially since setting up voicemail applications is particularly difficult:
3. Standardize Your Communications Process
Standardized processes are normally not suitable for small companies. After all, if you only have one or two employees handling customer support, they’re in full control of its systems and processes.
So, the way they do their job is technically the standard procedure. However, as you accept more employees into your company, you’ll notice that each of them would have their own ways of doing things.
For example, some of your employees might prefer sending reports via emails, while others would use instant messaging apps. This disparity between the process can lead to chaos in the workplace, and you most certainly don’t want that. One way to prevent this issue is by developing a standard procedure.
Suppose you’re receiving reports via different channels. Rather than allowing them to send reports the way they want, you can instead make it a rule that employees must send reports via a specific platform.
By doing so, all information of the same kind, such as daily reports, will converge into one place, making it easier for you or your executives to manage reports. This applies to you as well. Just like your employees, you must also communicate with them using a standard procedure. For example, you should disseminate announcements and other company info via one channel and one channel only.
4. Create An IT Support Department
When your company was only getting started, it can still hold itself together, so an IT department might’ve been unnecessary, but you’ll come to understand its significance as the company grows.
For one, the IT staff is responsible for ensuring that all employees have access to the Internet and phone lines. They also make sure all technologies, both software and hardware, operate as intended.
Hence, it’s no exaggeration to say that they’re the glue that holds your business communications together. Since your company is bound to get erratic or unsteady when scaling up, an IT support department would prove to be quite handy. So, how exactly should you go about creating such a team?
It might seem overwhelming at first, but creating an IT support department is no different from when you first started your company. You hire more people, train them, and provide them with the necessary tools.
If you’re lucky, you can find workers that already have experience with IT support work. You also have the option to outsource IT support services. This is particularly useful if you can’t afford to manage yet another team in your company. Either way, before you scale up, make sure you have an IT team.
5. Grow Your Team
It goes without saying that if you want to grow your business, one of the things you must do is increase your team. Growing your team means hiring a few more people and training them into team member. By having people committed to your company’s success, everything else would become a lot easier. If you intend to grow your team, here are a few pointers to help you out:
Choosing The Right People
During the recruitment process, you must make sure that the candidates have communication as one of their strengths. Otherwise, they might not be able to keep up once you start scaling.
Providing The Best Treatment
Apart from choosing the right people, you must also provide the candidates with adequate training. It’s important to drill into their heads your communication policies early to eliminate the possibility of employees deviating from your company’s standardized process.
Designating The Correct Roles
Finally, employees must be assigned different roles. Most of them, of course, would have the role’ team member,’ but it’s imperative that you assign the role’ managers’ to a few of them. By doing this, you’re essentially clarifying the chain of command in the workforce, which can make the communication flow much easier as it would be clear who team members should defer to.
The problem with most business owners is that they tend to hire a bunch of people without much thought. As a result, rather than improving business communications, it gives rise to chaos instead. But with these three tips, you should be able to grow your team while minimizing possible repercussions.
6. Adapt Macro-management to Your Working Setup
During your company’s growth, things can get a bit too chaotic. Your company will receive tons of inquiries from customers, and your employees would have to respond to each one of them. At times like this, your employees need all the help they can get, and micromanaging is perhaps the complete opposite of helping.
Not only does it annoy employees, but it also takes away their ability to communicate with their coworkers. If your company enforces micromanaging, it’s time to change your infrastructure.
But as you might’ve guessed, transitioning from one communication system to another can be tricky. For one, your employees would have to adapt to numerous changes in the workflow. More importantly, it can be tough to get the micromanaging mindset out of your system, but it should be possible with these tips:
Start Delegating Managers
As stated earlier in the previous point, designating roles has several benefits to business communication, and this is one of those benefits. By delegating managers, you rarely have to interact with your employees. Moreover, if you can get managers that have no experience in micromanagement setups, they should be able to implement macro-management a lot easier.
Let Go of Perfectionism
Perfectionism might’ve been effective in the early days of your company, but during periods of growth, it would only hinder business communications. On that note, you should let go of perfectionism and embrace the fact that failures are inevitable in a fast-growing company.
Use Project Management Systems
As a result of letting go of micromanagement, you’ll find it difficult to find peace of mind. After all, most leaders can’t help but worry about the team’s progress, so it makes sense if you’re worried about that, too. O
One thing you can do is implement project management systems for your team. With this software, you should be able to view information and track the progress of your teams. It’s not intrusive, and your employees most likely wouldn’t mind.
Remove Your Presence from the Team
While you may have already let go of your old ways, you can’t deny the fact that some employees would still find it daunting if they see you looming in the room. If you genuinely want to make your statement clear to your employees, consider removing your presence from the team.
Micromanagement may have its perks, but it’s usually not very helpful for large companies. If you intend to keep up with corporate giants, now would be the best time to get rid of your old ways and adopt a more modern approach to business communications, one that doesn’t involve micromanaging.
Scaling your business communications can be a grueling process. You have to spend money on various things, such as software and hardware. It’s also imperative that you make changes in your company policy here and there.
During the process, you must never forget that there are bound to be problems. After all, scaling business communications is a bit of a trial-and-error process where you try several things to see which one would work and which would not.
Regardless, if you want to continue growing, scaling is imperative. It may take some time, but the payoff is usually more than worth it.