Miscommunications and misunderstandings are bound to happen in any workplace. However, the frequency with which they occur can likely be lowered in many small businesses.
While small business owners will never be able to fully eliminate miscommunications and misunderstandings from occurring, they can take active measures to decrease the frequency with which they happen.
Businesses thrive when their workers practice open, honest communication and have a clear, thorough understanding of what needs to be accomplished. It allows them to efficiently and effectively complete their work and ensures the businesses they work for continue to run smoothly and successfully.
Therefore, small business owners must take it upon themselves to lessen the number of miscommunications and misunderstandings in their workplaces.
Here are five ways small business owners can encourage their employees to avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings in the workplace:
1. Do not be afraid to ask for clarification.
First, small business owners should encourage employees to ask for clarification when they do not understand something. Whether they have just been given a new responsibility or taught a new method to do something, employees should feel comfortable asking for clarification if they did not understand fully the first time. This will enable them to understand the task better and ensure they complete it right the first time. Asking follow-up questions or having something explained an additional time helps to prevent miscommunications and misunderstandings from happening.
2. Send a follow-up email.
Another way small business owners can help their employees prevent miscommunications and misunderstandings is by encouraging them to send follow-up emails after having important conversations. In these emails, employees should quickly summarize the conversation each of them just had and highlight any decisions or agreements made. Doing so will also allow the recipient of the email to fact-check it and respond with any disagreements about what was written. This will enable the sender and recipient of the email to clear up any miscommunications and misunderstandings and work together to revise the email until they are on the same page.
3. Take notes.
Small business owners can also aid their employees in decreasing miscommunications and misunderstandings by encouraging them to take notes. When employees are in important meetings or given new responsibilities, for example, they should take brief notes that give them a basic outline of what was discussed. These notes will act as a backup point of reference to what they remember off the top of their heads and give them something to refer to when completing their work. Furthermore, they can reference these notes when asking follow-up questions to ensure they are on the same page as the person they are talking to. This will ensure they have a clear and thorough understanding of everything discussed, decreasing the likelihood of miscommunications and misunderstandings.
4. Repeat back what was said.
Small business owners can also help their employees reduce miscommunications and misunderstandings in the workplace by encouraging them to repeat any directions or information given. When employees take time to put directions or information in their own words, they better know if they understand each. If they cannot easily do so, likely, they did not fully understand the directions or information they were given. Therefore, doing so will enable them to ask questions to fill in the gaps. This will also help the individual who gave them the directions or information to evaluate if they did a thorough job, reducing miscommunications and misunderstandings.
5. Request help along the way.
Lastly, small business owners can help their employees lessen miscommunications and misunderstandings in the workplace by encouraging them to ask for help. While completing a new responsibility, employees should feel comfortable asking any questions they have along the way. Asking these questions will help them ensure they complete their work quickly and correctly. Furthermore, requesting help along the way will allow them to clear up any miscommunications or misunderstandings that occurred when they were originally given directions.
Unfortunately, miscommunications and misunderstandings are bound to happen in any small business. However, the frequency they occur can typically be decreased in most workplaces.
Small business owners must work with their employees to implement strategies to stop these miscommunications and misunderstandings from happening in the first place. When they do, their entire businesses can run more smoothly.
PaySmart is a payroll provider in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!