This guest blog written by Rae Steinbach was submitted to me by David Mizne, chief contributor and editor of the award winning 15Five Blog. Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing, of course.

Remember when Ford and Bridgestone

Firestone lost billions due to a truly avoidable error? The team designing the Ford Explorer didn’t coordinate with the team responsible for the tire design. This resulted in safety issues that forced a recall.
Unfortunately, these types of errors are fairly common. This is especially true in companies that lack organization. Different teams and departments must communicate with one another clearly and regularly in order to avoid making such mistakes. When you prioritize communication, you ensure that everyone is on the same page. The following tips will help:

Accept Feedback

Communication should never be a one-way street, but unless employees know they can (and should) offer their own feedback, it’s unlikely they’ll be eager to share their thoughts.
Employee feedback can be vital in order to show both staff appreciation and to provide constructive criticism.  By encouraging your workers to share their opinions, you’ll boost their overall willingness to communicate.

Establish a Set of Goals and Values

One of the best ways to improve inter-department coordination is, ironically, by focusing on your broader vision for the company at first, instead of the small details. Try to establish
a mission statement that’s no more than three sentences long. Once you’ve finalized it, post it regularly in places your employees will see it, like emails, bulletin boards, and marketing materials. It’s easier to improve communication when all team members are united by a common goal.

Train Your Employees Thoroughly

It’s tempting to put new employees to work right away. In the long run it’s better to put your employees through a training program when they first join the company. This streamlines the communication process in the future because they’ll know who they should stay in touch with while working on a project.

Make Sure Key Information is Available to Everyone

When you’re working on a project, you may not have time to provide the supervisors of every other relevant department with constant updates. Instead, create a company wiki or FAQ
page where you can post vital info that members of other departments may need. This resource will help prevent miscommunications.

Seek Out Fun Environments

Most employees are more willing to communicate when their guard is down. That’s why it’s often a good idea to hold unofficial “meetings” outside of the office. Bringing your team out to lunch for a few hours will make them more relaxed, and thus more willing to be communicative. Make these outings a regular occurrence throughout the lifespan of a project.  Don’t let lack of communication result in an error that will cost your company money and productivity. Keep these tips in mind, and use them to establish clear and efficient lines of communication throughout the organization.

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