Communication is the cornerstone of a great team. It allows you to solve problems quickly and efficiently, and keeps a sense of goodwill between team members. Additionally, creating two-way communication rather than just dictating to your team makes them feel valued and that they have input.
However, it’s also one of the most difficult aspects for managers and organisations to get right, especially if you’re part of a large team that works a shift pattern.
Different personalities and communication styles, as well as time differences, can lead to mixed messages. Ultimately, this can then result in work being finished to a poor standard or needing to be redone.
So how can maintenance and facility managers make sure they keep the line of communication flowing smoothly? Let’s take a look.
Don’t assume everyone has the same level of knowledge
Making assumptions can mean that you don’t explain things fully to all your team members, which can in turn result in mistakes due to a lack of knowledge.
If you’ve already explained a task to your colleagues previously, they’ve received training on it, or you’ve seen them do it, then you’re probably ok. But if you have a new member of staff or some new equipment, make sure that everyone is clear about what you expect them to do before they begin.
Provide clear, direct instructions
If you need a job done, then make sure that you provide clear instructions – either to the person directly, or another person you trust, such as their manager who will be working with them. Cutting down on the number of people that have to pass on the information will reduce the likelihood of the message getting lost or confused.
Tailor to your team’s needs
Within a team, you’ll have lots of different people, with multiple different learning styles. Not everyone will be able to listen to you give verbal instructions and absorb all the information — and this can mean that things get missed unintentionally. Instead, consider providing written instructions where appropriate or utilise technology to create a task list that makes sure that everyone is on the same page.
Just make sure that everyone is clear about which channels they should be using to communicate about specific tasks, and ensure that each shift pattern has an equal amount of information, so that they don’t have to check their workplace communications out of hours.
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Make the information centrally available
If you have digital copies of training resources, whether that’s videos or written material, make them centrally accessible to all your employees. That way, everyone can access them when they need a refresher, rather than having to ask — which can be a barrier if they feel like they should already know how to do a task.
This transparency means that they should always be able to access the information about the standards you expect, too, so there’s no reason for a job to be done poorly.
Better communication, better team
Ultimately, working out a communication process that suits your team will make your and their lives easier. It should also improve efficiency, and hopefully boost morale as everyone pulls together to get things done.