Get tips on beefing up this critical aspect of productivity — and patient satisfaction
At every point of customer contact, you and your staff can make the difference between one-time connections and patients for life. And with so much of that riding on workplace harmony, cooperation, and support, it’s important to keep your team’s communication game strong.
For most teams, however, effective communication isn’t automatic. It often requires learning, practicing, and implementing a few skills and techniques. The good news? Anyone dedicated to patient satisfaction, personal growth, and team success can master key steps in communicating well.
Read on for the what, why, and how of effective team communication.
Understanding the Basics
What does effective team communication look like? It’s helpful to think of team communication as a continuous process with some crucial elements:
- Problem-solving skills
- Shared purpose
- Desire to participate
- Willingness to seek input
These critical elements contribute in different ways, but all work together to elevate employee interaction. They undergird an office culture focused on mutual support, alignment with the goals of the business, and commitment to wanting the best for every team member and patient. They in turn go hand in hand with other fundamentals such as your practice’s mission, vision, and values.
Differences also have a place in effective communication — especially when they’re treated as a vital part of making sound decisions. With various people contributing diverse perspectives, it’s natural to not always see eye to eye. Using words that express calmness and cooperation rather than forcefulness, however, can help turn disagreements into positive opportunities.
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Making the Case
Why does workplace communication matter? There’s no shortage of discussion on this topic.
One report found that over 90% of employees cite good communication with upper leadership as critical for success. Conversely, 86% of executives and employees said workplace failures stemmed from deficient collaboration or communication.
Similarly, employees blame lack of communication — along with insufficient recognition, concerns with leadership, disagreement with policies, and relationships with coworkers — among some of the reasons they leave their jobs.
Did you know most of the reasons employees quit their jobs are within the control of the employer — whether having to do with workplace culture, environment, opportunities, or other factors? Here are three reasons effective communication is so crucial:
- Goal Alignment — When team members understand the value and importance of personal, professional, and financial goals and hold each other accountable, effective team communication can play a big part in aligning individual goals with those of the practice.
- Purpose and Value — Effective communication and staff morale are linked, making it important to choose transparency, recognize each person’s contributions, and instill a sense of unity in becoming a practice or provider of distinction.
- Talent Retention — Ensuring employees have a direct and clear career path and understand how they fit into the big picture helps them thrive, which helps the business. Replacing staff costs money, possibly up to four times the salary of a given position.
How can effective team communication help you leverage your strengths and resources for success? Keep these tips in mind:
- It all starts with the recruitment process. From the minute an individual applies for a position with your practice to the last moment they serve on your team, clear and effective team communication should be a solid part of the employee life cycle.
- Effective team communication can help demonstrate your practice’s brand, sending a clear message not only about the services you offer but also the high standards, discipline, and sense of organization by which you deliver them.
- Communication consistency can go a long way in building confidence across your team. Sticking to one-on-one and group-meeting schedules, coming prepared with an agenda, and following through on captainships and other elements of accountability help reinforce consistency.
- Through this consistency, staff also gain a reliable and open forum in which they can feel valued and appreciated for their insight and ideas. The resultant transparency can yield grassroots innovation that enhances operations and patient care.
- Effective communication gives employees a voice — increasingly important for staff satisfaction — and can help not only curb conflict and misunderstandings but potentially reduce grievances and lawsuits.
Embracing effective communication as part of your team’s culture helps yield desirable outcomes, including improvements in retention, engagement, working relationships, and sense of value. With solid commitment coupled with action, you can achieve results that benefit your people, your patients, and your practice.
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