There’s no doubt, remote work is rapidly on the rise. Its popularity was already growing before it became a necessity for so many businesses when the 2020 pandemic hit. In fact, according to Gartner, 88% of organizations worldwide worked remotely as a result of the pandemic. However, as the trend continues, it’s become clear that all too often, remote teams aren’t communicating effectively. In this article, we will learn some mitigation measures to ensure your teams are able to communicate effectively and how a collaborative CRM will help. But first, let’s explore the signs that your remote teams are communicating ineffectively.
10 Signs Communication is Ineffective Among Your Remote Teams
1. There is a Lack of Trust
One of the first indications that communication isn’t going as well as it should be among your remote teams is that there is an inexplicable lack of trust among team members and between team members and management. Not being able to trust each other can be detrimental to the success of remote teams so it’s important to mitigate these issues.
Trust can be established simply by having live meetings, either audio or video, so you can achieve regular check-ins and know what your team is up to. Individual and team meetings via teleconference or video conference are a good way to keep tabs on everyone’s progress so you know they are working on what they should be and they know you are there if they need anything.
2. Teams are Unable to Adapt
Another sign your team is not communicating as they should is that seemingly effortless changes are met with resistance and team members are unable to adapt. Such ineffective communication results in discourse among employees as they try to figure out what the changes are and what it means for them. This inability to understand changes can lead to fear. Fear of the unknown or, worse, fear of losing their jobs and livelihoods.
Stepping up your communication so everyone is aware of upcoming changes and are a part of the process to make the changes will help them adapt and minimize or alleviate resistance.
3. Teams Lack Purpose
The next sign that your remote teams are communicating ineffectively is that they don’t seem to have a common purpose. This can be determined by simply asking them why they are doing what they do and what their motivations are.
To mitigate, set clear objectives, deadlines, and expectations. Once you have set these, communicate them early and often. Remind them of the company’s purpose and their role in its success. If they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them and why they will have more purpose.
4. Miscommunications are Abundant
When teams aren’t communicating well, it can be very obvious because they are misconstruing the communications they receive. For instance, often remote team members can take written communications out of context. Without visual cues, they may misunderstand what is being communicated to them. If this is happening too often, you clearly have a communications inefficiency.
One of the ways to mitigate this issue is to simply remind your teams that written communications can easily be taken out of context and to encourage them to ask for clarification if needed. Another way to help this issue is to share information visually. Graphs instead of written explanations are very helpful, for instance. Screensharing or video conferencing can be very helpful as well in place of email or chat communications.
5. There is a Lack of Understanding
Beyond simple or complex misunderstandings is a complete lack of understanding about tasks, responsibilities, organizational values, etc. This is often seen in organizations that fail to offer a complete onboarding process for new employees and is a definitive sign of ineffective communication.
Ensuring your remote teams have complete and effective onboarding is going to help them to understand their jobs, their team, and their organization much better. Having the onboarding information available for reference for employees to access any time in the future can help them get reminders when necessary as well.
6. Communication is Inconsistent
Organizations with poor communication will often show signs of inconsistency within their communications. There are a few ways this occurs. One is how important information is sent throughout the organization. Employees aren’t likely to understand which information is most important if it is sometimes sent via email, other times sent in a chat message, every once in a while as an announcement, etc. Another way this rears its ugly head is when important documentation is communicated inconsistently in both manner and media.
To alleviate these issues, it’s important to set guidelines for communication. Let your remote teams know how they should be communicating types of information. Another way to mitigate inconsistency in communication is to set the tone for your teams for communication. This should be done from the top management down and encouraged throughout the organization.
7. No Connection Between Employees
When your employees are not connecting as people, there is often ineffective communication. This is a natural process for employees in an office setting. Not so natural for remote teams.
Creating an online company culture is very possible and very effective to help your employees find a connection. Encouraging communication among team members that isn’t necessarily work-related may help, though it may feel counterproductive. Finding ways to celebrate together virtually is another way to help teams connect. Milestones, anniversaries, wins, etc. can all be celebrated as a team during calls or video conferences.
8. There is Too Much Communication
Sounds impossible, right? It is definitely possible and could be another sign that your remote teams are not communicating effectively. If your employees are getting bombarded via email, group chat, direct message, and text, you aren’t more likely to get their attention. You’re actually more likely to be ignored.
Choose your channels for communicating different types of information and stick with them. If you need to send team announcements, determine which channel you will use vs. when you will communicate individually. Don’t repeat communications among several channels unless it is totally necessary. Make sure important information is communicated appropriately. Harvard Business Review also suggests that management should listen as much as they talk in order to ensure that there is not too much communication so that the right information is being conveyed.
9. Not Staying on Track
A good sign that your communications are failing your remote teams is if no one is staying on track. If your employees are behind in their work and you have no idea where they stand on their tasks, you need to do something differently.
To mitigate this, it’s important to have a way to assign and track tasks while being transparent about them. If you track tasks that are visible to the entire team, you’ll know that they are aware of their tasks and they will be more accountable among their teammates for their tasks as well.
10. Lacking Collaboration Tools
If you have not implemented any collaboration tools or failed to implement the right tools, you are likely to have major issues with communication. This can be an issue with not having the hardware available to you or you haven’t found the right cloud-based software for your needs. Perhaps you simply weren’t aware of how integral it is to the success of your remote teams.
This is where a collaborative CRM option would help your organization communicate more effectively.
How a Collaborative CRM Tool Can Help
With collaborative CRM tools such as Agile CRM, your team would be able to assign, access, and track tasks and communicate as a team with its enhanced project management features. As an all-in-one solution, Agile CRM will allow you to keep all of your internal and external data in one place so your remote teams can communicate more effectively.
Plus, as part of the 500apps Infinity Suite of workplace productivity apps, you can choose from numerous apps to help your remote teams communicate better and succeed from wherever they are. Implementing a collaborative CRM tool is likely your best option for a customer relationship management solution that also offers the ability to communicate among team members.
According to review42, 99% of remote workers want to continue working remotely after the threat of the pandemic diminishes. So, even if you thought it was temporary, you may continue to have remote teams for the foreseeable future, making collaborative CRM options a necessity.
Keeping an eye out for these 10 signs that your remote teams aren’t communicating effectively will help you diagnose the problem and find solutions that will work for you. Whether you were thrown into this workplace situation suddenly when the pandemic hit or you have been doing it for a while, there can be issues. Luckily, these issues are easy and inexpensive to fix by implementing the right collaborative CRM tool for your organization.