5 Tools to Help Foster Open Communication at Work

Companies looking to give themselves an edge in the recruiting process have long focused on high salaries, competitive benefits, and flexible environments to appeal to top performers. While these are all key draws for some workers, they ignore one of the most critical factors out there: communication.

With 84 percent of working Millennials saying that an open communication policy is more important than a top-flight benefits package, you know it’s important. And that number seems even larger when compared with the 77 percent of Baby Boomers who said the same. Workers, particularly young ones, want to work in an office that promotes honesty and truth — and it’s in your power to give it to them.

If you’re looking to make open communication an integral part of your company, start by integrating platforms that make that kind of communication possible. These five types of tools can help you get started:

1. Video Conferencing Tools

While some may already be tired of video conferencing, it remains a valuable tool for promoting connectivity throughout your organization. In fact, 98 percent of workers feel that video conferencing helps them build and maintain relationships in their business — a number far too high to ignore. At times when in-person interaction has been brought to a minimum, video conferencing is often the next best thing.

When choosing a video chat tool, be sure to focus on one that meets the needs of your company as far as integrations, device usability, and cybersecurity go. Adopting a platform could likely cause more headaches than it solves, stifling your company’s communication growth in the process.

2. Instant Messaging Apps

Not all communication demands a face-to-face meeting, and some things need greater speed than an email. Every team needs an instant chat app at their fingertips if they’re hoping to foster a culture of open communication now and in the future. 

Slack, one of the most popular messaging apps, reported that companies using its platform have seen a nearly 50 percent reduction in email and a 24 percent reduction in meetings — all while boosting productivity across the board. Instant messaging tools take away the formalities that other means of communication often carry, allowing your team to talk freely and openly about what’s on their minds.

3. Project Management Software

If your business has been forced to go remote throughout the COVID-19 crisis, you’re probably already aware of the critical role that project management software can play in making things run smoothly. Being able to track each major task your company is working toward allows you to always stay on top of whatever your team is working on at that moment.

It’s no surprise, then, that 77 percent of high-performing projects are undertaken using project management software, but that number doesn’t even begin to emphasize the importance that software plays in communication. Without project management software, communication is fractured and likely done primarily via email, which can make hunting down critical facts and documents nearly impossible. By keeping all relevant information in one place, project management software keeps things open for your team.

4. Brainstorming Platforms

Communication in an office isn’t just sharing information; it’s working together to build new things. Companies that don’t facilitate open communication among its teams are stifling innovation — but the right brainstorming platform can help you get around that problem quickly.

Having a single platform completely dedicated to brainstorming can have a surprisingly profound effect on your business’s overall levels of ingenuity. Companies that promote brainstorming in the same channels they normally communicate through aren’t supplying their workers with an environment that asks them to think outside the box — adopting a tool that does so can lead to big returns quickly. 

5. Document Sharing Networks

The majority of workers say that their businesses don’t have policies in place for securely sharing files, and that’s a serious problem. If employees don’t feel that the files they share with their co-workers are safe, they’re less likely to share them at all. Companies asking employees to be more open with one another need to have document sharing tools in place to help them with that.

Email is likely the most common document sharing platform out there, but that’s far from safe — for files to truly be secure, they need to be shared through an encrypted network that stops any onlookers from catching a glimpse of it in the transfer for process. If your business can secure the transfer of files, it can promote the free sharing of them, too.

Open communication isn’t the easiest thing to create in a workplace, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most valuable. The right tech tools can’t do everything, but they can put you on the right path forward.