Face-to-face? Or, Slack to Slack? Because of intense time demands, entrepreneurs work very hard on efficiency. For some, impersonal channels of communication, such as email and messaging, can feel more productive. It may turn out, though, that direct human connection and communication may be not only more effective, but also better for team building and the bottom line.
A Harvard study showed that face-to-face meetings were 34 times more effective than email. Without voice and body language, communication can easily be misunderstood. As an entrepreneur, team building is usually a top priority. Misunderstanding in communication can lead to frustration, stress, and distrust. Even unintended miscommunications can cause ripples that roll out across an organization.
Your business must embrace technology, but as with every tool, it must be evaluated for efficacy. If email and messaging is causing disengagement and turnover, it can limit organizational growth. On the other hand, great communication builds great teams. Here are three ways to move beyond isolation and toward connection.
Know Your Team
A long walk. A lingering cup of coffee. Entrepreneurs who take the time to talk to their employees outside of work build stronger relationships. When you find out the life goals, passions, and obstacles of your team members you inspire trust and dedication. Those deeper connections mean that employees will be willing to bring important issues to your attention. They will also stay with you if times get hard. Besides, if you can’t build relationships and have some fun, why even bother?
With the intense pressure of running a business, the need to connect can take a backseat to everyday stresses. But building in time to appreciate the efforts of team members by providing positive feedback to your team in person can make employees feel appreciated. Yearly reviews are necessary, but your employees need regular and repeated reinforcement.
Socialize and Revitalize
All work and no play can become a grind. Take time to celebrate victories, and give recognition to team members at on- or off-site parties. When you give your employees breaks, they know that you care about them as people, not just about their contribution to your bottom line. The further you can get from work, the better. Human connection is an investment with a quantifiable return.
Though you might not guess it based on current communication channels, we are more than just our social media connections. Our need for real communication, with the chance to gauge facial expressions and make sustained eye contact, is as fundamental as our need for food and water. Studies suggest that we are profoundly shaped by our social environment and suffer greatly when social bonds are disrupted. Building a team means moving out from behind email and messaging, and making sure your team does, too. Paychecks get employees to work. Personal human connections turn individuals into dynamic teams.