The Importance of Effective Communication
Communication is key to any successful job site. But when there are too many people involved in the process or the message is too complicated to follow, the job site can fall apart, and projects become delayed.
Not only does effective communication keep schedules on time and improves relationships, it also keeps everyone safe. Failure to communicate properly can ultimately lead to serious incidents, employee problems or worse–death. Here are some effective ways to improve communication in your workplace.
Ask Specific Questions
The easiest way to improve communications on the job site is by asking questions. It doesn’t matter if you’re the one giving the task or receiving it, asking questions allows both parties to make sure they are both aligned on what was said. Whenever something isn’t clear, something doesn’t look right or any other concerning issues arise, it’s always best to ask questions. The more specific the question, the more time saved avoiding any misunderstandings or further explanations.
Keep Messages Clear & Concise
Days on the job site can go by pretty fast and when you don’t have a lot of time to convey important messages to your team, it’s important to be quick and to the point while providing all the information they need. Avoid heavy amounts of jargon unless it’s necessary to the message. This will help workers that might not be as informed or aware of site-specific terminology and reduce the risk of misunderstanding. To make sure your message has been understood, it’s OK to have workers repeat the information back to you for confirmation. With so many distractions on construction sites, it’s important to make sure everyone is listening and on the same page.
And as mentioned in the first point, it’s also important to let your team know they can ask questions when they don’t understand something.
Always Follow Up
There is nothing wrong with checking in on a task’s progress. Interruptions could have happened, someone might have forgotten, or it could be right on schedule. Following up is essential in maximizing communication on the work site and can help prevent critical delays. It might be as easy as a quick email or a tap on the shoulder checking to see if there are any updates or problems. This also helps monitor accountability and keeps a project moving without an avoidable delay.
Formal Communication Chain
All team members should have a point of contact to make sure that that the right information is getting to the right people. A communication chain can prevent a backlog of information by spreading it evenly across the team and allowing for a structured flow of dialogue. This also prevents gaps in communication where one individual hasn’t been privy to prior updates and therefore doesn’t understand the current status of a project or task. This way a job can move from one person to another smoothly without communication overlapping between workers.
Choose the Right Platform
Choosing the right communication platform depends on the goal of the message. Is it something that can be dealt with later and there for an email might suffice? Is it more urgent and it has to be face-to face or over the phone? And your location matters too. A noisy work site might not be the easiest to speak at. These are the questions you must ask yourself when you are trying to communicate effectively. Evaluate the message goal, the complexity of the message, the type of language you might use or want to avoid and if you still have more questions about what the best platform might be, don’t be afraid to ask a teammate or college.
Any of these tips will help improve the communication on any job site, and in turn will improve the quality of the work being done while keeping everyone even safer. And whether you’re new on site or a seasoned professional, maintaining a safe work environment should always be your top priority — especially when working near overhead or underground power lines. Check out our online safety tutorials and earn free swag for you and your crew!