Online Learning Systems can Build Inter-Team Communication for Tech Companies
Consider a tech company, a software enterprise or a mobile app business with departments for marketing, sales and teams of developers, all trying to communicate their needs and ideas to each other in ways that help put the best products on the market as fast as possible.
In this scenario, what do you do when your marketing, sales, and IT departments are at loggerheads? Specifically, what can you do to empower your teams to work together without simply mandating that they do?
Miscommunications can happen in any workplace, including the continually-growing software and technology industries. Mobile app revenue alone is forecasted to reach nearly $189 million by 2020, and investing in ways to help your teams communicate effectively means a smoother ride into powerful income streams like this one.
For any technology-related company, online education programs specifically designed to help your team members understand communication styles and practice adapting to them in a virtual setting might help you avoid communication hiccups.
The problem: how to avoid miscommunications between your teams
Sales and Marketing teams might struggle to communicate sometimes, but their ultimate goal is to get the product on the market, and that’s a goal they can both align with.
For app, software and tech developers, the goal is to create a product that can be marketed. There’s been significant debate about how the minds of software and tech developers work, and how that impacts their communications with others. A new study shows that there is a link between understanding algorithmic logic and language centers in the brain. While this is a springboard for more research, it seems to suggest what we already know: humans are capable of communicating with each other, and no matter how any team member things, team members can be taught to communicate effectively in the workplace.
Aspects of effective communication
Understanding communication styles, solving problems as a group and learning how to give and receive criticism are all important aspects of effective communication in an app development company.
Communication breakdowns can occur here because it’s difficult to meet mind-to-mind about deliverable products, especially when those on your sales and marketing teams don’t understand what it takes to develop the necessary algorithms. Timelines and budget limitations can add stress on both sides.
A solution: An online education strategy targeted toward understanding other teams
Using an online education strategy to help your teams meet mind to mind might not solve all problems, but it could help them understand each other better, be more realistic in their expectations, and provide new tools for communicating their ideas.
Where’s the best place to start?
Step One: Personalities, mindsets and more
A basic understanding of different personality types can be enlightening to corporate executives as well as to team members. There are several options to consider, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) or the Growth-vs.-Fixed Mindset method.
The MBTI tests can show whether your team members are thinkers or feelers and how to adjust your communications with them accordingly. The mindset method can help you see how open your team members are to new ideas. These techniques could be used singly, in conjunction with each other, or as part of a company-tailored group that includes other personality tests, as well.
Consider making annual personality tests a fun beginning-of-the-year event, with incentives for those who complete the testing phase within a certain amount of time.
Step Two: Training with virtual reality games
Once team members know what their personality types are and what types they’re most likely to have a conflict with, they can be engaged with virtual reality games to help them practice communicating with people who don’t think the way they do.
How these would be set up
To keep team members engaged, a virtual reality setting with choose-your-own-adventure type scenarios could give them practice interacting with different personality types. These games could be set up in levels that are dependent on company goals.
For example, the first level might focus on how to understand where other people are coming from on a very basic level. It might utilize scenes from a break room, parking lot, or water cooler talk.
A second level could focus on how to communicate expectations. This might include situations where teams and team members have to react to new information, such as how to complete a project if there’s a budget cut or how to convey information about what bells and whistles need to go into the product.
A third level could involve dealing with how to give and receive criticism in the workplace. This could include how to tell team members that their expectations aren’t realistic, how to use criticism for empowerment rather than discouragement, and how to compromise on issues such as timelines or what is and isn’t possible for the product’s parameters.
Step Three: Ongoing online personal development for those who want it
Team members who successfully complete step two could be offered the opportunity to continue to hone their communication skills through company-tailored communication programs. These might include additional virtual reality games with more complicated training sessions or online hypnosis sessions to address workplace anxiety and communication barriers.
There could also be in-company certification programs with assignments and assessments and rewards for completion.
With the continued increases in revenues for tech, software and app development companies as a whole, it makes sense to invest in ways to enhance communication skills between teams. Using a company-specific online education program that targets specific communication problems within the company could create a solid foundation for smoother growth.