7 Ways to improve communication in the workplace

Like any team, your employees are most effective when they feel trusted, respected and supported by colleagues from all levels within your organization. They also deliver their best work when their roles are well defined, and they have a clear understanding of what’s expected of them.
None of the above is possible without open communication.

Communication is fundamental to the success of any business. It creates a happier, more collaborative work environment. This, in turn, promotes greater employee engagement, productivity, and effectiveness.

Poor communication, on the other hand, leads to confusion and frustration. This not only impacts the way your employees relate to one another; it impacts the way they relate to your customers. The bottom line is this:

Good communication is good for business.

With that in mind, here are some tips and tools to help you improve communication in your workplace.

1. Get to know your employees.

Business doesn’t have to be all business. Employees are more motivated when working in a sociable environment.

When you take the time to get to know them personally, you’re better able to supervise and support them professionally. You discover their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, all which help you optimize their skills and interests.

Don’t hesitate to ask someone how their weekend was or ask after their partner, ideally by name. Find common, non-work-related interests you can chat about. Also, consider spending time with your coworkers outside your work environment. This can lead to more open, honest communication.

2. Connect with individuals regularly.

Scheduling one-on-one meetings gives employees an opportunity to express themselves in a private setting, free of judgement from others.

Encourage them to share ideas, voice any concerns, and discuss current priorities. You can also use this time to establish goals and ensure they have the time and resources they need to achieve them.

3. Schedule weekly team meetings.

Weekly meetings are a great way to encourage collaboration among team members. Invite individuals to share their goals for the week, present any challenges they may be facing, and communicate what, if any, support they may need from others to meet their goals.

Be sure to set aside some time for questions. Also, use the opportunity to share company news, project updates, and wins. Above all, these meetings should be a positive experience. If someone raises a contentious issue, acknowledge them and suggest picking the conversation up in a separate meeting.

4. Ask your employees for their opinion.

No two minds are alike so ask your team for feedback on your ideas. This will help them feel integral to your team while also bringing new and potentially valuable perspectives to the table.

For employee input on sensitive matters, consider creating a suggestion box. This will give your team the ability to submit comments anonymously.

5. Nurture a team spirit.

Nobody wants to work in an oppressive environment. We all thrive better in one that makes us feel valued and appreciated. Team spirit promotes engagement, inspires productivity, encourages employees to speak more positively about your organization, and decreases employee turnaround.

Create opportunities for your employees to get to know one another better – both personally and professionally. This will promote respect between team members, a stronger sense of camaraderie, and the team spirit that fosters business success.

6. Create a relaxation zone.

Be it a lounge room, game room, or outdoor terrace, designate a physical space where employees can relax and let their guard down a little. Unlike a boardroom, this kind of space helps set a tone where people can feel more comfortable asking questions and expressing their opinions.

7. Simplify communication by integrating mobile technologies.

These days, almost everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Take advantage of these devices to enable your team to maintain contact while they’re out in the field.

Field data collection apps like Coral Collect allow real-time data collection. This technology makes it easy for employees to communicate important information in a timely manner and promotes collaborative work at all levels of the company.

Communicate. Collaborate. Succeed.

When communication is strong, everyone thrives, as does your bottom line. Give these suggestions a try and see what a difference they make. To get started with Coral Collect, visit the signup page now.

Why is Innovation Important in Business and How to Encourage it

The key to business success is being able to come up with new ideas to optimize operations as well as product and service developments.
Innovation in areas such as data collection and processing makes it possible to increase the productivity and profitability of companies, to maximize their ROI, and to allow them to access new markets.

In the context of global competition and technological progress, the need to innovate is greater than ever.

Innovation does not necessarily refer to major changes or disruptive technologies that turn the world upside down. It can simply mean small improvements in any area of ​​your business.

What is innovation and how to implement it?

Innovation means bringing something new to your business. It could be:

  • Improving or replacing processes to increase efficiency and productivity.
  • Developing new and improved products and services to meet consumer demands or needs.
  • Adding value to existing products and services to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How to encourage innovation in your business?

There are several resources that you can use to generate innovations for your business. All employees can participate in or support the process of coming up with new innovations for the company they work in.

  • For this to happen, you need to make sure that there are always easy ways for employees to provide ideas. Suggestion boxes or brainstorming meetings are all good ways to achieve this.
  • Create a favorable atmosphere in which people can express their ideas freely.
  • Encourage informed risk taking and experimentation.
  • Emphasize that people at all levels of the business share responsibility for innovation, so that everyone feels involved in the advancement of the business.
  • Reward innovation and celebrate success.

What can innovation do for your business?

There are many ways in which innovation can help your business stand out from the competition. The following are some of the primary ways in which innovation can help you.

1. Help you stay connected to your customers

Innovation around your products and services involves listening to your customers. If you don’t listen to them and ask them relevant questions, you won’t be able to identify and meet their real needs. Being able to change and adapt the ways in which you serve your customers will help keep them engaged.

2. Solve your problems

Innovation can help you to solve problems.

When businesses are not doing well, the answer is not to wait for things to change on their own.

You need to understand and analyze what needs to be changed and then implement innovations to achieve it.

Innovation can also allow you to anticipate and prepare for potential problems or unforeseen events.

3. Innovation can make your business more efficient

Innovation enables your business to optimize management and business processes to run more efficiently.

Improving your processes through innovation will improve your productivity and competitiveness, which in turn will have an impact on your profitability.

4. Find your own business path

Innovation is not about copying your competition. Rather, it’s about producing and delivering something that your competition cannot compete with. The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) sets your business apart from others.

5. Respond effectively to unforeseen events

Being innovative means being prepared to think and act differently. It is also important to anticipate and resolve challenges and respond to unforeseen events and external problems by quickly and efficiently implementing creative and innovative solutions.

6. Take advantage of technology

Advances in digitization have made it easier to connect and share information between multiple digital devices.

Innovations in the world of science and technology allow us to accomplish more than we could ever have dreamed of years ago. Innovative entrepreneurs use the Internet of Things to grow their businesses. Mobile devices, cloud computing, social media, and software application development are powerful tools for improving business engagement, competitiveness and growth.

Conclusion

Change can be scary. Don’t let your fear hold you back.

Innovation will help you save time, optimize your resources, and give you a competitive edge in the market. Innovation means learning and growing at the same time.

One way in which you can innovate right now is by optimizing and streamlining your data collection in the field by using the Coral Collect app for free.

Coral Collect comes with the following features out of the box:

  • Digital form creation with its easy-to-use online form builder
  • An interface to fill out forms in the field
  • An intuitive dashboard interface to visualize and export data

Check out the Coral Collect intro video.

You can also find out more about Coral Collect by contacting the Coral team.

5 ways to increase the productivity of your business

How can your business accomplish more with its current staff?
By optimizing the resources you already have and incorporating new systems that help you get more tasks accomplished in less time, you can substantially boost the productivity of your business – and greater productivity leads to greater profit.

Here are five productivity tips to help you run a more profitable business.

1. Automate your systems

How much time do you and your staff spend managing company information? For example, are you still using manual data collection methods? Imagine if you could instead use all of those hours to set your company apart from your competition and drive your profits up.

Field data collection software and similar automation systems help buy you that time. By migrating to a digital system, you take an essential step towards improving your operating efficiency. Plus, you and your team will be able to spend more time using your unique skill sets to do the jobs you were hired to do, instead of performing tedious tasks that can easily be handled without human resources, which promotes company morale.

2. Be flexible

Creating a happy workplace is good for business. In fact, a study conducted by Harvard University/MIT found that happy employees are absent less often, get sick less often, and are nine times as loyal, 31% more productive, and 55% more creative – all of which leads to greater productivity.

Now, more than ever, employees value their freedom. Offering flexible working hours, remote work options, and more vacation time are three ways you can demonstrate your interest in their happiness while improve efficiency.

3. Use project management software

Project management software systems enable you to monitor employee files and workloads.  They also facilitate communication, making it easier for you to connect with team members regularly and effectively so that you can stay on top of projects, individual tasks, and long-term goals.

Of course, that’s not to suggest that you should never meet in person. Even with an active project management software system in place, you’ll want to bring your team together a couple of times a week to discuss tasks and challenges and find effective solutions in the event unforeseen circumstances arise.

4. Support employee growth

Your employees are your most valuable asset. Treat them as such and they will each contribute to the success of your business in their own unique ways. Neglect them, however, and the opposite will be true.

As human beings, we tend to be far more productive when we are truly engaged in what we are doing. How can you get your employees to engage more? By investing your company’s time and resources in their personal and professional development.

When you give your staff the tools to grow and succeed professionally, you demonstrate through your actions that they are an important part of your organization. This makes them feel more valued, which is key to employee retention.

5. Provide an uplifting work environment

Nothing kills creativity and motivation quite like a soulless office. Look around your workspace. Is it dull, dark, and uninspiring? If so, it’s probably time for a facelift.

Look for ways to make it bright, airy, colorful and cheerful. Inject some personality into your space. You’ll be amazed at the influence a happy work environment can have on employee morale, and ultimately, productivity and profitability.

What steps will you take to increase productivity?

Implementing workflow software, taking steps to improve morale, and offering employee development initiatives are just a few ways that you can create a happier team that’s ready to embrace any project of any size with enthusiasm and engagement.

If you’re interested in implementing a process automation system to support data collection operations in the field, reach out to Coral. We’re here to help.

7 Steps to a Successful Pilot Project

Are you planning to integrate a new technology solution into your workflow?
If so, you should first make sure that you know what your real needs are, and then identify the expected benefits you would like to achieve. Before investing in any technology solution, you will also need to do your research on the pros and cons of the solutions available on the market, talk to your stakeholders, and consider your options to narrow down your choices.
In this article, we examine how running a pilot project will allow you to test various aspects of the solution on a small scale so as to ensure that you make an informed decision.

How to test new solutions for your business?

In order to test potential new solutions for your business, it is important that you follow a proven sequence of steps to ensure that you get the best possible results:

1. Define what you are testing

Defining the content and parameters of the tests is the most essential step to take before starting the pilot project.Take the following steps to identify them:

  • Make a comprehensive list of what you want to test.
  • Identify what you don’t want to test.
  • Make sure you have a set of parameters for success and expected results in mind.

2. Identify your goals

Define clear objectives for the new solution you would like to implement. You have to know what you want to accomplish before you can go about working towards it.

Keep these goals in mind throughout the pilot and find a way to measure them at the end.

3. Create your timelines

Specify the length of the period during which you will conduct the tests.

Then allocate the necessary time and resources according to the amount of time you have determined for the project.

4. Choose an appropriate team

Pick an enthusiastic team that feels comfortable working with the technology that you intend to test.

Once your team has been assembled, train them throughout the duration of the program to help participants become familiar with the technology and tools you have chosen for your pilot project.

5. Configure the right metrics

Use data to measure and evaluate performance against defined goals and expected results

Data is essential for making informed decisions. With good data, you can convince stakeholders of the effectiveness of the desired solution.

6. Analyze your data

Analyzing your data will help determine whether you have achieved your goals.

This will tell you until what point the test of the new solution was successful and whether it should be adopted permanently or if you need to find an alternative.

7. Get feedback on the pilot project

Give your team the opportunity to share their feedback relating to experiences they had during the pilot project.

Bear in mind that the pilot project is a trial-and-error test. As such, its primary purpose is to find out what worked and what did not during the testing phase.

Obtain feedback from your team throughout the process to assess whether the new technology will serve the intended purposes or not.

Another important step is to conduct group discussions, surveys and evaluations at the end of the pilot project to determine what the experiences of the various participants were.

Conclusion

Pilot projects are a great way to test a new idea or technology and make sure it meets your needs and fits well into your workflow. If you are an organization involved in field data collection, carry out your pilot project easily and for free with Coral Collect!

Coral Collect is considered by many to be one of the best field data collection apps and includes the following features (among others):

1. Easy creation of digital forms with the Coral Collect online form builder

2. Easy filling out of forms while collecting data in the field

3. Simple viewing and exporting of data thanks to the intuitive dashboard.

To find out more about Coral Collect, feel free to check out the introductory video here.

You can also sign up directly or contact one of the Coral support staff by heading over to the Coral Collect signup page .

5 steps you can take to improve your data security today

In today’s digital world, data rules. No matter what data collection tools your organization is using to gather data, you need to protect what you collect. Each and every day, your organization gathers, manages, and shares large quantities of data. From technical and commercial business information to customer contact details and banking specifics, data is fundamental to your business. In light of this, data security needs to be a top priority.

One data security breach is enough to wreak havoc in the form of fraud, identity theft, the disclosure of trade secrets, and more. Collateral damage aside, think about the costly and time-consuming task of replacing data. Worse yet, consider the fact that your data may in fact be irreplaceable.

And what about legal costs? It’s common knowledge that security breaches often lead to lawsuits. Last but not least, lose your customers’ data and you’re sure to lose their trust.

The bottom line is this: compromise your data and you compromise the survival of your business. With this in mind, here are some security mechanisms and procedures you can implement to better protect your business data and that of your valued customers.

1. Prevent unauthorized access to your data.

Cyber bullies are constantly finding new ways to outsmart firewalls, passwords, antivirus software, and other security measures. That said, it’s not just hackers you have to worry about. Your employees are human, and human negligence poses as much of a threat to your data security as do hackers.

To help prevent unauthorized access to your corporate applications and/or data and  protect your business against physical and cyber threats:

  • Encrypt your data. This is the most effective way to prevent unauthorized users from accessing information stored within your network.
  • Make sure you update your company software regularly.
  • Protect all company devices with passwords and change passwords regularly.
  • If an employee leaves, change the passwords to all applications they had access to immediately. (e.g. CRM, messaging, software, and database passwords.)
  • Always use two-factor authentication to validate authorized users during login.
  • Implement role-based access controls (RBAC). RBAC allows you to determine who can access what type of data and information based on their specific role. Essentially, you can limit employee access to only the information required for them to perform their duties effectively.

2. Identify data security threats.

To avoid having to deal with damage control tomorrow, identify your security threats today. Here are some steps you can take to assess any defects and/or vulnerabilities in your data security system:

  • Carry out a risk assessment. This will help you understand what your data security system looks like from an attacker’s perspective.
  • Undertake a vulnerability assessment to uncover any security weaknesses in your information system.
  • Conduct a safety assessment.

3. Protect your data.

As obvious as this may seem, not all organizations take sufficient measures to protect their data. If your computer system fails, your data could be damaged or lost. If your company is hacked, your data could be held at ransom by cyber criminals. To protect your data against either of these possibilities:

  • Make sure you backup your company data externally – either on the cloud or on a physical back-up drive. This is the only way you’ll be able to recover losses in the event your system fails or undergoes an attack.
  • Backup your important data and information regularly – ideally every 24 hours; once per week at the very least.

4. Use spam filters.

If one employee accidentally opens a fraudulent email, your entire network could be compromised. Spam filters help protect your employees and networks against viruses that could infiltrate your company via spam and phishing emails.

5. Educate your staff.

As mentioned above, employee negligence poses as much of a threat to your data security as do cyber attackers. Training staff around password management, deceptive emails, suspicious online activities, and best cybersecurity practices, reinforces their responsibilities around network access. This, in turn, helps minimize negligence.

At Coral, we’re in the business of helping businesses collect, save, and share company data with ease. We believe in the value of data and hope you’ll consider implementing some of the data security recommendations shared here. Your business and your customers depend on it.

How to reduce your administrative costs with a field data collection application?

Individually, the administrative costs associated with the use of paper in data management are quite low. On the other hand, if we accumulate them and take into account their impact on productivity, they can become quite substantial.

To increase your profits, you should try to reduce your administrative costs instead of reducing operational expenses.

Today we are going to talk about how to reduce your administrative costs in the day-to-day activities of collecting data in the field. Read on to find out more.

How to reduce your administrative costs with digital forms

As digital technology becomes increasingly ubiquitous, many organizations still use paper forms. However, the advantages of the switch to digital far exceed those of paper. Here are some of the advantages of using digital solutions for data collection in the field:

No more printing and storage costs

Digital form = no paper – so no more printing and paper storage.

Eliminate wasted resources

Field teams fill out paper forms and hand these documents back to the office for manual processing and analysis. This costs your business time and can lead to delays.

Eliminate Manual Data Entry

A digital forms management solution can help you entirely remove the manual data entry process from your information capture process.

Standardize data capture

With digital forms, you can ensure that all forms used in your business are completed the way you want them to be. This will facilitate analysis and storage. When you standardize the data capture process, you automatically improve efficiency and can ensure that the information provided is correct. The use of paper forms makes it difficult to standardize the data collection and entry process. Lack of standardization in data collection complicates the process of entering data into the system and requires time-consuming manual intervention.

Improve data accuracy

You can customize exactly how you want users to interact with your forms to ensure the reliability of the data entered.

Save time

You can directly extract the data you have collected to your databases and save time by using using the Coral Collect app.

Conclusion

Paper forms are cumbersome, cost money to store and print, and can easily be lost or damaged. Paper forms can also be filled out incorrectly, and incorrect data can slow down the project by blocking your workflow and affecting your productivity levels.

Whether you are a small, medium-sized or large business, if your current forms management practices are outdated, inefficient, or expensive, you are missing out on the opportunity to grow your business and maximize productivity by going digital.

With Coral Collect, you can easily:

  • Easily create digital forms with the Coral Collect online form builder.
  • Fill out forms in the field with the Coral Collect mobile form builder.
  • View and export data on the intuitive Coral Collect dashboard.

To find out more about Coral Collect, feel free to contact one of our support staff or watch our intro video here.

To maximize your profits by saving time and avoiding unnecessary errors, sign up for Coral Collect now by heading over to our sign-up page.