Why is communication in the workplace important?
Communication in the workplace is important for companies to work efficiently with productive and happy employees. Hey, the same can be said about every facet of life! For example, if I don’t communicate clearly with my 18 month old son (beyond the verbal), I have a tantrum on my hands and nobody wins.
With proper communication in the workplace, employees can communicate up and down a company’s organisational chain with clarity, efficiency and confidence. Investing in communication education and providing the latest technology to facilitate communication will bring with it improved productivity, performance and overall morale improvements. Empowering your employees to be good communicators in the workplace helps them be valuable assets to a company. On the flip side, poor communication in the workplace will in time lead to non-motivated staff that question their confidence in the business and their own ability.
In summary, why is communication so important in the workplace?
- Communication avoids confusion
- And it provides purpose
- It builds a positive company culture
- And it creates accountability
How to improve communication in the workplace – Guidelines for improving effectiveness
Right, so we have established that good communication is key to company performance and employee moral. With that in mind, how can we possibly improve communication in the workplace? The good news: there is technology that can help. But like all technology it isn’t a magic wand that fixes everything, so driving change is in your hands. Here are some pointers.
1. Practice authentic communication
Workplace communications can often feel rehearsed, repeated, forced. And this makes them far less effective and meaningful. To avoid this and practice authentic communication, there is a simple solve – be yourself! Ensure that what you are saying comes from a place of authenticity.
If you are a business owner or an HR leader within your business, using authentic communication is key to building a level of comfort for others on your team. You will find that it creates an environment that feels emotionally safe for employees to also be authentic and to confidently communicate their own perspectives . Once that authenticity seed is planted, everything from building solid relationships to having difficult conversations becomes just a little bit easier.
If you want your employees to be real with you, lead by example.
2. Create a communication-friendly culture
Make sure your workplace is communication-friendly on a day-to-day basis by setting up your team up with technology platforms that encourage communication, even when working remotely. Especially when working remotely! Apps like Slack and Zoom are great for staying connected with remote employees and remove the accessibility and collaboration barriers you get with email. Worknice also has an announcement and direct messaging tool (think a light version of slack or micros teams) right out of the box that integrates culture and communication right into our HRIS platform.
To render a culture communication-friendly all around, set up groups and channels in these communication tools. At Worknice for example, we have a communication channel called ’dogs’, which encourages conversation about anything to do with dogs.
3. Keep workplace communication constant
As a manager, it’s your role to establish a constant flow of communication with your team. Now I know constant doesn’t specific frequency, so no cheating and relying on annual reviews to discuss performance and goals with your employees. It needs to be more regular than that. Find time for monthly one-on-ones to keep up to date with your employees’ workload, how they’re feeling, and what they might need from you to best contribute to the team or overcome things that are holding them back..These regular communication touch points will help build a personal relationship with each employee and keep employees engaged when working remote. You’d be surprised how much your employees have to say that they might not bring up if you didn’t initiate these slotted talking times.
4. Hold weekly team meetings
In addition to monthly one-on-one meetings, schedule the same sort of initiative but for the whole team in an open forum. Particularly in eventful times that can cause distractions and stress, having more frequent meetings important to keep teams working towards their goals, objectives, and any shift in strategies.
Weekly team meetings also contribute to culture. Meeting in an open forum makes it easier to communicate any hot topics, passion projects, thoughts, feelings or concerns. In this kind of environment, the whole team will not only hear what you are saying, they will also see and feel it as well as being able to voice their opinion in response.
5. Offer a platform for anonymous feedback
The option for anonymous feedback is crucial in creating effective workplace communication. Sometimes, things just can’t be said without creating friction or embarrassment, and above all there is an element of fear stops it from being said at all. Without a safe place to share feedback, employees won’t share their thoughts because they are hesitant about making a complaint, or divulging their feelings openly.
There are many examples of anonymous feedback that provide insights to management. Is there a bad egg in the workforce that is causing cultural and productivity problems, or has an employee witnessed theft of company property or stock? Without anonymous feedback, this information works itself up to management slowly or not at all.
6. Make time for non-work related discussion
Employees are more than just workers. They’re people with big life plans, life skills, families, hobbies and interesting stories. Effective workplace communication needs to include topics beyond work so peers and managers develop positive relationships and team dynamics. Facilitating non-work related discussion is really quite easy if you set the right foundations. At Worknice we build socialiation into our culture in the form of activities and events. Table tennis for example is a great activity that brings people together to chat about the weekend. And every Friday, we routinely have lunch away from the office to talk things not-shop.
7. Listen – and ask for employee feedback
One of the most essential and meaningful elements of communication is listening. You’ve head it from your mother, “you have two ears and only one mouth for a reason”.
It can be easy as a manager to fall into the trap of offering one-directional advice. When it comes communication in the workplace do’s and dont’s, I’m sure everyone knows it should not be solely top-down or one way. Asking for advice or feedback gives your employees more space to give honest and transparent feedback. Plus, it’s a clear indicator that you care too.
Asking for feedback in today’s world has never been easier. Leverage technology to facilitate simple and fast feedback in the office. This enables you to ask more questions, more often. The idea is to keep lines of communication open and remove any hierarchical barriers. For instance at Worknice we ask about kitchen cleanliness, current stress levels, and even the taste of coffee we supply. (Hey, a bad morning coffee can put anyone in a bad mood for the rest of the day. And we do it using eNPS. It takes 2 seconds for employees to provide feedback, but gives management crucial feedback and insights.