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5 Ways To Improve Communication at Work

7 minute read

An Ark Group survey amongst CEO’s cited effective internal communication as the critical factor by almost 95% of the CEO’s surveyed. However, only 22% thought their own company’s internal communication was all that effective...

A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of $62.4 million per year as a result of faulty internal communication, reported David Grossman in his book, The Cost of Poor Communications.

Not only do multinationals pay the cost for poor communication, but also all businesses, big or small.

Effective workplace communication is the single, most important driver of employee commitment. It’s also a big challenge, as workforces are rapidly becoming more dispersed and diverse. In this article, we’ll share our thoughts on how to improve your internal communication.

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Benefits of good communication in the workplace

Good communication is essential for engagement and productivity at all levels of an organization. Employers who invest time and energy in clear communication ultimately build trust among employees. And employees who communicate effectively with colleagues, managers and customers are valuable assets for any company.

Effective workplace communication brings many benefits to an organization. To name just a few:

Increases employee engagement

Efficient communication allows you to understand the needs and motivation of your employees better. It improves the connection between colleagues and makes for a more satisfying work environment. And it also gives you a greater understanding of employees’ talents, skills and training needs.

Helps build a positive workplace culture

One of the benefits of good communication is that it mitigates conflicts. Conflict often comes down to misunderstanding or a feeling of being misunderstood. If employees feel their needs are not being sufficed or if they feel disrespected, this will lead to tension. Teams that know how to communicate will be more relaxed and perform better.

Improves customer relationships

When your frontline workers can communicate more effectively, they will be better at understanding customers’ needs, resolve conflicts and present information in a more convincing way.

Increases performance and productivity

Besides boosting employee engagement, communication can also help nurture a more productive and talented workforce in other ways. In a company culture focused on connection, managers will understand the talents and skills of their team better. Effective communication also creates a safe workplace for people to think out of the box and express their ideas. It stimulates employees to take ownership of projects and results in more creative problem-solving.

Why is workplace communication often less effective?

Poor communication in the workplace will inevitably lead to confused and less motivated employees. Here are some common reasons why internal communication is not always as effective as it could be.

The communication is not personalized.

Employees have grown accustomed to personalized, on-demand content, and they expect this on the job as well. Language and cultural barriers can also play a role, especially in the diverse workforce of today.

Communication lacks a plan.

If your employees experience communication as incoherent, it will, undoubtedly, restrict your attempts to build the kind of connection you aspire to have.

The communication is not interactive.

Good communication is always a dialogue. Employers and managers who do lots of sending, but little listening, miss the point.

The communication is not well-timed.

Internal communication is a strategic tool and must be utilized accordingly. That means: frequently and with a well-defined goal in mind. A good balance is required, though. The information must be communicated as and when required, without overdoing it.

The communication doesn’t include the whole workforce.

Effective interaction with frontline staff and non-desk workers asks for a different approach and special tools.

The communication is dull or difficult.

In order to get the message through, the first requisite is that people actually read it. If your communication is not clear and concise, visually unattractive or of little interest for the receiver, you’ll have to be a great optimist to expect comprehension and connection.

How can you improve your internal communication? 5 tips

Exchanging information with a team member over the desk is not all that difficult, but today most employees don’t sit at a desk. They work on factory floors or wait at tables. They sit at cash registers or drive trucks. That makes it more challenging to connect with them and asks for new communication tools. Here are five ways to improve communication with your entire workforce.

1. Consider using an employee communication app

A communication app is the best way to reach all your employees, including frontline and non-desk workers. It allows you to convey all kinds of information in an easily accessible and attractive way, tailored to your company brand. With this simple, yet comprehensive tool, you can target and personalize your messages and gather feedback about the effectiveness of your communication.

2. Build a communication-friendly culture

Not only should you provide your team with the right communication tools, but also with a safe environment, where speaking up about feelings, sharing ideas, and broaching difficult topics is accepted and stimulated. Read more about the importance of the company culture for employee engagement in Employee Motivation: The Importance of Core Values.

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3. Keep the flow going

A strategic approach to internal communication asks for a constant flow of information and dialogue. For example: as a manager, instead of annual reviews, try to find time for monthly one-on-ones to keep up to date with your team members’ workload and job satisfaction. Ask them how they’re doing and what they need from you. On the other hand, know when “less is more”. Don’t bury your employees under an avalanche of information. What you want to tell them, or ask them, should always be relevant for the receiver.

4. Ask for feedback

Communication should never be solely top-down or one way. Always give your employees the possibility to offer their opinions. And talking about feedback, provide the option to respond anonymously. Employees are often hesitant to share critical or negative feedback with their managers.

5. Introduce communication training

With the right techniques, it becomes easier for your employees to build relationships, have tough talks, and tackle problems as a team. Hiring a communication trainer is one way to help your workforce communicate more effectively and, as a result, cooperate and perform better.

Summing it up

We can all agree that good workplace communication is essential for the functioning and performance of any organization. Improving internal communication is, therefore, a priority for employers and managers. One of the biggest challenges is finding ways to reach an ever more diverse and dispersed workforce. However, with the right tools, you can create a workplace culture where everyone is kept up to date and can feel heard and connected.

For more information on building more lasting and loyal relationships with your employees, check out this research study!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

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