A successful organization is built on effective communication. In the workplace, strong communication means all employees know what they are working towards, how they are contributing, and where they can go for support.
Good communication establishes trust, develops relationships, and cultivates a more innovative and productive environment. Poor communication generates confusion, mistakes, and leads to a lack of engagement. If communication breaks down, it can also lead to absenteeism and employee turnover whilst hindering company growth and revenue.
Thankfully, some strategies can be implemented to improve communication in the workplace, especially if an organization is committed to prioritizing communication as a business goal.
Why effective communication in the workplace is important
Effective communication in the workplace can be transformative for employees, teams, and organizations. The benefits of improving communication in the workplace include:
When instructions aren’t communicated correctly it can cause confusion and mistakes are more easily made. If a task isn’t clearly outlined it will take longer to complete and the results are often lower quality. Effective communication means tasks will be completed quickly, efficiently, and to a higher standard, reducing wasted time, effort, and resources.
If your employees are able to talk through what they are working on and share their thoughts and ideas openly, it allows their co-workers to build on these ideas, producing a more creative result based on collaboration. Improving communication in the workplace encourages innovation, inspires creativity, and promotes teamwork.
When something goes wrong, if information is communicated poorly around the workplace messages can be misunderstood leading to the spread of incorrect instructions. This can cause an issue to escalate further. With strategic communication processes in place, problems can be resolved quickly and prevented from happening in the future.
A positive company culture based on open and honest communication helps to bring employees together. Teams that bond and enjoy talking with one another are more likely to perform well, as they don’t want to let their colleagues down. Also, when employees communicate regularly with their team leaders, they feel more able to ask questions or share difficulties. This develops stronger teams and also increases employee loyalty.
How to improve communication in the workplace
Effective communication is an integral part of company success. Below you will find five ways to improve communication in the workplace:
1. Hold regular team meetings
To develop communication within an organization you need to bring people together on a regular basis. This could mean the entire team meeting once a week or groups participating in a morning check-in, you can tailor these sessions to suit your company and industry. Bringing employees together regularly gives them a chance to connect, discuss what they are working on, brainstorm, and explore opportunities for collaboration.
Regular team meetings give employees a chance to explain any challenges or hold-ups that they may be experiencing. This reduces the impact of any delays or issues and increases efficiency for the team as a whole. Team meetings are also a great opportunity for leaders to communicate any goals or targets to be met and where focus should be concentrated. It can be beneficial to allow time for non-work-related conversation as this can build a sense of community and improve morale.
2. Schedule one-on-one time
As well as regular team meetings, you need to put time in the diary for individual meetings with employees, preferably face-to-face. These could be weekly or monthly, but it’s important they are scheduled and followed up on to reassure employees that they have a dedicated time to talk and they are valued as an individual.
Speaking one-on-one frequently, allows employees to feel more relaxed and the conversation to flow more easily. Honest, open communication can mean employees are more capable of addressing uncomfortable topics and voicing their concerns, ensuring that you are aware of any potential issues before they escalate.
When you talk one-on-one you can discuss current priorities and workload, short and long-term targets, and any challenges or problems. This is also a favorable time to discuss their happiness and well-being at work on a more personal level. This increases employee engagement and job satisfaction.
3. Follow up meetings when appropriate
While it is important to hold regular meetings with your employees, we have all heard the phrase, “That meeting could have been an email.” You need to monitor how effective your meetings are over time and adjust your scheduling accordingly so you are not wasting time or frustrating your team members.
When necessary you should follow up meetings with notes, outcomes, and expectations. This allows you to clarify actions, assign tasks, include additional points that may have been missed, and outline the key takeaways. There are numerous project management tools available that can streamline this communication process such as Trello, Asana, and Teamwork. When you follow up on a meeting you ensure that everyone has a clear focus, promoting efficiency and clarity.
4. Encourage feedback
To improve communication in the workplace you need to ask for feedback. You cannot grow if you are stuck in the mindset that you know best and you are always right. Requesting feedback from your employees is one of the most effective ways to advance your business, but it’s not going to be easy to do in person.
One option is to invest in an agile pulse survey tool. These short, frequent surveys are confidential which means you'll be able to maintain communication with your employees whilst they disclose information they may not feel comfortable discussing face-to-face.
Once you gain feedback, you need to act on it. This shows your employees that you are listening and that their opinions are important to you - this will not only improve communication in the workplace but will also increase employee engagement and encourage a culture of listening.
5. Recognize great work
It’s important to know how to properly communicate a job well done. Employees need to know that you recognize their hard work and effort to make them feel valued and engaged. Shine a spotlight on the people and teams that are performing well and incentivize behaviors that achieve your company’s goals. Properly communicating employee appreciation ensures that employees are motivated, boosting morale and productivity.
If you can successfully improve communication in the workplace you can eliminate unnecessary problems, streamline processes, and promote better performance. Effective communication can increase productivity and creates strong teams that are equipped to overcome challenges together.