As a company, you are always looking for ways to lower conflict, boost productivity, increase employee engagement and morale, eliminate misunderstandings, and save time. But how can you accomplish all of this? It sounds incredibly challenging, but it’s not as difficult as it seems. The answer, you ask? Really good communication in the workplace.
Statistics show that 57% of employees don’t receive clear enough directions and 69% of managers just don’t feel comfortable communicating with their team. Add onto that, 57% of all projects fail because of a communication breakdown.
It’s no doubt that effective and ongoing communication in the workplace is a major concern, but what exactly do we mean by communication in the workplace and how to increase communication in the workplace?
What is communication in the workplace?
Exchanging information and ideas, both verbal and non-verbal, is known as workplace communication. And when it’s done right, it’s a clear indicator of strong company culture.
Constantly improving communication in the workplace is a top task that doesn’t just get crossed off, instead, it’s woven into the heart of the company. Effective communication helps to avoid confusion, provides a purpose, boosts productivity, keeps everyone aligned, creates accountability, and also fosters a positive and healthy company culture.
6 key reasons you need effective communication in the workplace:
1. Increase productivity.
When communication is flowing smoothly, nothing has to wait until the next day to get done. Your company should run as smoothly as a Swiss knife because all the proper procedures are clearly laid out and each employee as the right tools to complete the task at hand. When an employee needs an answer or is stuck, they should instantly be able to get an answer. If you think that phone calls are the answer to this problem, you should think again.
2. Nothing will slip between the cracks.
If you want to avoid misunderstandings or information slipping through the cracks, you have to have good communication in the workplace. What do we mean? You should have the right channels for each type of data and message sent, everything should be measured, and you must know who read and received the data and who didn’t. If this is a task, you should close the loop and get immediate verification that it’s done so nothing is on an open loop.
3. Ability to deal with emergencies.
Your company needs to be able to handle emergencies of all sorts. Such as a sexual harassment case, employees need to know how to report a case. Or if you’re a retail store manager with a wet floor and a customer slips and falls, you need to know the right channel of how to handle the situation. You must have a communication route in place, like reports so an immediate response is sent to all relevant parties (for example, if a customer videos a manager yelling at an employee, PR gets this immediately and handles it.) Be sure to use tech tools like email, an employee app, or your phone.
Communication is key during crisis mode
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There are also other emergencies you need to handle as well, such as man-made disasters, workplace violence, cyber-attack, or a global pandemic like COVID-19. By being able to keep everyone on the same page, distribute real-time information, manage stress levels, and more, you help cushion any serious blowback.
4. Ability to narrow the gap between employees and management.
If you can’t reach all employees, there is a huge gap in communication in the workplace. Even simple stuff, like announcing a new manager or sharing amazing feedback from a customer – everyone should be aware. On the other hand, employees need to be able to communicate feedback to managers too. Ask yourself: Can I reach all my employees in 10 minutes? How do I know everyone read the message? How long will it take to receive data from an employee – more than a day?
5. Include your remote workers.
With more and more jobs shifting to remote work, your communication efforts and channels must also follow suit. Especially considering a Harvard study of 1,100 employees reported many remote workers often “feel left out and shunned from their company, coworkers, and management”.
By including your remote workers in your communication, you help to improve engagement, productivity, and team cohesion on all levels.
6. Give everyone a voice.
Don’t just get ideas or feedback from managers, include employees that on the ground, they know the customers and product better than anyone else. So make sure you give them the platform to offer their opinion that is accessible all the time. Offer employees a weekly survey because the more frequent the survey, the more likely you are to boost satisfaction and engagement. Also, have a suggestion box that’s always accessible and be sure to review what your employees wrote.
When you have effective and good communication in the workplace, you’ll promote a positive atmosphere, there will be more understanding on both sides and team spirit gets a boost. As you effectively increase communication, success surely follows. However, remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. If you stick with it, you will reap the benefits in the long run.
How can you improve communication in the workplace?
Define goals and expectations.
Map all communication channels and information flow in the organization, understand where the bottlenecks are and where there is unstructured information flow Additionally, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page, so when you identify and clarify what the common goals are, you will have a large team that is working on delivering said goal. It’s important to have everyone in the same mindset.
Use the right software.
Make sure you have the right software to support all channels. Email and Skype are the right solutions if your employees sit behind a desk a majority of the day. But if you have a majority of deskless and mobile employees, you need an employee app to be able to engage them instantly.
Make sure that every process has the right tools and procedures in place.
And make sure that it’s accessible for everyone – especially new employees so they can learn about the company and how it operates.
Listen to your employees & offer feedback.
Use surveys, have a private suggestion box, give one-on-one feedback, offer positive feedback, have open meetings, etc. Employees need to feel valued and heard otherwise you will only have a high turnover rate year in, year out. In fact, Gallup proves that employees don’t get enough feedback. You may think it’s enough, but your team will care to disagree.
Encourage two-way communication.
Going off the last point, it’s important to listen to your employees but don’t just stop there. Allow your team to feel empowered by being comfortable enough to approach you with their concerns, their triumphs, their ideas, and everything in-between.
Organize team-building games and activities
Gallup reported that companies with engaged employees tend to earn 2.5X more revenue. Organizing weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly team-building games can really boost productivity and engagement. However, make sure to include your in-house and remote workers in these games.
Make sure the delivery method you choose is based on the medium most effective way to effectively and efficiently convey the meaning of the message.
Now you know how important communication is in the workplace and how you can improve it, but what tool do you need to actually bring it to life? The answer is so simple…with an employee app!
An employee app can help improve communication in the workplace – how?
Accessible anywhere and everywhere, plus it’s available to all your employees as everyone has a mobile phone in today’s day and age.
When you send an update or a message through the employee app, your employees get it instantly. From our experience, we see that 95% of users engage with a push notification within the first hour. You don’t need to wait until a meeting or the next day to share vital information. And with most employee apps, you can see who read your message and who didn’t so you’re not left wondering if everyone got the memo.
Chat helps boost internal communication.
Start a group conversation or send a private message. By using a chat app, you are creating a separation in work and private communication.
Deliver messages to the right group
Send updates quickly and easily to a filtered group. Not everyone needs to know everything that’s happening because maybe it’s not relevant to them. Send an update to a specific location or department – these parameters are set in an employee’s profile on the app.
In-app directory is gold
Store the employee directory on the employee app. No one wants to spend time manually adding phone numbers to their personal phone, it’s tedious! Especially if you need to edit and update information as people get promoted. And what if someone leaves the company? Now you have to look them up and delete their contact information. By using an employee directory software that’s already available on the app, employees can quickly and easily find who they’re looking for just by searching by name, job title, location, department, and so on. Plus, employees don’t need to waste time adding or removing contacts, when the information is updated on the admin dashboard, everyone’s app is automatically updated to reflect the change.
Create a structure
Add workflows/digital forms to structure information flow and employee needs. For instance, if an employee needs a new uniform, they can fill out a form instead of filling out a paper form that takes months to process or sending an email that gets lost in the chain. A signature, GPS location, and pictures can all be added to the digital forms to ensure that nothing gets missed.
Create your own surveys – either a daily, weekly or annual survey can make all the difference. You want to know how happy your employees are, but also where their dedication lies. When employees are engaged, happy, and dedicated to the company, they will go above and beyond.
Additionally, a suggestion box should be private and accessible at all times from anywhere. This way your employees can always send in their thoughts about the company, product, how to improve customer satisfaction, and so on. They are far more likely to engage in writing their suggestions if it’s easily accessible.
Using an employee app allows you to act quickly as all data is visual and actionable. If you recognize an issue, you don’t need to wait months to receive the data, instead see what’s going on in real-time. Not enough people finished reading their training material? Send them a push notification to remind them to do so. A high volume of wet floor hazards are coming in? Look into why that is!
Wrapping up our guide on communication in the workplace
The key to long-term success rests on effective communication in the workplace. Above we outlined how to increase communication in the workplace and detailed recommendations to improve communication in the workplace. By incorporating everything you’ve learned here, you will be able to communicate like a pro. And remember, communication can only be effective if it’s ongoing.