Any experienced specialist will tell you that communication is paramount if you want your business to take off, and that you’ll need to develop skills and strategies for implementing it across your firm. But why is communication important in the workplace, exactly? What can it do to help you, your team, and your business as a whole?
We’ve answered these questions below, and set out some professional advice on what you can do to ensure everyone you’ve employed is communicating as effectively as possible, with both colleagues and clients alike.
Why is Effective Communication Important in the Workplace?
Good communication is a vital element in the productivity and success of any business, and this means maintaining strong working relationships and minimising errors at all levels of your organisation wherever possible.
Encouraging better, more open communication in the workplace is also one of the most decisive things you can do as a leader. Spending the time and effort it takes to create clear lines of communication is how you build trust among your employees, boost your productivity and output, and leave your team with a greater sense of achievement and higher morale in general. Because it’s a two-way street, employees who understand why communication is important and manage it effectively with customers, colleagues, and supervisors are more likely to be valuable assets to your business as well, and often stand out from the crowd when applying for new positions.
Poor communication in a workplace can lead to your team becoming demotivated. In turn, this could result in them losing confidence in their own skills and in the company as a whole, which may even cause productivity and output to drop. Naturally, you want your business to succeed, so making sure you’ve got strong communication lines open to everyone is essential.
9 Reasons You Should Look at Communication
Here, we’ve listed nine of the key reasons to help you understand why effective internal communication is one of the best things you can set up for your business:
1. It gives everyone a voice
When your team members feel listened to and like they have a say, they’re more likely to feel satisfied in what they do and where they are. Making sure you’ve got an effective strategy of open communication in place should help anyone at any level in your company feel more comfortable when communicating needs with peers and superiors, whether they’ve had an idea they want to try out or have to make a complaint.
2. It mitigates conflict
By making sure your employees are able to confidently communicate their needs with others and to understand why others communicate in the way that they do, they’re less likely to misunderstand them, or to feel misunderstood by them. This is often a source of tension and conflict within businesses, which can be solved by communicating well and learning ways of understanding what other people are trying to say.
3. It’s good for team building
To build up the most effective team for your company, you’re going to need to make sure they can communicate and work together. Setting out strategies and a series of team building activities to practise and strengthen lines of communication should help this while giving a nice lift to employee morale and satisfaction.
4. It makes better managers
When managers are good at communicating openly and effectively with their teams, they’re better at managing them. It’s much easier to handle delegation, motivation, conflict management, and relationship building when you’re able to communicate as clearly as possible.
5. It increases employee engagement
Effective workplace communication is about connecting with your employees, and by communicating well with the people you’ve hired the more likely they are to understand and align with company goals and objectives. This should help them to engage more with what they’re doing.
6. It helps you to spot talent
By connecting with your team through better communication, you and your managers should be able to get a better understanding of your workers’ talents and skills.
7. It’s good for innovation
When your workers feel more comfortable communicating with others without fear of dismissal or ridicule, they’re more likely to bring new ideas to the table. Innovation is key to your business, and it relies a great deal on being able to openly communicate. So, if your organisation actively encourages employees to speak their minds, you are probably running an innovative business (more about this here).
8. It can help to promote better client relationships
If you’ve got a business with client-facing employees, making sure they know the ins and outs of effective communication could mean the difference between a satisfied customer and an unsatisfied one. A worker who knows how to communicate effectively with a customer will be able to understand their needs and wants, resolve conflicts, and help them to be receptive to new information.
9. It helps your company to grow
Communication can be both internal and external, but by having a strong internal communication process already in place, you’ll be making sure the message you’re delivering externally is kept consistent. It also means everyone involved is kept on the same page when setting up a growth project, including stakeholders, partners, and investors from outside your business.
What Counts as Effective Communication?
You’ll know that the communication strategy you’ve set up in your workplace is effective when the ideas and messages sent out to your employees are sent and received as you intended. You may be trying to get something across to your workers that you feel is straightforward, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they feel the same way. This is why it’s important to find a communication strategy that works best for everyone in your company.
How to Improve Communication in the Workplace
There are five key areas that firms can always look at, whenever they want to improve communication in the workplace. We’ve listed them here so that you can take a look and decide which ones your company could stand to enhance:
1. Define your goals and expectations
You and your management team should be able to deliver clear, achievable goals to both teams of employees and to individual workers. This means outlining exactly what any work or project involves and what you mean for them to do. It also means making sure they’re aware of the objectives of the project, the department, and your organisation as a whole.
2. Make sure your message is delivered clearly
Any message sent out should be clear and easily accessible to its given audience. You should always speak plainly and politely as well, as this encourages professionalism in the workplace and ensures any message can be delivered without confusion or causing any offence.
3. Choose your medium carefully
Once you know what you want to say to your team, you’ll have to decide on the best format for getting it across. Face-to-face communication is usually the preferred option, but (as recent events have proven) it isn’t always possible. Take some time to decide which method of communication will work best for your needs, whether it’s sending around an email or scheduling a Zoom call.
4. Show empathy and understanding to your employees
Listening to what other members of your team have to say and keeping an open mind demonstrates that you respect them, and can help you to learn more about any issues that there may be within your company that you might not know about otherwise. This can help you to address problems before they become too big with the levels of professionalism that they warrant, and can even assist in the creation of a more understanding company culture.
5. Keep everyone involved and the lines open
Keeping your lines of communication open at all times is important, and getting regular updates and progress reports from staff (especially those working remotely) helps to make this happen.
Choosing the Right Communication Tools
Ensuring you’ve got the right tools in your arsenal is crucial to making sure your strategy for better, more open communication even works in the first place. While talking to your employees face-to-face is the ideal medium, it won’t always be an option. Having some of the top communication tools ready and waiting to help on these occasions should mean your message will still be received:
Email is consistently voted the most popular form of communication and collaboration in business, even with the arrival of newer technologies. They’re fast, you can take time constructing them so they say exactly what you want them to say, and you’re less likely to misread a reply than you are to mishear something said over the phone.
According to statistics from The American Genius, over a third of the global population operates at least one email account, so you also know that your points of contact will probably have their own.
Having a reliable phone system in place in your office might seem old fashioned to some, but clients and customers will appreciate it (especially those who are older). It keeps every line of communication open, and by having a centralised number for people to call when they need a problem solved, you’ll be allowing them to get in touch on their own terms.
Phones can also mean voicemails, so customers can leave their names and an explanation of why they’re calling so your team can get back in touch with them to learn more as soon as possible.
3. Video conferencing
Just because an employee is away from the office, it doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate seeing other colleagues face-to-face or engaging in team meetings. Body language, facial expressions, and eye contact are all important parts of the communication experience and often help to make people feel more comfortable when talking to others. By setting up video conferencing in your firm, your employees can feel like they’re a full part of a meeting, no matter where they are.
If you have employees working remotely, sending them a message can be greatly beneficial alongside video chats and phone calls. It can help to recap what was said during a meeting and to make sure everything was understood, and it’s often quicker than typing out an email.
Developing Your Communication Skills
It’s even possible for the very highest members of an organisation to find communication difficult. A 2016 survey showed that over two thirds (69%) of managers found it difficult to communicate with their staff in general, and other significant percentages were flagged up in a number of key areas. We’ve listed these areas below, with their recorded percentages:
- Giving direct feedback or criticism about an employee’s performance, where the employee might respond badly (37%)
- Demonstrating vulnerability, e.g. revealing mistakes they’ve learned from (20%)
- Recognising employee achievements (20%)
- Delivering the “company line” in a genuine way, e.g. revealing a change in plans or company direction (20%)
- Giving clear directions (19%)
- Crediting others with having good ideas (16%)
- Speaking face-to-face rather than by email (16%)
These results suggest that a lack of communication is common across a range of workplaces, but it does not have to be this way. By developing your own skills and setting up a strategy that encourages professionalism and open communication within your own company, you’ll be putting yourself in a better position than many competitors while allowing your business to grow and flourish.
Do You Need a New Space for Communication?
If you’re just starting out as a new business and you need a professional space in a premium location to host meetings for potential partners and investors, or even if you’re fully established in your industry but you want to take your team out for a brainstorming session that gets everyone away from your workplace and into a luxurious new location for a while, contact us today.
Our meeting rooms will be set up with everything you need to plan a memorable and successful occasion when you book your time slot, with the most up-to-date audiovisual (AV) technology for quick video conferencing and delicious refreshments that will keep your team and your guests happy and talking just as you need. The rooms will even stay cost-effective for your budget at under £40 an hour, and our rates will stay transparent throughout your time with us.
Get in touch with us and let’s get a new line of communication and collaboration up and running in your workplace today.