Workplace communication is vital to any company’s growth and success. Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup, once said: “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.” And, this starts with workplace communication. While that seems logical, many employers neglect this mindset. In fact, under-communication is one of the most common mistakes that companies make with their employees. For an employer that neglects the importance of communication, it first needs to understand the reasons why it is so crucial.
Why is Communication Crucial in the Workplace?
Communication is important in the workplace because it:
- contributes to building a more positive company culture;
- creates accountability;
- provides purpose;
- ensures workplace issues/concerns are resolved in a more timely manner;
- creates clearer expectations/avoids confusion; and
- minimizes disruptions.
Communication Modes and Methods
There are various forms, types, and methods of communication. The forms/types of communication include verbal, written, formal, informal, performance evaluations/plans/goals, etc. As for methods of communication, they include in-person; via telephone, email, instant messaging, inter-office memorandum, or written policies, processes, and procedures, etc.
Five Steps for Improving Communication with Your Team
Ensuring good communication with your team members enhances your team members’ satisfaction and fulfillment with their jobs. Below are six steps that are guaranteed to not only improve communication with your team, but also result in the company’s employee engagement and long-term success:
- Ensure Clear & Consistent Communication - Whether you have five or 500 employees, clear and consistent communication is crucial from an employment perspective. It is easy for small business owners to assume that everyone understands the plan. But, just because the business owner understands the plan does not necessarily mean that all team members do. And, team members do not think about the business or their job the same as a company’s business owner.
- Over-Communicate - When in doubt, over-communicate your goals, plans, and expectations. If you talk to your team members about something important and you feel they do not understand, it is a good practice to ask them to summarize what you said. This should help to reduce confusion, follow-up questions, and even conflicts that might that arise between co-workers, or between you and your team members.
- Address Conflicts – When conflicts come up, address them by having those difficult conversations as soon as possible. This will minimize employee turnover, improve employee engagement, and help your team to be more efficient, accountable, and profitable.
- Schedule Time - Schedule time for communication with team members. For instance, ensure that you schedule time where you are able to go over questions/concerns that your team might have with: (i) customer/client concerns/questions; (ii) operations/how to handle day-to-day issues that arise; as well as (iii) job-specific questions/issues.
- Short Communications on a Regular Basis at Designated Times - It is best for any company to designate certain days of the week and/or times during the workday to touch base and address questions or issues that arise. Train your employees on this and what works best for the business and your clients/customers.
- Information Sharing Via a Professional Social Network – To be proactive and to provide your employees with an outlet to share information, any company can implement a professional social network for its employees for better communication. Examples of these professional social networks include: Yammer, Bitrix24, Jive, and Podio. Workers using such networks have said they feel happier, more engaged, and better connected with their team members.
Not only do these steps to improve communication enhance your team members’ satisfaction and fulfillment with their jobs, but they also minimize disruptions and reduce exposure to various complaints/legal issues from team members.
Contact Nardone Consultants
Nardone HR & Management Consulting (“Nardone Consultants”) advises and represents employers in HR, management, and labor and employment law matters, including providing guidance to companies on communication and documentation matters to minimize disruptions and liability. When providing guidance to, and working with her clients, Tanya takes the time to get to know her client, and its goals and challenges and she is always mindful of these items. When it comes to HR or employment matters at any stage, contact Nardone Consultants if your company needs guidance or assistance with related communication and/or documentation.
This article provides an overview of workplace communication. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation.
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