Communication plays a vital element in every aspect of our lives, from where we live to where we work. According to a study by Robert Half, it is more important than ever that managers demonstrate and encourage effective workplace communication.
Whether you are a manager in a large corporation or a small business, effective communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong, lasting work relationships.
What is workplace communication?
Let’s go back to basics. It is important to define what effective workplace communication is – and understand what it is not.
Rather than talking at someone or delivering a directive, try to view workplace communication as a dialogue. Healthy workplace communication should always be a conversation where both parties actively listen and reach an understanding.
Millennials and Gen Z in particular find this encouraging as they look for much more feedback from their managers as opposed to generations before them.
Why it matters:
Like most humans, employees want to feel they are being listened to and valued. Employers who invest time and energy into delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build trust, leading to an increase in productivity. A recent survey by Robert Half highlights that effective communication can help promote team building, reduce absenteeism and boost morale.
When poor communication is applied, this can result in conflict, unmotivated staff and a high turnover. With the right technology and motivation, good workplace communication can be an excellent retention tool.
At this moment, communication in the workplace is a little warped due to obstacles such as physical distancing, workplace policies and language barriers. Therefore, managers need to swiftly detect if there is a communication breakdown in order to build a healthier and more transparent workplace.
Repairing workplace communication:
It is not asking the impossible to build healthy communication habits. Here are some ways to do just that:
- Keep information flowing
Keeping employees informed of what is happening in the workplace creates a positive environment that does not breed speculation or rumours. Providing the right information in the right ways stops employees from guessing or assuming the worst.
Of course, employees don’t have to know everything, but keeping them informed about issues which may affect them creates a sense of transparency.
- Remain accessible
As a manager, it’s important to decide how you want employees to engage with you. Do you want to cross the line of authority and blur the lines of manager and friendship? Having an appropriate amount of access to you could include: having an open-door policy, regularly updating staff, encouraging employees to ask questions during a meeting or providing a way to submit questions anonymously.
- Send your message the right way
Consider what the message is and how the message should be communicated. Also, consider what will be the most effective medium for what you are trying to say. For example, hygiene practices should not target specific individuals in a one-on-one meeting, but rather in a friendly group email.
- Tone of voice
Thoughtfully choose your words and pay attention to tone of voice as you deliver your message as this can impact its effectiveness. There is no need to sugarcoat everything, but offering a solution within a productive conversation can do wonders.
Navigating your business in an uncertain climate is never easy. Applying solid workplace communication allows for problems to be resolved quickly and efficiently. If you would like to learn more, get in touch with one of our communication experts here.