In some organisations, the human element can get overlooked, while the spotlight is laser-focused on financial performance. But if people aren’t happy and there’s no open communication across all departments, sooner or later, that will likely impact the business.
For instance, 97 per cent of employees believe that collaboration impacts tasks every day, and 28 per cent cite poor communication as the reason for not being able to deliver work on time. Indeed, when managers communicate with their employees openly, that allows them to know what their assignments are and complete them in a timely manner.
When people don’t share information or feel reluctant to provide honest feedback, long-lasting consequences can ensue. Miscommunication costs companies with 100 employees an average of 420,000 USD ($583,000 AUD) per year.
Yet, 69 per cent of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their workers, especially in person. Moreover, they feel uneasy about becoming vulnerable, recognising accomplishments, giving clear directions, and even providing face-to-face feedback.
Communication isn’t a trivial component. Instead, it’s crucial for every business as it enables openness, inclusion, and collaboration. It also creates closeness in the workplace, which could be the deciding factor in employee retention.
According to 2017 research on why employees stay, close workplace connections and communication make hires less inclined to quit their jobs. Hence, it should be just as significant as revenues or sales.
Here’s everything you need to know about communication in the workplace.
Types of Workplace Communication
1. Verbal (Face-to-face) Communication
In-person communication is essential in human connections, and it makes the most of our lives. Although some people may feel a wave of anxiety taking over them when interacting with others face-to-face, that can eliminate miscommunication.
This way, all parties can see the bigger picture, body language, and facial expressions. That helps build credibility, which is critical when people are first meeting someone.
Verbal communication enables persons to identify whether what their interlocutors are saying aligns with their actions and tone of voice. Moreover, in-person contacts give a sense of warmth compared to e-mails, making it easier to form relationships and trust.
2. Facial Expressions and Body Language
Up to 93 per cent of communication is non-verbal. It’s why facial expressions and body language are significant for workplace communication.
For example, they reveal whether an employee feels genuinely comfortable with the feedback they received or their demeanour is telling something else. One can choose to ignore someone’s body language, but that could create underlying issues later on.
Moreover, changes in vocal tonality can indicate whether a hire is okay with last-minute tasks or struggling with the workload. Fidgeting can also tell a lot about how employees feel about a particular initiative, decision, or assignment.
If one plays with a pen during a meeting, that might point that they have no interest in the topic or the presenter isn’t successful in enthralling its audience.
3. Phone Discourse
Phone conversations are frequent in any company, but especially in those that operate remotely. However, many people dread this way of communicating and postpone it as long as they can.
It’s critical that all team members and managers feel comfortable talking with each other over a phone, making idea-sharing easier and encouraging everyone to express their opinions.
4. Written Communication
Workplace communication includes emails and notes, but it can cause misunderstandings due to a lack of body language and facial expression.
Employees can think that their boss disliked their suggestion only due to believing there’s an underlying negative message. Thus, people tend to read between the lines and interpret information according to their expectations and experiences.
Companies should consider implementing training that improves communication skills and helps everyone be on the same page.
Other Subgroups of Workplace Communication
Besides the general classification, there’s also a more specific one. This classification includes:
- Horizontal communication represents the interaction between individuals, groups, or departments who share the same hierarchical level. Also known as lateral, this form of communication is ideal for problem-solving, fostering collaboration, and improving collective performance.
- Vertical communication stands for interaction between individuals, teams, or sectors who don’t share the same job role or position due to the hierarchy. Hence, that’s communication between managers and employees, or bosses and hires.
Regardless of type, communication in the workplace is of paramount importance for business success and employee performance. Here’s why.
The Benefits of Open Workplace Communication
1. Communication Nurtures Trust
When employees don’t feel they can trust their colleagues, managers, or bosses, they will likely struggle with a toxic atmosphere, conflicts, and misunderstandings. Workers tend to feel disconnected when their superiors fail to communicate the company’s objectives and changes effectively.
Instead of only sharing the minimum employees should know or successful outcomes, they should also disclose challenging information and any difficulties affecting them. Moreover, business leaders and HR should be open about sales, updates, and plans.
To do their jobs well, workers need to know the whole picture and their role in achieving the results. Knowing the details also helps them see the meaning and effects of their contribution, increasing their loyalty, performance, and motivation.
2. Regular Communication Improves Employee Engagement
Continuous feedback helps employees do their work better, bolster their strengths, and work on their weaknesses. Thus, knowing the timeline and details of the newest initiatives can incentivize workers to contribute and suggest their ideas.
HR professionals and business leaders should include all hires equally and share information with them, regardless of their job role or tenure. That way, employees become more confident they can handle their tasks, increasing their engagement.
Besides, they want to know that their work makes a difference. It’s why companies should have efficient communication channels that keep employees updated and provide them with regular feedback.
3. Collaboration Boosts Employee Morale
Open, inclusive, and fair communication helps form closeness between team members and managers. It allows employees to understand that no one will judge them or reject their ideas without first considering them.
Moreover, workplaces with a strong sense of collaboration make hires feel welcome and connected to their coworkers and job role. For instance, employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times likelier to feel empowered to perform their best work.
In the process, they become happier and more passionate about how their performance affects the team and company. As a result, they’ll bring positive energy into the workplace and feel proud of their jobs.
4. Efficient Communication Reduces Ambiguity
Employees who don’t understand what their managers or bosses expect from them probably won’t feel confident completing their assignments or taking the initiative. Ambiguous communication creates confusion about their roles but also hesitance to ask for clarification.
Companies should implement platforms or systems that enable regular updates and conversations that make it easy for employees to reach out. Thus, they should encourage them to express themselves freely.
Otherwise, workers could struggle with anxiety and frustration, which will likely affect their results. Hence, companies must clarify who’s in charge of what and what everyone needs to do to get the job done.
How Closeness Improves the Workplace
Open communication is critical for establishing trust and developing close relationships in the workplace. That has various benefits for businesses and employees.
Employees should feel comfortable among their coworkers and managers to be free to express their opinions, give feedback, and share ideas. Otherwise, they might be reluctant due to fearing how others will accept their viewpoints.
That could be critical for remote work because it’s more likely some workers will feel excluded or hesitant to participate in meetings. If there’s a positive atmosphere in a company, employees will feel more confident knowing they have the support of everyone present.
Miscommunication is responsible for various conflicts that people could avoid if they speak openly and know how to address issues without attacking anyone’s standpoint. Companies that nurture fair and open communication reduce the possibility of a hostile environment and ensure managers and employees can talk cordially.
Improved Inclusion and Diversity
Microaggression is one of the most sinister enemies of diversity and inclusion. It can be subtle and challenging to recognise, especially in environments with a lack of collaboration.
Because of that, companies should pay more attention to how they communicate with employees, or they could trigger hostility unwillingly. It’s essential to nurture inclusive communication that eliminates the us-against-them mindset and fosters empathy and equity.
How to Improve Communication and Closeness in the Workplace
1. Establish Culture of Open Communication
Make inclusive and open communication in the workplace a part of your company culture. Connect it with your mission and commit to creating a friendly environment where everyone feels free to participate and interact.
Let your employees know they’re welcome to share their ideas and that no one will judge them. Make it clear that they should feel free to reach out if they have problems or struggles.
Consider introducing communication training and regular team bondings to improve employee communicational skills and connection.
2. Provide and Ask for Regular Feedback
Feedback should be a two-way street to instil trust and show that you respect your employees and want to hear their opinions. Encourage workers to reach out and enable different channels to express their views, including anonymously.
3. Use Tech Tools
Use technology tools to reach out to all your employees with more ease and streamline communication. Workers should have easy access to communicational channels, especially in remote work.
For example, Total Calibration’s Employee Experience Platform (EEP) offers personalised “Micro Intranet” within Microsoft Teams and allows staff to recognise great work and provide feedback to colleagues to help drive engagement and a culture of recognition.
Thanks to its modern and flexible features, Total Calibration’s EEP is ideal for office and remote workers as it helps them share ideas quickly, get in touch, and solve problems together.
Improve your workplace communication today. – Click here to contact us so we can understand your goals and assess how we can assist you in achieving them.
About the author
Daniel Campbell is a Business Development Manager at Total Calibration and studying software engineering. His passion for helping organisations do more with less through continuous innovation flows through in the expert content he writes.