Good communication in the workplace
For any business owner today, one of the most important challenges you face stems from communication problems. Limitations in communication in the workplace will often be the result of poor workplace development. A workplace that does not come together in a positive fashion is a workplace that will likely struggle to make ends meet.
After all, the quality of communication between you and your staff can play a leading role in long-term success. Your business, therefore, has to put a lot of time, money and resources into the development of better communication in the workplace. Should you just hope that this all comes together, then you are in a worse position than you might assume!
Handling workplace communication problems is absolutely essential to your long-term growth as a business. If you want to make some smart calls with regards to how you manage your business, this should come into account. Workplace communications require you to really look at building a positive corporate culture, for one. This means creating a workplace which is:
• Engaging for employees and exciting.
• Having a positive effect on the morale of the staff.
• Encourages staff to take part in activities.
• Self-sufficient in passing on the message of best practice.
• Open to all opinions and ideas without fear of censure.
• Caring and genuine, giving staff a solid platform to learn from.
• Clear in that it has an open, obvious communications plan.
• Built around a sound and ethical strategy for all.
Most importantly, though, you need to build a business which is free of ego. You need to remove the fear that there is one rule for the senior staff, and one rule for everyone else. Also, you need to remove any fear or uncertainty that your business is one that does not listen.
To do all of this, you need to be ready to make compromises and plan out certain changes. If you would like to make this work accordingly, then you should absolutely look to learn more about the art of good communication in the workplace. First off, why? Why does it matter?
Why does workplace communication matter?
First off, workplace communication makes a huge difference in how your business comes across. For example, if someone was to come and join your workplace, they would expect to feel welcomed, respected and trusted as a part of the team. They would want to know that they could be open and honest with you and with everyone else on board at the company. If someone cannot feel that way, then it can be hard for them to settle in and feel happy and productive.
Workplace communication matters, then, because it allows members of staff – new and old – to feel happy in what they do. There is also a fallacy about communication at work; that being friends with everyone makes staff more likely to do less work, not more. That could not be any further from the truth, however.
A happy workplace is one that gets on better, and one that communicates together to get jobs done. When everyone can speak their mind free of censure and/or abuse, they are going to be much more likely to want to be able to contribute. They’ll be able to get their ideas across and to do more to help boost your business long-term.
Workplace communication matters from a point of productivity, too. It’s very easy to be in the workplace and find that the place is less productive because nobody talks. If you cannot make your point clear or you cannot keep other parts of the workplace updated on your present part of the job, then how can you really expect to get the job done?
How can I build a better workplace communications culture?
Fear not, we’ll speak about that shortly. At the moment, it’s important that you pay attention to the importance of building a more genuine workplace communications culture. You need to understand the importance that it holds, and you need to appreciate the sheer amount of work that goes into making a workplace better in terms of communication.
It’s not something that comes easy, nor is your business likely to develop it naturally. You need to be ready to work at building a better form of communication in the workplace, and putting in place conditions that allow that communication to grow and develop naturally.
To do that, you need to be fully aware of the myriad benefits that exist when it comes to better workplace communications.
The benefits of good workplace communication
1. For one, you will find that your staff all get on much better. When there is a problem in the workplace, they will be much more inclined to work together to find a solution. That’s a huge benefit and can go some way to really improving workplace morale moving forward.
2. At the same time, you will get to see a workplace which is much more together. When disagreements happen, they can be fixed by everyone being willing to sit down and talk. In a business that does not have good communication skills, such reparations become hard to make possible.
3. Also, you will get to enjoy a much more productive business. People will work together more and will have little to no problem putting their time and effort into helping others who are perhaps a little behind on schedule, meaning that every member of staff chips in to help one another.
4. This has a massive impact on staff morale, and is sure to keep everyone in a much friendlier mood. When you can easily explain why hold-ups make have taken place on the production line, it’s easier to solve the problem when everyone works together in peace and in harmony.
5. You might also get to enjoy the experience of working together in that it can help you see the skills that members of staff have that may have otherwise slipped through the net. That is very important, and can go some way to making sure that everyone fulfills their potential.
6. This better workplace culture naturally makes it easier for people to work together and to feel good when they are helping each other out, with the mass long-term benefits of that easy for all to see. This has a huge and genuine impact on the way that staff work as one.
7. From the business perspective, this has huge benefits with the way that you manage your resources. Better teamwork allows for less resources to be wasted, meaning that company profits will skyrocket. The end result is a business that is literally being run better.
All of this comes to make sure that you are left with a business that is simply in a better place. People can work together better, and there is a more genuine appreciation of the success that can come from that togetherness.
Let’s look at one of the most important improvements coming from here, though: employee engagement.
Good communication improves: Employee Engagement
One of the first things that good communication can improve upon stems from employee engagement. Your staff are much more likely to feel excited and energized to be part of the workplace, and as such will be much more inclined to make an effort when it comes to putting in more effort.
An engaged employee is a happy employee. Nobody likes to go to work and feel like they lack a role, or that they are not important to the business. They want to have tasks, deadlines and things to achieve. Simply hiring someone and letting them dictate the day ahead of them is not going to work out as you might have expected: good communication helps to solve this rather serious issue.
With the help of employee engagement, you have a business which is going to be much more:
- • Likely to see long-term boosts to productivity.
- • Capable of handling new and challenging contracts.
- • Ready to handle fast-paced change in the industry.
All of this comes together in a way that also makes staff feel more loyal. If they come to work and enjoy the work that they do and the people that they work with, then it is only natural that they will want to stick around. If you go into the workplace and feel like you are making personal and professional progress, you are likely to give it 100% every day.
This is why a business has to put so much work into improving workplace communication. Engaged employees are much more likely to be successful, and they will play a critical role in making sure that you can see genuine improvement and progress as a professional.
The end result is that you will have a business that gets things done faster, that works more methodically and fully appreciates the role that your staff plays to make that so. If staff feel like they are taken seriously and that they have concerns which will be legitimately addressed, then you will be able to get all the help that you need to take your business to that next level.
Staff who feel appreciated will be engaged, and this will make them more productive. When staff feel like people in the company appreciate what they do and value their input, they are much more likely to keep continuing on with that level of commitment.
Good communication improves: Workplace Morale
Naturally, a workplace which is able to give people more personal encouragement is a workplace which will grow. When your staff feel happy, they are much more likely to come into work and give it their all day-in, day-out. A business that has lots of conflict and strife, though, might find it hard to keep staff morale high enough to see this kind of impact.
If you fear for this kind of problem yourself, then you will be happy to know that good workplace communication plays a telling role in workplace morale. If people come into work and know they can talk to people in the workplace about personal and professional issues, then they can work without such a weight on their shoulders.
Workplace communication means making sure that everyone knows their voice can be heard. This means building a plan that allows you to better manage workplace morale accordingly, you’ll remove the need for everyone to be ‘right’ in work. When people come into work, they should be able to speak their mind and speak about the task at hand without fear of argument, censure or any kind of punishment coming their way.
This is so important, and it’s why creating clear rules in the workplace will make sure that you can see workplace development that’s of a positive nature. If you work on building a more genuine kind of communication in work, then you will be sure to see genuine and progressive change in the way that your staff come into work.
Why does staff morale matter?
While it should be obvious, happy staff tend to work better and work harder. If they feel like you listen to and address their concerns, they’ll be happy to return the favor. This is why staff morale matters so much: if you can work with the people involved, then they are going to be much more likely to want to put in the same kind of effort in return.
Happy staff will get the job done faster, won’t mind staying back after-hours to get a project finished and won’t mind helping out their colleagues. That all leads to a happier, healthier workplace that people both wish to be a part of and don’t mind putting the effort in for. If your staff can feel rewarded and important in the grand scheme of things, they’ll be more productive.
Good communication: Activities in Work
Another critical part of the wider experience, then, comes from making sure that workplace activities are there to help improve communications. Just some good examples of workplace activities that can improve communication includes:
• Online chat groups. From a workplace WhatsApp group that can be used to discuss in-house policy and decisions to help bring everyone together, online chat groups make a big difference in the long run
• In-house polling and surveys. Done anonymously, these offer a wonderful way for people to open up a bit more about the challenges they face in the workplace without anyone feeling pressurized into doing so
• Group chats. Sitting down in groups can be very useful, and could help two parts of the business – sales and support, for example – to work together to find some common ground on problem issues that arise time and time again
• Leader meetings. Getting the heads of each department to come together once a week to discuss the good and the bad of the previous week really helps. This can bring out some new ideas and help to show some promising changes that could be implemented into each group.
• Support teams. From anonymous one-to-one meetings with team leaders to ensuring everyone can feel like they can get work-based stress off their chest, you can find that such support networks can go a long way to really improving how people feel when they are working.
• Webinar chats. At the same time, you can also find that a one-hour-per-week webinar/web chat with the company owner could be useful. It could allow for any confusion to be cleared up, and for everyone to foster a relationship with the business owner which can be useful.
With the above in mind, then, you can really improve communication in the workplace with some simple but very effective activities. Most of the time, removing a culture of fear or accusation is the most important starting point: get that right, and you can make a critical change to how people feel in your workplace and beyond.
What, though, even is a good communication skill with regards to the workplace?
What makes good communication skills?
1. For one, listening is among the most powerful skills that you need in the workplace. The more time that you can spend listening to the problems that those around you face, the more likely solutions are found.
2. Open-ended questions are vital, too: it shows a desire to listen and it also shows that you wish to more. Active listening is a powerful yet underused communication skill.
3. Eye contact makes a huge difference in the workplace, too. Striking eye contact shows a desire to listen and to learn; it also helps the person to feel like you are engaged in what they say. That can improve morale and build a bond between the two parties who are discussing.
4. Body language matters just as much in general. From a more relaxed stance to help create comfort in making it obvious when something ‘serious’ is taking place, body language makes it easy to let the listener know what’s being said.
5. Even basic interactions like smiling upon introduction to nice, cheery workplace messages can make all the difference. As business owner/leader, set the tone with a reduction in formality for standard workplace messages: turn to formality when you feel like something has to be said without any misdirection or interpretation otherwise.
6. Always try and promote a business methodology that allows people to be confident in how they communicate: without being arrogant, always make sure that the workplace culture points to a business that allows people to communicate openly and honestly together.
7. Good communication also revolves around being open-minded: kill off any kind of workplace mentality that sees people with differing opinions shot down. So long as it can be backed up with some form of thesis or evidence, it should be allowed to be discussed.
8. At the same time, it’s vital to avoid saying too much or too little. Always take a moment to think about what you say: a few seconds pause before speaking shows a desire to make yourself clear and heard. Ensure staff knows that thinking before speaking is essential to clarity.
9. Lastly, build a workplace culture which is all about respect and letting people know that their ideas are valid. Using a mixture of the above to show warmth, friendship, and respect to a fellow professional is essential in the modern workplace.
So, with all of this in mind, why does this result in happier, healthier business performance?
Why does good communication form part of healthy working relationships?
• For one, it helps to bring people together. Healthy respect is a workplace is so important, and you’ll find that a workplace is healthier if people actually listen to one another. Good communication allows for debate, not an argument, and instead allows people to form consensus instead of trying to prove one another wrong. That’s essential if you want to make a positive difference in the way that you work.
• At the same time, you will find that working relationships are healthier if everyone feels respected. While hierarchy is important to an extent, a normal staff member should feel totally comfortable talking to a more senior member of staff. Good communication removes the kind of professional reverence that sees good members of staff go into their shells. The best working relationships stem from when lower level staff can speak to senior staff without fear of censure, ridicule or professional bullying.
• A happy and healthy business has all the help that it needs to really make a telling difference to the way that you work as it brings departments together. When the marketing company has a better idea of what the actual assembly team can produce, they can create a more customer-centric and authentic marketing plan that legitimately speaks to the customer.
• More importantly, you will also find that your business is going to be more than capable of surviving arguments. When there is good communication, breakdowns in communication or productivity can easily be solved. This is why you should look to do as much as you can to ensure that communication is a big part of how your business operates.
• Lastly, you will notice a gradual yet significant change in the way that your business uses its resources. If people can communicate together, there is less wastage. If staff can work together regardless of department, seniority or personal beliefs, then you can make sure that your business is making the most of its resources time and time again, vastly reducing wastage.
With all of that in mind, you can surely see why your business has to start working on a more cohesive communication plan. To do that, though, you need to first understand how to go about forming a good communication plan. What kind of steps should you be taking if you wish to form a more robust, successful communications plan?
Forming a good communication plan
1. The first thing that you should look to do is better understand what kind of plan you want to put in place. The best way to make this official policy stick is to make it clear to all staff in a written document. If you can show them the kind of in-house communication that you wish for all parts of the company, then you are much more likely to find success in the long-term.
2. So, how does one go about forming a communication plan that can speak to all of your staff? How can you make every member of your business feel like they are adhering to new standards?
3. First, set a clear date as to when this will start and become part of official workplace policy. Create online materials that can be read about it, create an in-house document that can be printed and make sure that ample meetings are held with staff to discuss its introduction.
4. Create a powerful message to be the main reason for the change: back it up with facts and figures. For example, if you feel like poor communication is stunting growth and profits, then you need to make it clear that, with the new communication plan, you believe this can change.
5. Show people that you want this to benefit them as much as the company. Make it clear that the aim is to help deliver respect, honesty, openness, and professionalism to all in the workplace. Detail the benefits that will come to help show people that the workplace is improving.
6. Ensure that key staff are onside, the ones who can help you to spread this into the wider workplace culture. Show them that positive reasons exist for coming into work in the first place, and make it obvious to them that this kind of success is possible if you all work together.
7. Fully disclose the details of the change, including any negative reasons that brought this on: from a rise in disciplinary problems to issues within the workplace culture, be honest about why you feel the changes are needed to get maximum buy-in.
The plan itself will be personally tailored to your own business, but the communication plan has to sell the strategy. While you might be able to envisage selling this new plan to your staff based on the above, what kind of factors make up most successful modern workplace communications plans?
What makes a good communication strategy?
For one, a good communications strategy has to be empathetic. Build the strategy around the importance of improving workplace happiness and togetherness, and to ensure that staff sees this strategy as a means of making their own personal ambitions easier to achieve in the long-term.
Take the time to build up the skills of every member of staff. Let them know that as part of the strategy that workshops will be available on everything from improving wellbeing emotionally to helping staff improve their writing, speaking and listening skills to better meet your standards.
Put in place a clear plan to discuss things like freedom of speech in the workplace. Your strategy has to make it clear that abuse is not tolerated; criticism, though, should always be welcome. Staff needs to feel like they can speak up about problems without fear of censure.
Develop a strategy that makes space at least once per week for people to come forward with problems, fears, and questions. Your strategy should make clear that workplace failure is acceptable, so long as there is a willingness to learn and work with others. This is one of the most misunderstood parts of modern working culture: be sure to keep this in mind.
Really put a lot of emphasis on the importance of listening. Make sure that your communications strategy is built around seeing staff problems as more than just someone complaining to avoid taking responsibility: take every incident that is discussed with your staff seriously.
Essentially, the best modern forms of strategy are built almost entirely around making people feel more comfortable when they come to work. If you feel like your business has limitations at the moment with workplace comfort, then ensure that your strategy touches on the above.
Now that you can better see the stresses and struggles of building a more open and engaging workplace, where will you start?
While there is much to think about, the above should spell out the importance of workplace communication and why it as to improve. If you still see the concept of workplace communication as merely allowing staff to talk all afternoon, you could not be any more incorrect!
Workplace communication builds bridges, improves workplace morale and ensures that wastage is reduced. If these kinds of benefits sound like what you need, then it might just be time to work towards them. So long as you appreciate the importance of staff feeling like their voice is heard and their hard work is noted though, you should be well on the right track to professional success. The most important thing that you can take away from this is the importance of a more open-minded, authentic workplace culture. What steps will you take to ensure that is possible?
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