When the pandemic hit and employees migrated en masse to home-based working, business leaders were forced to quickly adapt the way in which they communicate with their people.
And over two years later, a number of companies are still trying to catch up.
This is evidenced in a recent study by Queens University of Charlotte. The study found that 39% of surveyed employees reported a lack of communication and collaboration from their organization and colleagues.
The impact of ineffective communication can be profound with employee performance and wellbeing suffering as a result.
So as a leader, how do you identify shortcomings in your internal communications; and what can be done to re-establish connection and collaboration within your teams?
From the article: Four Ways To Address Communication Problems In The Workplace.
How To Address The Problem
The first step in fixing any problem is acknowledging it exists. When there’s a derailment of any kind, it will never sort itself out. It’s far better to recognize it and take action.
When it comes to communication issues, there are some specific steps that executives can take to improve the situation and avoid problems. They need:
The Right Communication Training
Many communication problems can be solved by setting clear expectations and making the processes smooth and easy to follow. Misunderstandings tend to appear when people are not sure who is responsible for what and have no open channels for asking for clarification or help.
One of the major mistakes when it comes to communication training happens when companies go about it negatively. When an obvious communication problem is causing decreased engagement and poor results, they may immediately jump in with a long list of behaviors to change.
Learning, however, should be built around positive examples instead of focusing on what not to do. The best way to go about communication training is to make it specifically for and about your organization. In some instances, it will simply be a matter of making clear who is responsible for which tasks. For example, my company has built training specifically for ensuring smooth communications between our marketing and sales departments.
You may also have to add sensitivity or multicultural components to your communication training to address issues.
Up-To-Date Communication Tools
Today, corporate communication is mainly done through specialized tools. There’s a wide array on the market, and most offer free trials so you can see firsthand the best option for your company’s needs.
However, once you have chosen a communication tool, you must get everyone on board. People can show considerable resistance to change, even when a new tool is clearly better and can help them do their jobs more effectively.
It’s essential to provide support and learning opportunities so that your investment in technology pays off. The learning process is a great time for employees to share and communicate.
Additionally, your company’s learning platform should be equipped with features that support communication and collaboration to ensure you have constructive conversations happening. It should be easy for employees to reach out with any questions—whether to their colleagues or to subject matter experts.
A Great Feedback System
Employee feedback should be constant and worked into all the organizational processes. It’s the only way to mitigate problems as soon as they arise. Whether you opt for anonymous feedback or personal conversations, it’s crucial that employees feel comfortable speaking their minds and pointing out any negative aspects of their work.
A recent study of more than 36,000 employees showed that managers whose overall skills are rated higher in areas such as psychological safety lead teams that bring in an average of $4.3 million more in annual revenue. The study also highlighted the link between psychological safety and effective communication.
By inviting employees to give feedback and rate the communication processes and systems in place, you’ll get valuable insights into how to optimize results and the chance to fix issues before they escalate.
An Open Sharing System
One of the most significant challenges of the hybrid workforce is avoiding working in silos. To do this, updating your communication strategy to ensure the effective distribution of timely news and important updates is critical. Encouraging various departments to communicate openly and share their wins and challenges is key. Managers play an essential role in setting the tone for this type of information sharing.
Conversely, secretive or reticent leadership will generate an atmosphere of distrust. Setting up communication channels for specific purposes can help combat this problem. For example, create a separate channel for sharing success stories and congratulating employees who achieve good results. Also, holding regular meetings and encouraging questions and participation can alleviate communication issues. When top management is present and answers queries honestly and openly, it fosters trust and boosts psychological safety.
Good Communication Is Good For Business
Effective communication in the workplace is essential to business success. Company culture is the starting point in setting the parameters for employee collaboration. When communication issues arise, they need to be identified and addressed swiftly. The right tools, processes and leadership are paramount in ensuring open and constructive workplace communication.
Read the full article, here.
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