There are countless benefits to improving communication in the workplace from fostering great colleague relationships, boosting creativity and innovation, and optimising productivity. Encouraging workplace communication can be challenging, especially for remote companies, but it is crucial for company progress. Here we share some key ways to encourage workplace communication.
Why is effective workplace communication important?
Having effective communication in the workplace can lead to increased productivity and improved employee motivation; the more involved employees feel, the more likely they are to contribute and work productively. Not only that, but when employees feel connected to the company culture, they are less likely to want to leave, which can drastically reduce staff turnover.
Regular communication is often associated with startup businesses when they are in their early period and just finding their feet in their industry. However, the successes from good communication are not limited to early stage and startup businesses.
Hugo Anglesford of Doddler.co.uk commented: “When you have a business, whether it is new or older and established, communication will make or break your business. Bad communication between staff and the leadership will doom you to failure, whereas good communication will set you on the path to success.”
Effective workplace communication has also been proven to lead to increased collaboration and better innovation. It creates a safe space to share new ideas which can encourage innovative thinking and help give your company a competitive edge.
Ways to encourage communication in the workplace
Better workplace communication can be encouraged in many different ways:
Build good relationships between employee and employer
When relationships are built on trust, it makes both parties feel more comfortable and can ease communication. If employees trust their employer, they are far more likely to communicate any problems they may be having or offer any ideas. Employers can establish a rapport with employees from the offset.
For example, allocating time to meet with new hires or take them out for lunch can help employees feel more comfortable and can allow employer and employee to get to know each other in a less formal setting. This can be a great icebreaker and can initiate better communication going forward.
An increased sense of trust can also improve an employee’s feeling of belonging in a workplace – all of which aids communication. Acting with genuine interest for your employees, and taking the time to make them feel heard, will make communication issues far less likely.
Have regular meetings
Meeting regularly with your employees provides a good window for employees to communicate and share what’s on their minds. Scheduling regular opportunities to do this can be an invaluable way to learn from your employees about how they are doing, including their successes, challenges and feedback. These meetings or calls can be short and can even be done remotely, for example, by using a VoIP phone system. The key here is to regularly discuss things with employees, no matter how that is achieved.
This simple action can help you stay abreast of what’s going on in your team and means that you can be proactive in addressing any issues that may arise.
Set clear expectations
When assigning work, it is not enough to simply assign the work and expect for it to be done by a given date. Providing context around assignments can help employees understand the relevance of the work that they are doing and can give them the opportunity to answer questions. It is important to check that employees are wholly understanding of the task at hand to avoid having to re-do the work in the future. Communicating effectively at the start can save a great deal of time and effort in the future.
Never assume that something is completely clear. Instead, take the required time to make sure that everyone is on the same page and understands exactly what it is they have to do.
Communicate in a way that works for your employees
Not everybody communicates in the same way. The more time you take to get to know your employees when they first start to work in the company can help you understand their strengths, weaknesses, preferences and communication style.
Understanding your employee strengths and weaknesses will help you communicate with them better and can also guide the type of work tasks they should be assigned to maximise company productivity.
Each employee will also have a different preferred way to communicate. Whether they are the first to respond to an email, prefer calls to chat through briefs or only communicate on messaging platforms, understanding their preferred communication method will make workplace communication far more effective.