Five tips to improve communication in the workplace
Meetings are a necessary evil of any company or corporation. However, when the meeting is over, the messages that come out of them are often lost in the everyday hustle and bustle of a busy workplace.
Although the intention is to share the information to all employees and stakeholders in the business, busyness means the importance of doing that is often put on the backburner.
While most employees want to do the best work they can in the workplace, not knowing what is going on with the organisation as a whole can make that difficult.
And if they find out second-hand about a major initiative, or even a small change in the operation of the company, it can be discouraging and detrimental to their commitment.
Employees, clients, even customers need to know they are important to the success of any organisation, and communicating information, no matter how big or small, can help keep everyone connected and committed.
According to a survey done by the American Management Association in March 2012 only nine per cent of employees surveyed said they knew what was going on most of the time in their workplace. Fifty-five per cent of the respondents, said they felt informed only some of the time which gave them a sense of distrust and disengagement.
So how can you improve communication in the workplace? With these five simple steps, you can make sure all stakeholders in an organisation feel as if they are part of its success.
1. Develop a Communication Strategy
The first step is to get a group of employees in a room and develop a strategy for how the organisation will communicate with employees. This team should think through and define a process and purpose for better business communication management – from who needs to know what information, when they need to know it and how will it be delivered.
2. Create a Communication Process
As with most things in business, having a defined process is the best way to ensure consistent communication. This can be as simple as the secretary who takes meeting notes, sending a copy of the notes to a central communication person who is then responsible for sharing it with all employees.
3. Multiply the Message
Don’t be afraid to over-communicate the message and use every available forum – email, newsletter, bulletin boards, business website, intranet, social media, staff meetings, text messaging or video delivery. The more often the message is communicated, the better chance employees will absorb and remember it.
4. Explain why
Leaders will often come up with a great idea, plan it, implement it and may even communicate it. But they may not think it’s that important to explain why a particular initiative has been put in place at a certain time. If employees understand why something has been done, they’re more likely to support the organisation’s strategy and goals.
One-way communication rarely works well. Create a forum for employees to offer feedback and ask questions to ensure the message is received as it was intended. Feedback can be done in person in staff meetings, or online through a survey or employee forum. Workers need to feel as if their opinions are heard and considered. And getting feedback also allows an organisation to identify areas that may need to be improved upon.