Whether you have a small team or you head a large department, workplace communication is key to getting things done.
Making sure that your communication skills are not only effective but promote the kind of office culture that supports your mission can be tricky.
5 ways to improve workplace communication
Lack of engagement in meetings missed benchmarks, and a demoralized workforce can all be symptomatic of a failure to communicate properly.
So how do you improve workplace communication?
1. Make your expectations known
It is easy to simply assume that everybody is on the same page. They all read the job description before accepting the offer and common office behavior is, well, common.
But the truth is that there may be a great many things that you expect from your staff or coworkers that you have not vocalized.
Be specific about what it is that you expect from others. Give them a time scale to work with and let them know that you appreciate their hard work.
You can avoid many problems by simply thoroughly relaying your instructions and expectations
2. Reward and recognize effort
BI Worldwide, a global engagement agency, found that a well-thought-out rewards and incentives program increases productivity and reduces employee turnover.
While this concept is nothing new in human resources management, it is often overlooked in discussions about workplace communication.
Employee engagement ideas range from bonuses to employee appreciation events.
When applied to office communication, verbally recognizing people’s strengths and contributions encourage them to continue working hard and presenting their ideas. Even an idea that ultimately gets shot down, may have merit.
Be authentic and prepared to recognize the value of other’s contributions.
This will create an environment where employees are not afraid to share their ideas and even voice criticisms that support the company’s objectives.
In other words, you will create an effective workplace communication system!
3. Choose your medium wisely
Just because email and messaging are easy, doesn’t mean they are the most effective form of communication.
This is especially true when your words could be interpreted as an attack or criticism.
Never underestimate the power of a face to face conversation or a phone call to communicate clearly on an urgent matter.
4. Tell them why they should care
Remember, you cannot always assume that your objectives are shared by everybody in your office.
When giving new directives or instructions, it’s important to take the time to explain why they should comply and how these changes benefit them.
Not only will your team feel respected and valued, but they will be more likely to comply with your requests instead of baulking at the changes.
By explaining why changes in policy or procedure are important and how they positively affect workflow and help the company achieve their business goals you are more likely to get co-operation.
5. Ask for feedback, the key to workplace communication
A mentor of mine once said,
Ask them anyway, even though you’ve already made the decision
At the time I thought it was an incredibly silly thing to do. But I followed through and found that the amount of resentment and animosity I avoided was significant.
Inviting your team to give you feedback may seem masochistic. But, creating an environment where it is okay to criticize and critique the “boss” is ultimately beneficial.
Your team will respect you for being open to feedback. You will also benefit from their ideas. They may come up with the way to solve problems that you might not even be aware exist.
Ultimately, having an open door policy with your staff and co-workers and being authentic in your communication is key to promoting a healthy, positive office culture.
Do you have good communication in the workplace? What do you think about the measures listed above? Leave your opinion in the comments below and let us know!