How To Foster Effective Communication in the Workplace
Updated June 24, 2022
Workplace communication has evolved quite a bit over the past decade alone, making it extremely important for you and your organization to understand and properly utilize the tools at your disposal. By learning the benefits of great communication at work and the steps you can take to improve it, you can create a work environment that is more effective, efficient and engaged. In this article, we explain the importance of workplace communication, provide examples of communication skills at work, describe how you can improve workplace communications and explore the benefits.
Why is workplace communication important?
Workplace communication is important because, when done properly, it gives employees a better understanding of their role and expectations, allowing them to become more productive, satisfied and invested members of the team. As a result, the organization as a whole can improve its services, streamline its processes and reduce its costs.
Related: Q&A: Why Is Communication Important?
Workplace communication skills
There are several soft skills needed to communicate effectively at work, such as:
Open-mindedness: When you are open-minded, it means that you are willing and able to change your opinions and ideas when provided with new information. This level of flexibility is extremely important in the workplace because it makes you more adaptable and easier to work with.
Active listening: Perhaps the most important aspect of great communication is listening. As an active listener, you devote all of your attention to the speaker, allowing you to fully understand what they are saying and respond appropriately.
Confidence: Communicating confidently typically results in people listening more attentively and trusting you because it signals a certain level of competence.
Empathy: Empathy allows you to connect with the emotions and feelings of others, enabling you to understand others and communicate with them more effectively.
Clarity: A great communicator can clearly and cohesively tell a story or illustrate a point.
Emotional intelligence: Sometimes referred to as EI, emotional intelligence refers to your ability to recognize and manage your emotions. When you possess this skill, you are far less reactive, making you a much better communicator.
How to improve workplace communication
You can improve communications in the workplace by following these simple steps:
1. Introduce key tools
There are a variety of tools available that can streamline your company's processes and boost its communications. For example, a work-specific messaging application provides employees with a less formal email alternative that could end up saving time. Examine the organization's needs and identify the tools that would be most beneficial.
2. Encourage open communication
Though providing employees with clear communication is key, they should also feel like this communication goes both ways. Make it clear that they are allowed to share their opinions, thoughts and feelings. By clarifying that their feedback is welcome, you can create a staff that feels valued and empowered. Additionally, employees have insight into the effectiveness of processes and protocols, so getting their input can result in a more productive workplace.
3. Provide clear feedback
When giving staff members feedback, try to make it as concrete as possible. Be specific when mentioning the areas they're excelling in and in what ways they could improve. This ensures that they understand what is expected of them, allowing them to perform their job to the best of their abilities.
When it comes to positive feedback, offer it as often as you can. Encouragement is a great way to boost morale and improve productivity.
4. Check in on employees regularly
Schedule quick meetings where you can go over expectations or new developments. To ensure that these interactions are short and productive, craft an agenda that allows you to cover the key topics. You can hold these as regularly as you think is necessary depending on the person's role, performance and/or the projects they're currently working on.
5. Create opportunities for team building
Team building activities are a great way to build professional relationships and foster inter-departmental communication. Organize social outings or office parties to give employees a chance to network in a relaxed setting. Aside from being great for communication, providing opportunities for fun can create workers that are more satisfied and engaged in their role as well as the company.
Benefits of improved workplace communication
When a workplace improves its communication, it can enjoy several advantages, such as it:
Minimizes confusion and conflict. When employees understand their role and how they contribute to the company's overall goals, they are usually more invested in their work and motivated to perform their responsibilities more effectively. As a result, there is generally less conflict and when issues do arise, they are handled much more easily.
Improves employee engagement. Because employees are encouraged to share their opinions, ideas and feelings, they often adopt a sense of ownership in the company and their role. This encourages them to take charge and develop innovative solutions.
Encourages collaboration. Clear communication fosters a sense of teamwork because it gives employees a common goal to work toward and the tools that they need to effectively collaborate with their coworkers.
Creates a positive work environment. Improved communication at work develops better working relationships and establishes trust, creating employees that are happier and healthier.
Builds accountability. In addition to providing employees with clarity on who in the organization should be holding them accountable, improved communication empowers them to hold themselves accountable. When employees have clear expectations, they know the steps they need to take to accomplish their goals.
Boosts client relationships. Improved workplace communication is certainly beneficial for employees and the organization, but it also carries into the company's relationships with customers. Through improved processes and productivity, you can be more responsive and meet the needs of clients more effectively.
Develops organization success. When an organization has effective communication, it can reduce costs, minimize employee turnover rates and improve productivity, all of which lead to greater company success.
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