When teams have a breakdown in communication, it can lead to all sorts of problems, and, in many cases, it can be detrimental to the success of the business. It’s then good to know that communication problems are possibly one of the most common issues facing businesses and one of the easiest to fix with a bit of care and attention.
Not fixing these issues can lead to problems with clients and suppliers creating a difficult trading relationship whilst also impacting on the bottom line - a severe issue for any business survival and success.
What is effective communication?
What does effective communication look like? Here are some of the elements behind it.
Where feedback is respected amongst all members of the team
This means that communication down the chain of command is heard and worked on. Assessment tools can be used to identify skills gaps and in turn develop better communication structures.
Where there is an opportunity for formal and informal feedback
Feedback needs to be both formal and informal. Regular catch-ups and assessments on changes implemented help in this area.
When there isn’t a fear culture for sharing feedback
Employees need to feel that they can share their grievances safely. If there is a culture of high turnover then this can be harder to achieve.
When every person has a voice and isn’t discriminated against
Gaining employee trust is about showing employees that they can speak freely without judgement.
Why are communication skills essential in the workplace?
Good communication is about driving productivity, developing workplace relationships and, ultimately, business success. Great communication skills from managers to their team help develop morale whilst also increasing productivity, output and trust amongst employees.
Employees who engage in good communication skills are arguably an asset to the business. They can build relationships within the business and outside at a faster pace and in turn be able to effectively develop soft skills that will help the business grow over time. Developing communication skills must be a key part of employee development over the long term of a business.
Businesses that can effectively communicate internally and externally will find that they can control change within the organisation, perform better over a period of time and see an impact on the financial performance as well. Good communication is welcomed by suppliers and customers, resulting in repeat business and better rates.
Communication barriers to overcome
Over the last year, there have been many issues for businesses overcoming communication barriers. Since March 2020, many businesses have been operating with remote teams at short notice. Here are some of the challenges they have faced and how they can overcome them;
Wrong types of communication tools
There is software that allows you to communicate with your team and organise your work flows remotely. Slack, Zoom, Proofhub are easy to use and easy to access.
Lack of general communication
It's a good idea to check in with your team regularly. Pick up a phone, send a message, schedule in time to have a 5 minute catch-up. Be careful to not micromanage and instead schedule regular times for meetings.
Lack of focus on goals & expectations
Working remotely doesn’t mean that businesses forget about their goals and expectations. Lay them out clearly, make sure all team members know what they’re working to and how it's important to aim for them.
Lack of empathy
It’s something that many who have gone to remote working have felt - that business owners and managers aren’t empathising with the situation they're facing. Listen to their concerns and make a plan of action to help drive motivation and rewards within the business.
Good communication is good business sense. With improvements in sales, productivity and employee engagement, communication is a key asset that every business should aim to work towards. Take the time to develop good communication internally to drive success. Start with a group call that lays out your plans for the quarter, listen to suggestions and schedule one-to-one meetings to get everyone on the same page and feeling like they are being listened to.
Foster clearer communication in the workplace with Thomas
At Thomas our 360 Degree Feedback assessment quickly and easily enables people to gather performance feedback from their managers, colleagues, team members and customers and then compare this feedback with their own perception of their performance.
Alternatively, speak to one of our team to find out more.