For business success, it is necessary to have good communication between employees, customers and other associates. Communication is an exchange of feelings, ideas, and information, whether by speaking, writing, signals, or behaviours. Communication serves two major functions in every organisation. It broadcasts the information needed by personnel to get things done and build relationships of trust and promise. Workplace communication is important to an organisation’s capability to be productive and operate smoothly.
In order to get effectual communication, there should be both horizontal and vertical communication in any corporation. Vertical communication is the communication that happen between the bosses and the assistants. A healthy vertical communication guarantees that the managers are appropriatelyconveying the goals, target policies and procedures to the personnel and at the same time the superiors are also aware of the worries of their subordinates.
Horizontal communication is the communication that takes place between the workers at the same level. For building healthy relationships between the employees, it is essential that they share their feelings and proposals with each other. A healthy horizontal communication results in the enthusiasm of the team members.
Communication about workplace facilitates to accomplish the anticipated outcomes for the employee and the organization in several ways:
Bottom-up communication (from employees to management) offers information about employee requirements, values, insights and thoughts. This assists organizations select and modify their programs and strategies to fulfil the particular needs of their workers.
Top-down communication (from management to employees) can upturn utilization of specific workplace programs by making employees aware of their availability, clearly explaining how to access and use the services, and signifying that management supports and values the programs.
Workplace communication must be smooth as itincreases worker efficiency. Many researchesindicated that effective lateral and work group communication leads to an enhancement in overall company performance. It has also been revealed that employees who were graded as highest in work productivity had received the most effective communication from their managers. Additionally, there is a strong link between organisations who were communicating successfully and the productivity ratings of their people.
Other beneficial aspect of good workplace communication is that it can increase employee job satisfaction. Employees feel empowered if they are able to receive upward communication. This type of communication is when information flows upward in an organisation and usually consists of feedback. If employers or managers are able to listen to employees and reply, this leads to an increase in employee job satisfaction. Additionally, employees feel cheerful if there is strong downward communication, which is information flowing down from bosses or managers.
Clear and effective communication is important to address the people about the problems related with the drastic changes in company.A clear communication should include the following:
- The background and reasons for the workplace change.
- Detail on the organizational changes (such as revised structure, budgetary constraints, internal and external factors impacting on an area or technological change, the impact on the workforce and timelines).
- Presentation of the significant financial data to the staff to assist them with understanding why the change is necessary.
- Management of the change processes.
- Information on the support mechanisms for staff (for example, counselling services).
- Information about how the concerns would be managed, including the grievance mechanism.
- Keeping the people well informed in an accurate and timely manner. A record of all the meetings should be taken and disseminated to the staff, including those on leave.
- Official lines of communication over informal networks should be used.
- The capability of the staff to ask questions and clarify the matters.
- Confirm that the area wants to retain and would need good staff in the new structure.
Effective workplace communication can have a positive impact on absenteeism and turnover rates. Communication flow is very significant to workers. Employees need to feel protected that they are receiving honest and updated information from bosses. Workers also want to have the ability to share ideas, thoughts and concerns within the company. Various studies have revealed that even after a period of downscaling, companies that have outstanding communication are able to hold the surviving employees.
In today’s speedily changing business environment, good communication is vital for everyone, from top level managers to client facing employees. Organisations that fail to convey clear policies and do not involve employees in shared goals, are likely to face financial lose.
The following factors influence workplace communication:
Method of communication:
Different people process information in different ways. Method to convey information is crucial. Mangers and top officials must use simple and clear words while communicating with subordinates so that the information conveyed is understood by all. When presenting important information, using pictures to transmit the message to others in company. Preferring two-way communication is considered best for communicating. Satisfactory importance can be given for discussion, questions and clarifications.
The content of the information is very important in workplace communication. The level of detail must be according to the grasping capacity of the employees. It is not advisable to provide unnecessary detail to workers as employees will get bored and too little detail will not solve the purpose. Use of jargon while communicating is not considered good for effective workplace communication.
Formal workplace communication is not good for an organization. Frequent informal workplace communication has its benefits. A perfect balance is essential for the proper functioning of an organization. Information must be communicated as and when necessary rather than holding excessive meetings frequently. At the same time, crucial information must not be held till the last hour or day, instead they have to be communicated at the earliest to get the employees in tune with the objectives of the organization.
The communicator must develop skills such as presentation skills, group facilitation skills and written communication skills to effectively communicate the messages whenever required. Successful communication also depends upon the capacity of the employees to understand the information. This requires providing the employees some basic financial knowledge like financial statements, sales, and productivity.
Effects of poor communication:
Poor communication adversely impact on the productivity of company. Staff morale falls when communication is unclear, unfocused, lacking in important facts and does not allow for genuine two-way dialogue. Critically, the impact of poor communication affects customers and dealers. They begin to feel marginalized and take their business away.
- Increased employee turnover: If employees voluntarily quit the company, it costs heavily to any employer. A Watson Wyatt study found that companies that communicate most successfully are at least 50 percent more likely to report turnover levels below the industry average compared with only 33 percent for the least effective communicators. This can have a considerable impact on the bottom line.
- Increased absenteeism: If communication among employer and employees is inadequate, incompetent and unresponsive, it can have severe impact employee motivation.
- Poor communication is also related with rising strain levels in workplaces which results in absenteeism.
- Poor customer service: If communication in not smooth with employees, it leads to unacceptable communications with clienteles. Employees who lack guidance from management and are locked out of genuine discussion about their job, struggle to satisfy customers and lose the promise to do so.
- Greater incidence of injuries: Poor communication is a major factor for incidents in workplace. Occupational health and safety accidents and stress related illnesses cost organisations and taxpayers huge money each year.
- Decrease in employee morale: Lack of communication or gap in conversation reduces employee confidence. Workers feel the stress from poor relationships at work which decreases their morale.
- Other factors that impact companies include dampened innovation and lower employee productivity. Communicating successfully internally and externally can have positive impacts on cash flow and profits. It is also vital for organisations to increase their safety record, staff engagement, productivity levels, as well as improving staff and customer preservation.
Poor communication leads to poor performance. When there is poor communication in an organization, there can be number of negative consequences, including errors, productivity declines, disbelief, lower morale, confusion, absenteeism, and general displeasure.
Another factor that is affected by poor communication is innovation. If poor communication abilities result in the improper management of important projects, this can cripple the company’s invention and capacity to make positive contributions to society. The capacity to innovate is proportional to the capacity to communicate directions, and to communicate new and exciting thoughts and developments.
Tips to improve one's communication skills in the workplace
- Stay focused on the current topic:It is good to focus on specific discussion on current matters while communicating in workplace. Sometimes it is enticing to bring up past work issues or topics when discussing something current. Regrettably, this often divert the issue and makes finding mutual understanding and a solution to the current issue less likely.
- Listen carefully to others: In the workplace, it is observed that people often think they are listening, but in reality, they are thinking about what they say next when the other person stops talking. It is suggested that effective communication is a two way process. While it might be difficult, try really listening to what others say. Here are some ways to listen effectively:
- Face the speaker and continue eye contact.
- Be focused, yet comfortable.
- Keep an open mind to the speaker’s communication. Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
- Listen to the words and try to make imageto what the speaker is saying.
- Do not intrude and do not impose solution while conversation.
- Wait till speaker completes its speech and then ask clarifying questions.
- Give the speaker regular feedback such as summarize, reflect feelings.
- Pay attention to nonverbal cues such as feelings, tone of voice, inflection, facial expressions, gestures, posture.
- Be aware of potential obstacles that impact ability to listen successfully.
- Try to see the other point of view: In most workplace situations, people want that they have been heard and understood. They talk about their opinion to get fellow employees to see things a certain way. But those who try to really see the other side find that they can then do better job of clarifying theirs when it is their turn.
- Try not to respond to criticism: It is easy to get defensive when a fellow worker or a manager condemns an idea or a proposed process. Usually people do not like criticism. But it is equally important to listen to the other person's reasoning for their view. There can be valuable information in the analysis that can improve the original idea.
- Take ownership: Realize that personal responsibility is a strength, not a weakness. Effective Ownership can resolve the situation, set a good example, and show competence and maturity.
- Look for compromise:Employees involve in conversation must look for solving the issues instead of trying to win the argument. This focus is much more effective than one person getting what he or she wants at the other's expense. Effective communication involves finding a resolution that all parties can be happy with. This is especially true in the workplace.
- Do not surrender on a good idea: Sometimes it is best to agree to discuss an idea at a later date. But a good idea should always come up again. Approach the situation with a constructive attitude, and aninclination to see other points of view. It is possible to be persistent without being overbearing.
It is said that communication is the procedureto share ideas, information, and messages with others employee in a particular time and place. Everyone in the workplace has his or her own style of communication. The capability to communicate well with others who may have a different style is important at work. Hearing and understanding what the other person says, as well as being able to get one's point across, is effective communication. In a workplace, people come from different ethnic backgrounds and personalities and they have to interact on a daily basis therefore effective communication becomes critical to the success of the department and the company.
For effective communication, employees have to develop some communication skills which are an essential constituent of a productive workplace, allowing employees to work together cohesively and skilfully. Business owners can perform well to hire employees with sound communication skills, and there are also ways to improve communications skills in the workplace to enhance employees output.