Last month, I talked about GOLD’s third core value and how important it is to promote a respectful and empathetic workplace, and the kind of impact it has on you, your team members, and your organization as a whole. Today, I’m moving onto our next core value. GOLD’s fourth core value is: I will communicate effectively and in a timely manner, with clarification.
What’s Effective Communication and Why’s It So Important?
Let’s dive right in, what is effective communication? Well, it’s a simple term that’s jam-packed with a whole lot of meaning. Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s listening intently to understand the emotion and intentions behind every conversation and clearly conveying a message to appreciate the meaning of what’s being said. Doing so lets the other person feel heard and understood.
With that being said, you can see why effective communication in the workplace builds the core of your organization’s success, and how it can make or break your organization. Think about the saying, “There’s no I in team,” and how relevant it truly is. The success of a business isn’t achieved by a single individual, rather it’s a collaborative effort of teams and departments.
The Benefits of Effective Workplace Communication
On average, employees are 20 to 25% more productive in organizations with effective communication. So, not only is employee productivity increased, but the quality of the work improves, as well as overall office morale. To me, that sounds like a win-win for everyone.
Office morale is incredibly important for a variety of reasons. For one, it’s necessary if you want to reduce employee turnover rate. Employees who come to work every day knowing that they’re part of something great and have a voice are much less likely to want to leave. I know I wouldn’t want to stay somewhere where I didn’t feel heard. Plus, when a workplace is a safe environment for employees to express their thoughts, they’re more likely to share their diverse ideas without the fear of being rejected or criticized.
Another benefit of effective workplace communication is eliminating confusion. When a company’s goals and expectations are effectively communicated and clearly defined, it brings clarity and transparency into play. With a clear picture of what’s expected, employees can perform their duties correctly, independently, and in a timely manner. When there’s confusion surrounding a task or responsibility, it leaves room for frustration to enter the picture, and we’ve all been there to know how that turns out—poorly.
Effective communication in the workplace is a two-way street, so it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. The responsibility doesn’t lie solely on the employee or the company and its managers. Failure for either or both parties to effectively communicate results in a lack of interpersonal connections and work productivity. Communication breakdown can occur when we think we are being clear, but the reality is that the message is getting lost somewhere and simply isn’t coming across. To avoid this type of pitfall, I’d suggest considering your colleague’s communication style. After all, no two of us are the same, so we can’t expect everyone to communicate in the same fashion.
Improving Communication in the Workplace
There’s no magic wand you can wave to create effective workplace communication, and there isn’t a universal model that will work for every organization. Just like anything worth doing, you must put the work in and learn to adapt. If you’re looking to improve the communication within your organization, here’s some ideas you can try:
Start at the beginning by developing an onboarding process for new employees. Make internal knowledge easily available either with training videos, documentation, or my personal favorite, in-person training and cross department participation. This will give new employees a feel for your company culture right from the very start.
Check in with employees regularly. Whether it’s in-person or online meetings, schedule them weekly or every few weeks. Use this time to discuss goals, strategies, and responsibilities. Encourage feedback and welcome questions to get the conversation flowing.
Discourage one-way communication. The top-down approach to communication is common, but there’s no exchange or dialogue. It won’t serve you or your employees in the long run.
Be transparent. That includes sharing good and unpleasant news sincerely and responding to reactions in a positive and clear manner.
Identify, clarify, and reinforce your organization’s mission. Remind your team why they joined your organization in the first place.
Recognize your employees’ efforts when they go above and beyond or excel at a task or project. A win for one person in an organization is a win for the whole team.
Take inventory of your own communication style. There’s always room for improvement, so leave your ego at the door.
Let’s face it, effective workplace communication will always be a work in progress. It’s a give-and-take relationship that needs to be nurtured. There are hundreds of different approaches you can take, and it may be a matter of trial-and-error in the beginning. But once you implement a sound strategy, you’ll immediately notice an increase in employee participation, productivity, and engagement.
Next month I’ll be diving into our 5th core value, “I will strive to be a part of the solution through self-improvement, growth and adaptability,” so stay tuned!