There are several factors that contribute to creating a productive and satisfying workplace environment, however, none more important than good communication. Effective communication is critical for success regardless of the size and structure of your organization. Poor communication will result in lower productivity and employee morale and engagement which ultimately impacts financial performance. Everyone will agree that good communication is key, however, the quality of communication is not always measured or considered.
Good communication typically mitigates conflict. Poor communication fosters an environment of confusion and resentment. When evaluating and establishing your communication strategy, include measures to avoid misunderstanding, consider communication patterns and preferences and address the emotional needs of your team.
It’s important to assess whether your message is being understood as intended. Communication isn’t simply sharing information but measuring how the information is received. If the message is received differently than it’s intended, confusion on the part of the receiver may lead to resentment. I have witnessed the devastating effects of poor communication, particularly when the communication avenue is only one-way. Therefore, an effective delivery must include a feedback loop; a means to determine if the communication was received, understood and supported. Two-way communication is always the goal when establishing an effective system of sharing information.
The vehicle of communication is also crucial. A multi-generational workforce makes this more complex and requires that you consider various options of how to share information. Communication methods must be effective with your entire workforce which is most likely comprised of Baby Boomers, Generation-Xers and Millennials. Is your organization relying on email to distribute information? Are you utilizing social media and technology as part of your strategy? Are you ensuring that your communication strategy includes face-to-face interaction? A multi-faceted approach will ensure that you are meeting your team at the point where your message will be best received and may include regular “Team Huddles”, an intranet providing policies and procedures plus company news and events, and regular but concise emails.
Ongoing assessment and feedback methods are a key strategy for organizations determined to establish a workplace environment rich with productive communication. Employee surveys are a great way to assess your team’s perspective. Surveys should be conducted at regular intervals and responded to in a timely manner. Analyzing utilization of the company intranet will provide valuable feedback on its effectiveness. Another great way to assess the quality of communication is to create ways for the team to echo the message back to management. For example, when introducing a new policy, ask your team to respond with how this new policy will impact their roles and their productivity.
The power of good communication in your organization is significant and will result in improved employee engagement, higher productivity and an increased sense of their value within the company. Establishing an effective communication strategy is complex but will greatly improve performance and outcomes.