Regardless of industry, every successful company will demonstrate excellent communication. Practical communication skills are important for both employers and employees, whether you are setting objectives, providing feedback, building relationships, overcoming challenges, or managing conflict.
Good communication in the workplace is instrumental in every task and responsibility. With strong workplace communication, all team members understand the company’s ethos, goals, and how their day-to-day work contributes to the business’s success. Therefore, good communication builds trust, strengthens rapport, increases productivity, inspires, unifies, and motivates.
On the other hand, poor communication leads to frustration, confusion, and a lack of trust. If left unresolved ineffective communication can be highly detrimental, leading to internal issues such as increased staff turnover and absenteeism, which stifles company growth and revenue.
If communication is causing difficulties in the workplace, or if you feel there is a potential for it to be improved, we encourage you to read on for our top tips.
6 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication
1. Learn How Your Team Communicates
All of us have a particular style of communication. Our style will shape how we respond to challenges, react to feedback, request or offer help, and how we build rapport. Each style will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses, which, if understood, can help not only the way we feel and behave in interpersonal situations but how we shape ourselves as a team.
We can quickly identify the interaction of these styles in a meeting scenario where perhaps one person dominates, and another is afraid to speak up.
There are four types of key communication styles in the workplace:
- Analytical – Data rather than emotions lead these people. They prefer the use of specific facts, accurate numbers, and correct use of language. They can have little patience for those who are not succinct or are more feeling led.
- Intuitive – This type is goal-oriented and excels in out-of-the-box thinking and articulating big ideas. They do not like too much detail and can struggle with too much information or small moving parts. A broad overview that allows for creativity and enthusiasm is ideal for this type, and they will likely struggle to communicate with the process-loving functional types.
- Functional – This group are process-driven. They require detail, timelines, and well-thought-out, step-by-step plans. Colleagues trust this group to follow through; however, non-functional types may lose interest due to the focus on detail.
- Personal – This group values connection and is truly interested in the moods and feelings of others. The focus is not only on what people think but also on how they feel, and they will emphasise the vibes in a workplace. These skills make them excellent listeners and diplomats, but the analytical and functional types may disregard their input.
There are numerous frameworks and assessments that you can use to assess your team. We are often a blend of all four; however, understanding each person’s dominant type will allow for quality, positive, and effective interpersonal communication at work.
2. Have 1:1 Meetings
Group meetings are often prioritised over 1-2-1s due to perceived time constraints and a focus on productivity goals. Group meetings are beneficial, especially when conveying company plans and project outlines or sharing important news and updates. However, focusing on group meetings will mean you miss out on insightful feedback that can only be gleaned from individual conversations.
Some people are too timid to share their thoughts and ideas within a group but are willing to express important insights in a one-to-one setting.
If it is difficult to set regular individual meetings with employees, try operating an open-door policy that encourages employees to speak out if they have an idea, challenge, conflict, or valuable information to share.
3. Be Transparent With Company Updates
Sharing company news and updates directly with employees ensures they feel included and remain well informed. News and updates may impact the employee personally or affect what the employee communicates to customers and clients. It is therefore imperative that they fully understand the potential impact of these changes and can remain engaged with their role and teammates.
This is a situation where one-to-one meetings are perfect as the employee will feel more confident and able to speak up about any queries or issues they may have.
4. Explain ‘Why’
If an employee or manager does not understand why they are doing something, it can be challenging to remain motivated or to provide the desired outcome.
In order to fully communicate a task or goal, it is therefore essential to explain the why. For example:
- Why you have given the task to a specific person
- Why it needs to be carried out in a particular way
- Why the deadline is fixed or fluid
- Why the job is important to the overall goals of the project or business
5. Give Clear Feedback
A short – but critical – communication tip: Give clear and precise feedback or don’t give feedback at all.
Vague feedback such as “your work has been poor lately” or “you have not been being reliable” is unhelpful as the employee will likely feel threatened, unmotivated, and confused.
Instead, give specific examples, highlight their good work compared to the recent decline, demonstrate empathy and concern, and work out a plan of action you can support them with to get them back on track.
6. Demonstrate Empathy
Finally – demonstrate empathy. All of us will have difficulty in our lives due to personal problems, mental or physical health issues, or stress at work. Therefore, as a manager, it is vital to convey an understanding of your employee’s personal lives and that you care for and support them with difficulties they are experiencing that may cross over into the workplace.
Empathy builds relationships and trust, leading to greater individual productivity, a positive environment, and reduced staff turnover.
Increasing numbers of us are working from home, so there is an even more vital need for positive and effective communication to ensure employees do not feel isolated from their role, their teammates, and the company’s overall mission.
These communication strategies are not costly in time or money, but they do require prioritisation by company leaders and managers. When implemented, these communication tips will strengthen all aspects of the company and lead to increased revenue and long-standing business success.