In the business sector, we hear about the importance of good communication all the time. “It’s so vital.” “It’s the lifeblood of productivity.” “It can help all your ventures.”
Communication matters – but why, actually? As a leader, supervisor, boss, or anyone in a position of authority, you may wonder: So long as you can get by, do you really need all the fanfare? Do you need to bother developing your employees’ communication skills too?
In fact, yes. Communication should become your priority, because effective communication can impact your experience in a workplace – every day, every minute, on a ground level. From the downsides to a lack of communication to the perks of doing it well, here’s how.
The Negative Impacts of Poor Communication
Here are negative impacts that may have been the result of poor communication – without you even knowing.
Issues With Understanding Tasks
Do you find that employees often don’t understand their tasks? When you assign a task to someone, do they usually have a hard time performing the job adequately? Do you notice that many employees throughout the organizational structure have difficulty understanding their assignments, not just one who stands out?
If you notice a recurring problem, you’re probably dealing with bad internal communication. It’s less likely that employees, one by one, don’t want to do their job. Instead, you need to restructure how you conceptualize the communication process.
Low Rates of Returning Customers
Poor communication doesn’t just impact your employees. It also impacts your customers. Even if you don’t communicate with customers very often, they can invariably tell when you’re unable to communicate effectively inside the organization. They might notice some of these signs:
- Long processing time before shipping physical items
- Long reply times for customer service questions
- Site feedback that doesn’t seem to make a difference
- Disengaged employees
- Different employees telling them different things
All this can make someone choose not to frequent your business again. When you have poor communication, you’ll soon feel that both internally and externally.
Overall, you’ll notice more conflict in your business if you have a communication problem. This can take many forms, from less effective teams to outward disapproval or distaste for certain team members. More often than not, this conflict stems from issues with communication, not necessarily “personality types” clashing.
Your employees can’t start building trust until they’re able to communicate with each other. After all, how can you work with someone if you’re constantly arguing over what needs to be done, how, and for what reason?
This means poor communication skills legitimately lead to conflict that’s difficult – or even impossible – to mitigate. When you focus on improving communication, you’ll also note that your team experiences fewer conflicts of their own.
The Positive Impacts of Great Communication
On the other hand, the ability to communicate effectively creates seriously positive impacts on your business. Here are the main ways:
More Effective Teams
In general, more effective communication will lead to more effective teams. Why?
If you’re able to boost your team members’ ability to communicate with each other, you’ll also boost their desire to do so. Fewer missteps mean more effective work, which is exactly what you should be looking for in a team.
Additionally, because people are more likely to get along, you’ll have the added bonus of people no longer avoiding each other. This ensures work can proceed smoothly, without delays or hang-ups caused by a team refusing to sit down together.
A certain amount of conflict is inevitable in certain environments, because people do have different personalities. However, with better communication, you can handle conflict in the workplace more actively.
Increased Employee Engagement
The concept of employee engagement revolves around some employees feeling closer to their jobs than others. When an employee feels more connected to their work, you’re likely to receive high-quality, efficient performance from that employee.
People who experience more difficulty communicating also tend to have a harder time doing their jobs. With that said, if you put time into making sure every employee is a strong communicator, those employees are more likely to feel comfortable in your workplace.
The result will be higher levels of employee engagement and employee satisfaction, both of which are extremely important for running a great workplace.
A Strong Company Culture
If you’re not thinking about your company culture, you’re ignoring a crucial part of your company’s lifeblood. You don’t need to have that “cool startup culture.” In fact, a strong workplace environment is simply one where employees truly rely on each other for strength and knowledge. Workplace communications can really maximize that.
If you’re working to improve communication, think about what you need the end result to be. What are your reasons for why effective communication is a priority? You should be striving to build a company culture where internal communication and employee satisfaction are both strong components.
How to Build Communication in the Workplace
What can you do to create better communication in the workplace? These tips will make it easier.
Make Time for Communication Training
Simply put, if you don’t make time for the necessary communication training, you’ll never end up improving your skills. No one has A+ skills without effort. Becoming a strong communicator is a journey, not something you can do in an afternoon. You need to understand that when you start.
However, remember that becoming good at something doesn’t take as long as you’d imagine. One professional, Josh Kaufman, estimates that becoming competent in a skill takes only around 20 hours. Focus on the path you need to take, so you can turn those bad communicators into great ones.
Tackle Conflict Resolution Head-On
You can’t handle conflict with absolutely no mention of the conflict itself. Though it’s awkward and uncomfortable at first, part of your ability to improve communication is through improving conflict.
Conflict in the workplace is tough. This is especially true when you’re forced to mediate among employees. It’s tempting to sidestep the problem, but it’s your role to take action. Good communication means doing this head-on.
It might seem counterintuitive, but when you make a concerted effort toward addressing problems, you’ll actually be more effective at mitigating conflict.
Allow for a Learning Curve
Are you just embarking on the learning process? Then you need to give your employees some grace in practicing their new skills. No one is great at workplace communications when they’re brand new at it. You have to help them develop their ability to speak for and with the whole of the business.
Consider this process similar to student learning. A teacher isn’t going to ridicule their students for not knowing certain things at the beginning of the year. In the same way, you’re more likely to end up with thoughtful, communicative employees if you encourage them to develop their talents and skills. Avoid becoming frustrated at their current skill level.
The Importance of Investing Into Communication
Great communicators don’t happen by accident. You shouldn’t let the effort it takes dissuade you from investing into communication.
Building effective teams is all about ensuring great communication. Invest time, money, and energy into improving your employees’ communication skills – and your own. At the end of the day, you’ll all reap the benefits from that process.