Did you know improper or poor workplace communication practices can cost businesses an estimated $1.2 trillion annually? So for many companies, ineffective communication directly impacts their bottom line.
In good news, these communication gaps can be closed with some work. This effort saves businesses money and allows them to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Ways Poor Communication is Costing You
A lack of proper communication is likely doing more harm than you know. It can impact employees’ mental health, performance, and productivity. Here are some key facts and figures about how ineffective communication can cause issues for your business and its staff.
Workers’ Mental Health
It can damage your self-esteem if you’ve ever been in a situation where you’re not feeling heard or valued. As employees spend the majority of their week in a working environment, it can be detrimental to their mental health when their esteem is low. When a majority of employees experience communication issues at work, they report increased stress as the top impact.
This increased stress can cause high rates of dissatisfaction and turnover, as well as decreased performance and morale.
Studies suggest teams lose the equivalent of nearly an entire workday each week (7.47 hours) due to poor communication issues, which cuts into productivity. With so many methods of communication these days, from email to text, and calls to video chats, things can get lost in translation or forgotten entirely.
Poor communication can cause delays in situations where employees must ask for information repeatedly, search through various messaging methods, or speak to their team when conflicting information comes in.
Closing the Communications Gaps
If you’re feeling concerned about those statistics, the good thing is you can easily implement communication practices as soon as now. Improving your workplace with the right connections and discussions doesn’t have to be too involved. Take a look at these methods for closing the communication gaps and decide which ones may be right for you.
Hiring an expert business advisor or consultant will provide you with bespoke advice for your workplace, although we understand this isn’t always a feasible option. That’s why we’ve included our in-depth top tips below:
- Allow One-on-Ones
- Use Communication Tools and Apps
- Actively Listen to Your Employees
- Set Clear Expectations
- Constantly Consider the Balance Between Emails and Meetings
- Provide Useful Feedback to Your Teams
- Organize Fun Team Building Activities to Increase Chemistry
When you let your employees know they can come to you to talk and have an open-door policy, you provide a clear communication channel. One-on-one meetings give staff more space and freedom to discuss topics that they may feel less comfortable discussing with their peers. This comfort level and “safe space” is beneficial for relaying trust through candid conversations or professional concerns.
Use Communication Tools and Apps
Slack channels have kept communication open between departments as businesses implement remote and hybrid working arrangements. These tools and tricks can boost productivity and help keep staff in contact with one another.
Some helpful focus apps keep teams on task, as well. These apps can be advantageous for communication since too many notifications and tabs can distract employees, and taking things offline can help streamline how your teams communicate.
Actively Listen to Your Employees
One large part of effective communication is active listening. When employees share issues they’re facing or aspects of the job they enjoy, actively listen and absorb this information.
Are most of your staff having trouble acclimating to a new system? Perhaps a day of training led by an expert can solve this. Is a difficult client making it hard for your employees to get their work done? Take time to speak with them and understand their concerns.
Set Clear Expectations
Things may shift from an employee’s original job description in a working environment. It’s important to stay in contact to ensure they stay on task and get the right work done. Have the expectations been muddled for some reason? Sure, many employees need to wear many hats, but for some, they may be unclear on expectations during a big project or new assignment. Be clear on your expectations while understanding your team member’s capabilities and qualifications.
A written contract for these duties will help give your employee a point of reference.
Constantly Consider the Balance Between Emails and Meetings
How often have you sat through a meeting thinking, “This could’ve been an email”? Meetings should be reserved for things requiring employees’ time and collaboration because too many meetings on the calendar can lead to less work completed.
Sending a meeting agenda before a meeting is conducive since it allows everyone to prepare and not waste time in meetings playing catch up. It’s also important to factor in who should be there and who can opt out if necessary. While it may be tempting to check emails and continue work in meetings, be sure to wrap things up quickly and ask for devices to be put away.
Provide Useful Feedback to Your Teams
What type of feedback do you typically offer? Is it only under circumstances where something has gone wrong? This feedback pattern will make your employees hesitant to share with you, making communication null and void.
Instead, be sure to provide constructive criticism and positive feedback. It’s also important to create opportunities for collaboration, such as “town hall” meetings where staff can share ideas, thoughts, and other critiques. Allowing for feedback to and from employees improves communication, trust, and value.
Organize Fun Team Building Activities to Build Chemistry
You may be looking at this one and saying, “Really?” Trust us.
Team building activities exist for a reason. Thankfully, if you’re not working in an in-office environment, there are still ways to get your staff to connect through this method. Team building tasks work to do just that, build your team’s chemistry.
It allows the usual professional walls to be knocked down for a fun project and communicate together effectively to get it completed. These activities can be an “escape room” or puzzle. Still, any activity that lets your employees work together, talk openly, and have fun will improve morale and future cooperation.
Effective and efficient staff communication can help any business run more smoothly. It also demonstrates a level of care for your employees beyond their role in the company.
In what ways can your brand improve with these communication methods?
Consider how best to implement these practices and give your business the chemistry boost it needs to continue to thrive.