Being able to communicate in a clear and effective manner is considered as one of the so-called soft skills. As such, it is often neglected, as the employees tend to believe having hard, technical skills will bring them more benefits, whereas many managers don’t pay much attention to one’s communication abilities while recruiting.
Being able to communicate in a clear and effective manner is considered as one of the so-called soft skills. As such, it is often neglected, as the employees tend to believe having hard, technical skills will bring them more benefits, whereas many managers don’t pay much attention to one’s communication abilities while recruiting. As a result, it may happen that a team consists of employees that do not have great communication skills. The whole workplace’s vibe, effectiveness and performance can be influenced in a bad way if communication is failing. Good communication between all employees and employees and executives is highly important. That is why it is worth to put attention on improving communication skills and on applying communication rules across the team that would help maintain strong working relations and aid growth process.
The Importance of Good Communication at Work
Communication at the workplace is not just a mean of exchanging thoughts, ideas, but a kind of a tool that allows better productivity of all involved employees and the team as a whole. Good communication results in better professional relations between employees at the same level and on different positions in the company’s hierarchy. If all employees follow good practices of communication, the vibe in the workplace is pleasant and motivating. By good communication managers can improve the engagement of employees. Finally, it is worth to mention that good communication enables innovation and growth.
Good communication at workplace results in:
- Team building: bringing together employees that enjoy good professional relations with each other are able to freely communicate and smoothly collaborate. A close-knitted team means better performance, high morale and satisfaction from doing the job.
The best thing an organization can do to motivate disengaged employees and ensure those engaged ones won’t lose their passion for work is to make good communication a standard at a workplace.
Good communication improves employee engagement by:
- Providing tools for helping better understanding of needs of employees that managers can use for more accurate assignments of tasks, projects, more adjusted to requirements objectives or better tailored to needs rewards and benefits
- Fostering better on line relationships between employees and management
- Cultivating skills and talents in accordance with the company’s and employees’ goals
- Improving relations between colleagues and providing positive working environment
- Providing ability to notice more hidden employees’ talents or skills and giving managers a chance to use them with a benefit for both company and employees.
Reasons of Conflicts in a Workplace
Poor communication at a workplace results in conflicts between employees and simultaneously conflicts that happen in a workplace can damage communication. Every widely discussed conflict at work hurt trust and motivation among the team. Smaller, personal issues affect satisfaction from job of those concerned and can turn even the most engaged employee into the actively disengaged one. Harsh conflicts resulting from harassment, bullying, unfair treatment can be a driving force for resigning of employees.
Main reasons for conflicts in workplaces are:
- Poor management and poor communication
- Inadequate training and equipment to perform tasks
- Unclear division of tasks and assignment of job role
- Poor communication of objectives, goals from management
- Lack of equal opportunities for all employees
- Harassment, bullying
- Unfair treatment
- Personality clashes between employees
- Sudden increase in workload and unequal division of workload
- Unrealistic expectations and requirements
- Unhealthy competition
- Clash of business values and personal employees’ values.
Most of the above are pretty straightforward, but let’s discuss a bit those few important reasons such as competition, a clash of values, poor communication and difference of personalities. Unhealthy competition in a workplace can be inspired by poor management. Executives that focus only on results and performance statistics and give high prizes for reaching unrealistic goals, might push employees to their limits and make them use unfair tricks to be better than competitors. Sabotaging colleagues or insulting them create a hostile environment at a workplace. Unhealthy competition foster individualistic approach to job, rather than team building, and poor communication between employees. Sometimes a clash of personalities or values makes it impossible to communicate. Especially in international corporations, where employees have different backgrounds, conflicts might arise. The key to avoid this is accepting each other’s personalities, experiences, views on life and business matters. Such conflicts on the basis of a clash of personalities are easier to mitigate than those resulting from a clash of values. If an organization follows completely different values than those in which employees believe, the motivation for work will be hard to find. Most of us have some clear ideas about what is fair or not and discovering that our employer’s values are not in line with our beliefs can inspire disengagement and conflicts with management. Poor communication is the main factor causing conflicts at a workplace. Any miscommunication, lack of explanations behind various decisions (designating task, increasing workload, reassignment of projects etc.) result in animosities between employees or employees and management. If an employee is not aware of what and why something was done and the decisions directly affect him or her, frustration appears. The easiest way to get if off one’s chest is by blaming others. Poor communication makes employees adopt false assumptions.
Let’s focus in this and in next few paragraphs on what benefits can bring good communication at a workplace. Most of the times communication is becoming a main discussion point in an organization, when any sort of conflict arises. Tensions come to the surface and managers, executives start to wonder when it all went wrong. Usually, they discover there was poor communication that created grounds for a conflict to thrive. How poor communication can inspire conflicts? For instance, someone feels like they are very clearly communicating their needs, requirements or feedback, but the receiver has a different communication pattern and the message is misunderstood. Various communication patterns are mostly recognized in a diverse environment. That is why it is vital for the organization to establish its own communication pattern that would be used by all the employees. Management needs to ensure that communication guidelines and rules, do and don’ts, policies are explained in a straightforward manner to the whole team. The pattern of how to communicate in a workplace has to be universal enough to be accepted by people with diverse background. Even if communication is well-designed in a workplace, conflicts still may happen. In such cases following applied communication rules should aid mitigating conflicts. In an openly communicating workplace, each side of the conflict has the right to speak their mind and express their reasons for feeling misunderstood or hurt.
Making Things Clear
Communication is only effective when the message is clear for the receiver. How can anyone implement solutions, obey to rules, complete tasks or fulfill requirements if given instructions and guidelines are unclear, confusing, badly communicated? Good communication at a workplace aims to make things clearer for employees. Any kind of message – a written performance review, a 1 to 1 feedback meeting, employee handbooks, performance reports, emails with instructions, guidelines, training materials etc. – should be composed and transferred in such manner that its receiver understands it. If that is the case, smooth communication at a workplace helps employees perform their tasks flawlessly and without confusion. Employees gain confidence and the whole team benefits from good and fast performance of each of its members.
Dealing with Problems
Good communication is the result of avoiding many problems arising in the first place. Prevention of issues is more efficient, the better communication is and the more procedures are implemented. For instance, problem of two tasks being assigned to separate employees will never occur in a workplace that has developed transparent and user-friendly tools of assigning tasks. However, it is worth to mention that having good communication practices at a workplace does not mean no issues in relations between employees or employees and management will happen. Problems still may appear, because communication is never perfect, as it relies on abilities of the sender of the message. The human factor in communication means that, even with a thoroughly planned communication system, errors might happen. The good news is that they will be easier to deal with than in a workplace with poor communication. If an organization puts communication as one of its priorities, it ensures all sort of issues are addressed instantly and solved in a transparent way. Good communication skills of a manger aids him or her dealing with issues effectively.
More Productive and Talented Workforce
Great performance and high productivity of employees is not only down to their hard skills. Obviously, they need a know-how to perform tasks well, as well as their internal hard skills, but what also matters is engagement. Engaged employees, who are passionate about their job, are performing better than disengaged, burnt-out ones. As we already mentioned before, good communication can inspire engagement. Especially important here is the role of the management of a given organization. By understanding team skills and talents, managers can more accurately allocate workload and assign projects. In a workplace where open communication is a standard, employees are more creative and innovative. Good communication fosters professional relations and loyalty to the organization. A strong, strategic, motivated team is built on great communication. Such team is engaged, productive and composed of talented workforce.
In modern, globalized times many organizations are full of diversity. Employees bring in various elements of diversity, like mixed races, different nationalities, faiths, genders etc. In such environment conflicts arise easily, mainly on the basis of misunderstanding of other person’s personality, background, beliefs, motivation etc. To ensure employees won’t clash with each other and won’t adopt incorrect assumptions about one other, using stereotypes or basing their judgment of other employees on their personal traits, good communication is a must. Managers need to implement policies that will be applied in cases of conflicts or harassment and will contain straightforward clues on how to behave to avoid misunderstandings due to diversity.
Improving Motivation, Loyalty, Satisfaction
Effective communication creates a strong identification with a company. Employees who know, understand and believe in values of the organization, are eager to defend them. Identifying with values and objectives of the whole company inspires engagement among employees and make them loyal. Those who trust management and executives and are sure the feeling is mutual have better motivation for hard work and passion for their job roles. Trust can be only built on the foundation of good communication. On top of that, proper communication strengthens ties between employees which results in a friendly environment. Working in a place where everyone cares about each other, politeness is a standard of communication and one can count on the help of its peers or managers is something that vastly increases employee’s satisfaction.
Communication Rules in Business: Examples
Communication patterns used at home or in a casual situation are completely different than those applicable in business. Each organization needs to establish their own set of communication do and don’ts, but there are some rules which can be common for every company. Let’s have a look at some examples of communication guidelines that – if applied and followed on a daily basis – can improve how the organization and its employees communicate. We divided those into sections for managers and employees.
A manager needs to:
- Define clear priorities, goals and expectations. These shall be achievable and realistic, as well as measurable, so that employees know what is expected from them and how reaching goals will impact their performance review.
- Keep everyone involved as much as possible. Ensure communication is transparent and open. Whenever it is possible employees should be involved. They should also be informed about any issues, problems that an organization is facing.
- Deliver message in a straightforward, polite manner over carefully chosen medium. Speak plainly so that everyone understands. Be always polite, so no one gets offended. Once the message is ready, decide which medium will be the most effective for transferring it – an email, team meeting, printed handouts?
- Show empathy. Always try to put yourself in the place of an employee, trying to see things from his/her perspective and trying to understand motives. Make sure you are showing empathy in difficult situations.
- Listen carefully. Do not focus on one-way communication only. This is a two-way process: you deliver a message and wait for feedback on it. Listen carefully to your employees.
- Set guidelines for mitigating conflicts. It is better to be prepared for potential conflicts. That is why, set guidelines on how to behave whenever any conflict appears and make sure everyone in the team is aware of them.
- Display seriousness, confidence and passion for work. Managers shall set example for others, that is why there is more required from them than from other employees in terms of engagement to job. A strong and confident manager is oozing confidence within his or her team. A manager passionate about his job inspires team members to be engaged.
- Act out the message. Whenever it is possible, try to act out your message – by showing people how things should be done, you make them remember it better than by delivering written instructions.
- Remember about nonverbal messages. In communication it is important not only what you say, but how you say it. Be conscious of your nonverbal message and body language. To be perceived as a strong leader, your gestures and posture have to be in accordance with your words. Attend learning courses on body language to improve in this area.
- Be appreciative. Always remember to thank your listeners, team members at the end of any meeting, during annual performance reviews or 1 to 1s for their hard work and engagement. It may seem like not a lot do to – simply saying thank you – but such messages have strong meaning and resonate well among employees.
- Rely on simple words or visuals. Not everyone in your team has to know some elaborate vocabulary, especially if you have foreigners onboard. The more complicated the words, the more meanings they can carry. That is why always stick to simple words if you want to make sure your message is completely understood. It is also good to use visuals whenever it is possible – images, videos, multimedia presentations are perfect way to deliver the message that will be both amusing for listeners and well-remembered.
An employee should:
- Be polite. Always and everywhere be polite to others. Do not offend anyone under any circumstances.
- Be engaged. Don’t just sleepwalk through your day at work – be present, engaged, try to contribute to project and initiatives. The more you give your attention, the more you will receive it from others.
- Be appreciative. Whenever you receive help or feedback from peers or managers, remember to thank them for their time.
- Listen to others. Don’t focus only on what you have to say but ensure to listen to others carefully and with understanding.
- Write effective emails with simple words and in a gentle manner. Emails are basic way of communication at a workplace. Make sure to write them in such way, that others understand your message. Also, be specific: include a simple header or topic that would allow the receiver to quickly prioritize the email. Always be polite in emails, even if you are in hurry.
At G2A.COM We Know How to Communicate
G2A.COM is the organization that is well aware of the importance of good communication at the workplace. It is vital for us to communicate with each other in a clear and polite manner, especially because our working environment is very diverse. Our company hires employees of various nationalities, backgrounds, beliefs etc. The established set of guidelines of communication aids us prevent or mitigate conflicts. Both managers and employees are doing their best to improve their communication skills. We always are polite to each other and try to listen carefully to the message, no matter if it is delivered by executives, peers, HR officers or help-desk consultants.Back