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Tips to Improve Communication in the Workplace
By Hudson Liao on

A lot of people will say that communication is key, but they don’t necessarily do the best job of putting this ethos into practice. Regardless of the applicability, communication is one of the most important skills in the modern world. 

Whether it is done in an office or in an informal setting, it all boils down to conveying information in a concise and accessible way.

The importance of communication is especially important in a large company. A company has both internal and external stakeholders. While it can be tempting to focus on external stakeholders like investors and big-name clients, the internal stakeholders (the employees) must also be kept in the loop.

It goes without saying that an organization needs to have a strong communication strategy in place when it comes to its employees. If a company is lacking in this arena, how can they improve their communication? The answer is pretty straightforward. 

Related: All Hands Meeting: Everything you Need to Know

Format

A communication format must work for the size and philosophy of your company. An organization needs to have dedicated formats in place to ensure information is delivered in a timely and meaningful manner. 

Here are some of the more popular and effective formats that any company can include in their communication plan:

One-on-ones

A manager sits with an employee to have a one-on-one meeting

 

Regardless of how big or small a workplace is, nothing beats the effectiveness of one-on-one communication. When a message is of high importance and there’s a requirement of privacy or clarity, it’s best to communicate directly.

One-on-ones allow employees to interact with each other and with senior-level executives. It also paves the way for more efficient communication between employees and creates an opportunity to give and receive feedback.

Related: 20 Interactive Presentation Games

 

Over the phone

For those topics that are less urgent and require a medium-to-high level of clarity, communication over the phone should be encouraged in the workplace. There are times when some queries can be solved through a simple phone call. 

Not only is it easier to schedule or accomplish, but it is highly efficient. For instance, if an employee wants to clarify something with their boss and immediate response may help, a phone call may be the most efficient option.

Emails

Emails are a blessing of the digital era. Not only do they make communication a seamless experience, but they also improve workplace productivity. Communication without emails is almost unheard of in today’s scenario. 

For instance, if a company has been working on a project for a long time, the employees who have been assigned the project can keep a track of their internal and external communication through extensive email threads. 

Emails increase accountability, productivity, and encourage communication in a corporate environment. They’re a great way to keep a high volume of employees in the loop about specific data points and general information.

Surveys

Two employees take a survey about their business

 

Regardless of how good a company is, there will always be some room for improvement. The best way to find this out is through surveys. 

Surveys allow employees to be open about their work-life and it gives the employer a chance to understand the current state of operations. Surveys also promote a healthy feedback culture in the workspace.

Related: How to Get People to Take a Survey

Tone

Sometimes it is less about what’s being said and more about how it’s being said. Humans are not robots, and they’re always aware of tone and voice (even if it’s subconscious).

It is important to be aware how you are communicating, both verbally and in written messages, because it influences the overall work culture and employee perception. 

Here are some tips on tone to keep in mind while communicating in the workplace:

Keep it light

two employees laugh at work

 

The workplace is usually a tense environment. There’s deadlines, follow ups, client meetings, endless tasks, and so much more. 

Even with the most positive of workplaces, employees are burdened with their task lists. In such cases, a strong authoritarian email from the higher-ups can make matters worse. Hence, it’s good practice to have a positive approach to communication.

Keep all messages free of jargon and make sure they’re easy to comprehend. This encourages an open culture and moves away from the old school colloquial style of business communication. 

Balance authority with friendliness

While it is recommended to have a positive and open culture in the workplace, it is still a professional environment and the tone should always reflect that. All messages should be a mix of friendliness and professionalism. 

It is easy to be swayed either way but the key to having a strong communication strategy is to maintain balance in the workplace

By striking this balance, it becomes easier to switch between the two aspects as and when needed and can make difficult conversations easier and less troublesome for both the company and the employees.

Related: How to Moderate Panel Discussion

 

Don’t be afraid to use emojis

Emojis with different expressions

The most common way most people describe workplace communication is ‘stiff.’ Many companies hold back from being more ‘informal’ in their communication even when the occasion calls for it.

In a workspace, there are plenty of opportunities to let go off the formality and introduce a more casual approach to communication by using emojis. The best way to do so is to use them in regular emails that are being sent out. Emojis help lighten the mood and improve the overall comprehension of the message. 

Emojis also help with de-formalizing a message such as an after-work dinner announcement or even a birthday blast. There are plenty of ways through which emojis can liven up workplace communication.

Encourage a feedback friendly environment

The ‘Employer-Employee’ relationship is a crucial one. Because of its formal nature, there’s little to no room for growth without extra efforts being taken by both parties. 

As an employer, it’s important to understand the current mental state of the employees and it can only be done so by encouraging feedback. 

For an employee, providing feedback whether through a survey or just a simple informal update can make all the difference in the world. By encouraging feedback, companies can identify problem areas and work on them. The absence of a feedback friendly environment harms both companies and employees in the long run.

Related: Communicating Change can be Tough: Feedback is the Key!

 

Frequency

Just like many things in life, timing is everything when it comes to communication. For many companies that have a weak communication strategy, it can be improved simply by working on the frequency of communication. 

Regular check-ins

A manager asks her employee how they’re doing at work

Circling back to having a feedback friendly environment, it is crucial to keep checking in regularly with the employees, ideally on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly basis. 

Why? Not only does it make the employees feel heard, but timing out this effort through in-person or online meetings allows companies to inculcate a culture of open communication. 

Through these regular check-ins, a company can understand employee’s needs, complaints, and even compliments while having the time to work on them before the next meeting.

Follow-up in writing

Meetings are a core part of any organization. Not only are they beneficial but also important to any organization, regardless of its size. However, many people tend to forget the discussions taken place in a meeting the moment it’s over. 

This results in a lot of miscommunication and a loss of productivity. To ensure that it doesn’t happen, there should always be a written follow-up.

By doing so, there is no room left for any errors. Even if it is a one-on-one meeting, a follow-up email that states the discussion helps with the execution aspect and makes it clear for all the parties involved.

Related: Why Trustworthy Leaders Create Trustworthy Employees

 

Periodic group meetings

Speaking of meetings, teamwork makes the dream work in any company. In order to ensure that everyone is on the same page, it’s ideal to have group meetings on a regular basis. 

Group meetings ensure that there’s no lapse in communication and that tasks are being done in a timely manner.

A supervisor holds a group meeting

A Final Note

A workspace, regardless of its size, needs to implement communication strategies to ensure that there’s a symphony in daily operations. 

Humans are invaluable and often difficult to organize, which is a big reason why communication is such a challenge. Even when it comes to the strategies mentioned above, they can’t be applied in a cookie-cutter manner.

The communication strategy has to be customized to suit the needs of the employees of a particular company. 

Every business is facing its unique communication challenge and the best it can do is to tailor these communication strategies to suit their needs and make it work for them. By doing so, businesses can ensure a healthy work environment that fosters happiness, productivity, and open communication.

Foster better communication in the workplace by trying Meeting Pulse, a live action meeting app that makes it easier to distribute employee surveys, take polls, and keep meetings interesting. You can use our emoji sentiment feature to monitor audience engagement, gather anonymous feedback, and lighten up your presentations.

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