As an employer, you know first-hand how vital effective communication is to the overall success of your business. It’s the core factor in boosting employee engagement, team management, and client relationships.
In fact, an article by SHRM showed that a company with over 100,000 employees loses more than $60 million a year because of inadequate communication.
The relative cost to a mid to small sized employer is even more impactful.
So whether you’re a startup or more mature organization, there is always room to improve your workplace’s communication. An effective communication strategy will increase employee productivity, promote a better understanding of goals and responsibilities, and improve employee relationships.
To help, here are several simple ways your business can develop a more effective workplace communication strategy.
Let’s be honest, we have all accidentally turned on a one-way street in the wrong direction. It’s a moment of total panic; cars start honking, headlights flashing in our eyes, creating an opportunity for a jam or wreck.
One-way communication is very similar, causing stress and potentially leading to a crash.
Communication should never be solely one-way or top-down. You cannot run a successful business without communicating with all levels of the hierarchy within your organization.
It is important for your company to have strong upward communication, information flowing from employees to managers. Employees feel empowered and have higher job satisfaction when their managers listen and respond to their questions and concerns.
As well, employees value downward communication, information flowing from higher to lower levels within your organization. It is essential that your employees are aware of your organization’s mission, goals, policies, and appreciation.
Why is showing appreciation to your employees important? It builds a relationship of trust. According to a Cicero study, 50% of employees say being thanked by managers improved their relationship and built trust with their higher-ups.
A workplace that communicates effectively as a whole establishes a “safe” place for people to think creatively and express their ideas, resulting in more creative brainstorming.
To promote two-way communication within your company, follow these tips:
- At the end of a meeting, provide time for employees’ questions and concerns. It’s estimated that 46% of employees rarely leave a meeting knowing what they’re supposed to do next. Providing time for employees to ask questions can eliminate confusion and increase productivity.
Here at McGohan Brabender, we encourage employees to submit questions, concerns, or ideas that will be answered during monthly employee meetings. The purpose is to share information about our employees’ successes, our areas of potential improvement, and evaluate our goals. Sometimes these questions put the company on the spot, but we value the opportunity to address our workforce.
- When sending a company-wide email, ask all employees for their thoughts and questions and thank them for their hard work and dedication. This allows employees to know they are valuable and their work is significant to the company.
At McGohan Brabender, our weekly email update from our CEO always ends with an invitation to respond and an expression of appreciation to employees for their hard work and dedication.
- Be transparent about your company goals so everyone is on the same page and individuals can see their contributions to the overall company vision. Transparency builds employee trust and relationships.
- Always encourage your employees to share their thoughts, offer feedback, and get involved in the discussion.
Encourage Employee Interaction
Whether it’s sharing a joke in the breakroom or showing off pictures of your family from the weekend during lunch, interacting with coworkers helps us get through the workday.
Communication in the workplace goes beyond relaying a message – it’s important to cultivate relationships by interacting with our co-workers. A powerful benefit of encouraging employee interaction is more highly engaged employees that can better align and satisfy the goals of your company.
In turn, this creates a more positive and satisfying work environment that leads to an increase in productivity and motivates employees to contribute to organizational success.
Not quite sure where to begin? Don’t worry, I have you covered!
To increase employee interaction and build relationships throughout your organization, follow these tips:
- Make company-wide meetings fun and exciting! Start off meetings with an exciting, interactive game, giving employees time to mingle and connect.
At McGohan Brabender, we inject a good dose of entertainment into our monthly staff meetings. It could be a lip-sync contest, a trivia game, or an in-house video that uses parody to promote company news.
- Award employees with time to volunteer together. This promotes team engagement and boosts cooperation, along with great publicity for your company.
MB offers every employee the opportunity to take an additional eight hours of paid time off to volunteer at the organization of their choosing. Learn more here.
- Create group-oriented goals to increase teamwork. Encourage mutual respect and collaboration among employees, instead of competition.
It’s no secret that we all send emails to our coworkers when their office is located directly next to ours, even on the other side of the cubicle.
Does this mean we’re lazy? No, just an ineffective communicator!
Although technology is a convenient communication channel, it has downgraded the importance and effectiveness of face-to-face communication in the workplace.
Are you communicating solely through email and text?
Then you are likely sending the wrong message to your employees. This is because nonverbal cues aren’t contributing to the message, creating an opportunity for misinterpretation of your idea or meaning.
So what should you do instead?
Try more face-to-face interactions with your employees, as it builds a connection. In turn, this makes it easier to understand the needs and goals of one another, while creating a relationship built on trust.
Have you spent so much time on your computer and phone that you forgot how to speak with an employee? Not to worry, I have your back!
Here are some simple ways to put face-to-face communication back in your workplace:
- Pay a visit to your coworkers’ office or send them a friendly call when you have a question, instead of sending an email. It’s more personal and demonstrates importance.
At McGohan Brabender, our top-level management regularly stops into the various departments, giving employees the opportunity for face-to-face, friendly communication.
- Video chat with employees and clients in separate buildings instead of calling on the phone. When they have a visual, it allows them to feel connected and engaged.
Our weekly updates from our CEO are often done in an informal video format, adding a personal touch that allows body language and nonverbal cues to contribute to the message.
- Schedule a biweekly meeting with your department team instead of sending weekly email updates. It will allow team members to feel safe to share ideas they may not normally share via email.
Are you a perfect employee with no room for improvement?! Then this section doesn’t apply to us.
Just kidding – There’s always room to improve! You can make your best even better by soliciting frequent, quality feedback throughout your entire organization. Effective feedback, both positive and negative, can lead to a positive change in your employees and overall business.
Not only accepting feedback but seeking feedback, sends a message that your company is open to new ideas, constructive criticism and values individual’s input.
In addition, providing feedback to employees is essential for them to know that you recognize and appreciate their efforts, or expect them to work harder.
Did you know that just by acknowledging an employee’s hard work, you can motivate them to produce their best work? Don’t just take my word for it, though! According to a study by Social Cast, 69% of employees say they would work harder if they were better appreciated and recognized.
Imagine the results you can produce with this one simple tweak in how you communicate with your employees!
To help you get started, here are some ways to integrate feedback into your workplace:
- Encourage feedback by creating a suggestion/question box and address each entry during a company-wide meeting. By addressing entries during a meeting, it provides the opportunity for employees to generate new ideas and solutions.
McGohan Brabender is intentional about providing feedback year round, not just during annual performance reviews. It is built into our work schedules for quarterly feedback with specific forms and guidelines to maximize effectiveness.
- Schedule feedback sessions in a private meeting room and always end the session on a positive note. This helps eliminate distractions and reduce stress in employees. Provide time for the employee to ask questions to confirm they understand.
- Allow members of your organization to provide feedback anonymously. It will give employees the opportunity to feel safe to share their input they may normally hold back.
- Provide new employees with quarterly feedback sessions within their first year to ensure they understand why, or why not, their work meets your company’s expectations.
Communication is an essential, but often overlooked, component of workplace management that can elevate your business, clarify your goals and provide a path to success. At McGohan Brabender we like to say, “Treat your employees the way you want your employees to treat your clients.”
Effective communication is where it all starts.