Business Success: Workplace Communication

Open communication is crucial to a positive and productive work environment. While a business can continue to operate without open communication, it isn’t likely to thrive or reach its full potential. Learning how to develop and maintain open communication in the workplace has a multitude of benefits for the company as a whole as well as for individual team members. It’s also helpful to learn what to do when typical communication issues happen so you can resolve them quickly.

Components and Skills of Communication

Communication between professionals is considered an important soft skill that’s tied to overall success in the workplace. Communication includes both verbal and nonverbal cues and can take place in person, in writing, or over the phone. Effective communication includes the following components:
  • Communicators: The parties sending and receiving the messages are the communicators. Communication involves at least two communicators.
  • Message: The parties convey a message in a variety of ways. Messages can be relayed verbally and non-verbally, by body language, in gestures, in digital messages, and in tone of voice.
  • Noise: Noise refers to distortion that occurs due to differences in what is sent and what is received by the communicators.
  • Feedback: The receiver’s response is the feedback. The sender can then discern whether the original message was received and understood correctly.
  • Context: The context has an impact on receipt and correct interpretation of the message.
  • Channel: The channel refers to the manner in which the communication occurs.
Effective communication involves these skills:
  1. Listening: Strong listening skills ensure that messages are heard and understood correctly.
  2. Assertiveness: Influencing others in an assertive and respectful manner helps people work together positively.
  3. Negotiation: Resolving conflicts with negotiation identifies common goals and helps ensure productive work.
  4. Problem-solving: After a message is received, effective problem-solving skills can help keep team members aligned to work toward a common goal.

Develop Trust for Full Engagement

A positive work environment is built on trust, which fosters open communication. Trust grows slowly in a new business, and it happens as team members make and keep commitments. Trust is also fostered as team members risk being vulnerable with each other. As commitments are kept, team members notice and remember. This makes professional relationships stronger. As trust becomes stronger, employees become more engaged. A natural result of deeper engagement is enhanced performance. Employees who are more engaged care about their work, they put more effort into it, and they even work to develop more skills. A work environment that displays value for employees’ ideas and concerns naturally communicates that these employees are important. Employees respond by working harder to ensure the company’s success. In short, happy employees are more productive employees.

Communicate Objectives and Keys

For employees to work most productively, they need to know and understand objectives and goals. A common goal is important for uniting a team. Management must clearly communicate overall objectives as well as departmental goals. A management team that shares a company’s vision and mission will usually foster a highly engaged work team.

Results of Poor Communication

Poor communication can have a cumulative negative effect on a business. Tentative and even secretive communication erodes trust quickly. When this happens, employees naturally disengage and stop sharing their ideas and concerns. It’s typical for employees in this situation to perceive that management doesn’t value them, and employees will often stop contributing anything beyond the minimum expectations. In turn, management often notices employees’ minimal efforts and assumes that employees aren’t performing as well as they could. Poor communication and the erosion of trust can also lead to a lack of ideas and innovations, which could directly affect how a business grows.

Tips to Improve Communication

Tie open communication into the overall company culture to ensure that employees feel respected and valued. Reward open communication with enthusiasm and respect. Never refuse communication, even if the message is negative. Develop an effective way for employees to collaborate and communicate. Use regular meetings and electronic tools to encourage workplace communication. Remember that open communication requires vulnerability for all parties. Ensure that managers practice open communication to build and maintain trust.