Ways to improve your workplace communicationsPublished on 2021-10-27
Making sure you have seamless and accessible workplace communication is key in business, such as by installing the right technology, providing for disability awareness, and implementing the right practices. Why is communication important in the workplace? Without healthy communication, productivity breaks down, team cohesion is lost, trust in the organisation wavers, and mistakes occur that will impact a business. In this guide, we provide tips for how to improve workplace communications for everything from small offices to global enterprises.
Install the right technology
A key part of effective communication in the workplace is the use of the right technologies. Every workplace and office should take the time to install helpful technology; this includes everything from goods lifts for easy transportation of stock to communications software.
There are so many helpful tools and tech at our disposal that can make communication so much easier and organised. For example, instant messaging services like Microsoft Teams and Slack allow for fast communication between employees. You can even organise discussions by teams to help keep things organised. A lot of these tools also allow for screen sharing and video calls, which makes communicating with different offices or remote working employees so much easier.
Jotform, a company that helps businesses integrate various platforms like Google Docs with their customisable forms, discuss the benefits to communication that technology like Slack and Teams can provide:
“These platforms give us the ability to separate different conversations into channels. They allow instant and asynchronous communication in the same thread. They also make more discussions public, helping to keep the whole team on the same digital page. The end result is a more agile communication pipeline.”
Have proper channels in place
Having a well-organised company is key for successful communication, as a result, your workplace must have proper channels for discussion in place. If employees know that they have a team leader to talk to and that leaders have a manager, and then above them a head of department, everyone knows who to speak to in order to get help with their issue. If everyone is going straight to the top with their questions or concerns, not only will business owners get frustrated but those in the middle won’t have the information they need.
It’s also helpful for staff to know who they can speak to about their job. This is where regular one-to-one meetings with a manager come in as a helpful avenue for raising issues in a private manner that can then be escalated further up the chain of command if need be.
Peakon, a people analytics company, recommend one-to-one meetings as a helpful means of improving communication: “Even if you have an ‘open door’ policy available to your team, some employees will always find it easier to communicate in a more private setting, especially at their job. Whether you decide on a weekly or monthly one-to-one, make sure it’s set up as a recurring event in your calendar.”
Make sure that everyone is contactable
If your workplace ensures that everyone in the company is contactable during business hours, this will prevent all sorts of communication errors. If a member of the staff can’t contact who they need to, perhaps because their email address or telephone number isn’t available to all, this will inevitably slow things down and mean that the right people aren’t kept in the loop.
If someone is sick or away from work, staff should know who they can contact in that person’s stead, even if that person is high up the food chain. Having a system in place where each team member can contact each other, through various channels like telephone, email and instant messaging, will help communication links stay connected.
Create an open and welcoming environment
If your workplace isn’t open and welcoming to all, staff won’t feel like they can communicate effectively. A business needs to make sure employees feel comfortable, valued, and that they can trust those who they work with. Creating a welcoming environment can be something like making sure your workplace is accessible and there are wheelchair lifts available for disabled staff, but it can also mean creating a workplace where all staff feel their ideas are valued and respected.
Officevibe, a helpful platform for managers looking to engage with team members, shares: “In a communication-friendly culture, it’s essential to emphasise the importance of expressing emotions, ideas, and being unafraid to bring up difficult conversations.”
If you have cultivated a workplace where everyone feels comfortable, communication will improve, ideas will flow, and innovation will occur. Don’t let good ideas go to waste because low-level staff don’t feel like they can speak up or that employees are afraid to talk to their managers.
Train staff to communicate in the right way
Good communication is a skill, one that not everyone has at first but one that can be improved with training. It’s a good idea to invest in training your staff to be effective communicators, just as you would in order to do any other part of their job. Staff need to know the correct methods of communication, what tools to use and how to use them, such as proper email etiquette; making it clear that a response is needed from the recipient.
If skills like these aren’t in place, communication will suffer, deadlines get missed, and your clients/customers will also notice the impact. Fortunately, training for workplace communication can be found. Human resources operating firm OperationsInc is one such company that can provide the necessary training for a workplace to communicate effectively. OperationsInc explains the benefits of communication skills training:
“Clear and effective communication is critical at every level of your business. Improving the communication skills of your teams can improve productivity, efficiencies, working relationships, and the overall culture of your organisation.”
Making an investment to improve communications skills among employees at all levels is something that can certainly pay off.
Provide physical spaces
The internet has provided so many wonderful avenues for connecting and made communicating in the workplace so much easier, especially for remote working employees. However, sometimes a physical space can be a real boon to a company’s communication level. Try to ensure your workplace has a physical space where staff can meet in person, hash out problems, collaborate on projects, and generate ideas. Allowing people to meet in person means that staff can feed off each other’s energy and make progress that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Further still, as human beings, we communicate in more ways than with our voices; ensuring that employees can be in the same room as one another to talk face to face will prevent things from being lost in translation or misinterpreted.
Disability awareness training
An important factor for any workplace is the level of disability awareness training it has undertaken. Disabled employees won’t be able to communicate effectively if their unique needs aren’t met or their colleagues lack the correct awareness. Just as importantly, other members of the team might not be able to communicate with disabled staff effectively, preventing collaboration. Those with disabilities have so much to offer a business so it’s important that they have a workplace that respects them and allows them to contribute, despite their disability.
Speaking about the importance of communication for disabled employees, Celebrating Disability – a company which provides disability awareness training for workplaces – has the following to say: “When there is effective communication with a person with a disability at work, the emotional support it provides gives a sense of empowerment as well as independence. This helps to create a more inclusive working environment with a more upbeat, diverse and cohesive workforce. Members of an organisation will feel relaxed, working alongside one another in a stronger, united team.”
Disability Solutions offers employee training for disability awareness in the US and states their perspective on why such training is needed in the workplace: “Ensuring that your workforce is properly trained on disability awareness while addressing with them many of the common misconceptions about the disability community, is not only empowering and enlightening to your team, it creates a more diverse and inclusive work environment, and ultimately improving your business.”
Don’t make the mistake of letting down disabled employees and damaging your businesses communications capabilities as a result.
If you want to make your workplace more welcoming for disabled staff, why not install a disabled platform lift? An accessible workplace will go a long way towards creating a friendly and open environment for all staff.
Tips for improving workplace communication
- Install the right technology
- Have proper channels in place
- Make sure that everyone is contactable
- Create an open and welcoming environment
- Train staff to communicate in the right way
- Provide physical spaces
- Disability awareness training
There are a number of successful communication styles in the workplace to consider but we hope the above tips and advice will prove useful in your own efforts. With some investment and organisation, a lot can be achieved.
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