Effective communication within the workplace can become increasingly challenging as your company grows in size and the communication process becomes complex.
Characteristically, some of these communication challenges arise because of cultural diversity and sometimes poor leadership.
In this article, we'll discuss the concept of effective communication, its importance and a few tips and strategies to help you facilitate effective communication in your workplace.
What Is Effective Workplace Communication?
Effective communication describes the entire process of information sharing — sending, receiving, interpreting and understanding — between two or more people, which leads to a desired result.
Furthermore, communication can be said to be effective when the message sent is received and interpreted correctly, without any distortion.
The key word in the definitions of effective communication is shared meaning and understanding, i.e. for effective communication to take place, the message sent must be correctly interpreted by the receiver and acted upon accordingly. This is known as two-way communication.
If you get employees to communicate effectively in your workplace, it will give room for creativity, open communication, expression of ideas, collaboration, and ultimately productivity.
6 Cs of Effective Communication
Whether written or oral communication, the following is a checklist of the essential components of effective communication:
- Completeness: do not assume what your audience knows or doesn't know. Ensure that you communicate the purpose of the message. This can be achieved when your communication conveys the who (persons concerned), why (purpose), when (date and time), what (the event) and where (location) of the information being passed across. Do not leave out any information that the audience needs to know.
- Conciseness: this is about passing your message with fewer words. It's about getting straight to the point and avoiding wordy phrases and meaningless expressions that clutter information. For example, the statement, "Mr. Hughes' car is bad due to the fact that everyday when he drives to work, the road he plies is very bad" can be reduced to " Mr. Hughes' car is bad because of bad road conditions."
- Correctness: ensure you are correct with your spellings, pronunciation, punctuation, names, gender, title and the information itself. Correctness is so important that just a wrongly placed punctuation mark can totally change the meaning of a sentence.
- Coherence: ensure that your ideas connect and all parts of your message fit together. Using transition words such as however, then, therefore, and so on can help you transition properly and tie sentences together in a meaningful way.
- Concreteness: this emphasizes the importance of using specific words and terms. Using concrete words prevents misinformation and ensures mutual understanding. It also reduces the possibility of your audience seeking further clarification.
- Courtesy: effective communication must be polite and unbiased. The receiver's culture, beliefs, and values must be respected.
Benefits of Effective Communication in the Workplace
Maintaining effective communication ensures that both the management team and the respective employees under them are on the same frequency. Characteristically, this ensures a smooth workflow.
Encouraging good communication within the workplace has numerous benefits; some of which are effective communication:
- Improves Employee Efficiency: effective communication will help you connect better with your employees, as well as help you gain a good understanding of their individual skills and abilities. This knowledge will inform how tasks are assigned. Furthermore, ensure you communicate instructions clearly and correctly to employees. This will help them carry out tasks as is expected. Consequently, this enhances employee performance and guarantees that resources, such as time — and sometimes money — are well utilized to increase productivity.
- Improves Employee Retention: research shows that effective communication in a workplace can help with retaining high-performing employees. Listening to employees' questions/suggestions, providing feedback, and addressing concerns are signs of effective leadership. When this happens, employee performance is enhanced, and employee turnover is greatly reduced.
- Boosts Teamwork and Collaborations: team building is a strategic managerial function and involves a lot of effort. However, effective communication plays a major role as it helps to prevent/resolve workplace conflict and as a result provides a healthy atmosphere for teamwork and collaboration.
- Improves Employee Engagement: communication is beyond just talking. If done properly, it can help create a bond and build healthy relationships. Consequently, effective communication between employer/management-employee or employee-employee can make employees feel valued — like they belong to a family — thereby motivating performance.
7 Tips to Facilitate Effective Communication in the Workplace
Every organization must ensure that effective communication is established in company culture. If implemented successfully, employees are encouraged to align with your organizational goals from the onset of their employment.
Let's look at a few other tips that can help you facilitate effective communication in your workplace:
- Use Active Listening: this is listening to others without interrupting, also observing non-verbal cues. Listening with intent and not talking over others makes communication go smoothly and reduces the possibility of being misunderstood.
- Promote Face-to-Face Communication: communication has changed today due to advances in technology. In workplaces there are several communication tools that have been introduced to facilitate easy communication, such as emails, video and web conferencing, project management and social media platforms. Research shows that it is easier to misinterpret information sent via online forms of communication — even if you have good intentions — than it is to misinterpret one-on-one communication. This is because face-to-face communication involves nonverbal communication such as body language, facial expressions, eye contact, and so on. These elements can further help the receiver interpret and understand your message correctly.
- Provide Clear Information: clarity is a very essential element of any form of communication. Consciously attempt to pass across your message using simple and non-ambiguous words. This reduces the chances of miscommunication. It also ensures that your message is received the first time.
- Handle Conflicts and Complaints Promptly: in cases where there is a complaint from/or conflict between employees, your human resource manager or any other management officers must quickly address the issues and nip them in the bud. When complaints and conflicts linger, it can greatly affect interactions within the workplace.
- Organize Regular Training: communication is a skill that can be learned and improved upon. Therefore, if need be, you should organize training programs to help improve your employees' communication skills. The effect of this will not only be seen in internal communication, but will also be seen in how your employees relate to clients.
- Avoid Controversial Topics: while it is OK to relate and connect on a personal level within the workplace, employers and employees must however refrain from discussing controversial topics in the work environment — such as politics, religion, sexuality — especially when/if they are unrelated to the job. Discussing personal topics such as those listed can make people uncomfortable, defensive and ultimately leaves off negative energy.
- Encourage Feedback: since communication involves two or more people, communication is therefore not complete or effective until the receiver acts accordingly. It is more important to get feedback since the aim of employee communication is to achieve specific business goals and objectives. Every person-to-person communication must always involve feedback.
The bottom line is that for effective communication to take place, every element involved in the information sharing process — sender, receiver, message and the medium — must be at optimal performance.
Manage Account Data Effectively With Skynova
Just as effective communication is vital for companies who have employees and external audiences — such as suppliers and customers — similarly, effective income and expenses management is important for small businesses.
The most important use of accounting data is to communicate financial information that helps you make better financial decisions. Skynova accounting software can help you manage your invoices, track your expenses and keep your financial data accurate and up-to-date.
Check out our various industry tailored templates and explore new and improved ways to make your small business accounting effective and efficient.
Notice to the Reader
The content within this article is a general guide and may not apply to your specific situation. Always consult with a Management Consultant or a professional Human Resource Personnel to ensure you're meeting acceptable workplace standards.