January 18, 2020
Performance Management 10 January 2018
Improving Communication in the Workplace
Zinny Allen-Obayagbona
<a href='https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/empty-office-workplace-with-table-chair-and-computer_1006055.htm'>Designed by Freepik</a>

Communication occurs in our everyday lives and is therefore inevitable in the workplace. It’s something we all have to do and need to pay so much attention to. 

Communication isn’t just about what is said verbally but also includes nonverbal cues. This is enough reason why it should be so important to improve communication in your workplace in order to avoid any form of miscommunication where necessary.

The risks of miscommunication are not worth realizing in a work environment. It can create challenges such as a conflict between members of staff or a lack of trust. Negative communication can also have an effect on the morale of employees and may create a situation where employees or departments begin to work in silos.

To avoid these things from happening, I will share below, some ways in which you can improve communication in your workplace.

Listen to them

As a manager, it’s really important that you attentively listen to the needs of your employees or their ideas if they have any. 

Don’t be that boss who loves to talk without making an effort to receive some feedback. Try to consult on the opinion of others. If you believe that their idea isn’t good enough, explain to them your reasons for such.

This will only help them improve their quest to learn more, and ultimately help reduce your workload in the long run. 

As soon as you realize that you’ve been speaking for a while, you might want to take a quick pause to ask if there are any questions or if the message is being understood. 

Allowing free way of communication makes employees feel that they are being valued at their workplace and encourages transparency in the workplace

Communication goes beyond words

As previously mentioned, communication goes beyond spoken words. The tone of your voice is as important. Are you raising your voice at an employee in the workplace? 

Asides the fact that this is wrong, as human beings, when you are talking to someone in a bad tone, you automatically evoke several emotions and at this point, this person isn't even thinking about what you are currently talking about, but experiencing some form of self-doubt and low confidence. This is unhealthy for the workplace. 

You also want to avoid legal actions taken against you as a result of how you speak to a person in the workplace. 

As much as possible, pay attention to body language, gestures, facial expressions, and posture when communicating with employees. Try to make employees feel relaxed and encourage the same from them. Smile.I always tell myself this: “What my intentions are when communicating with a person isn’t what’s important. What’s important is how the person reacts to what is being communicated.”

This is simply because everyone has the right to interpret a message in a way that soothes them. Your goal should be to communicate the right way to avoid negative consequences.

I’m of the opinion that having this in mind goes a long way. 

Set Deadlines/ Expectations

What goals do you have? Let it be clear and don’t forget to set expectations. 

You need to communicate this with employees by possibly organizing a meeting where you can both chat about what needs to be done. Having a one-on-one is always a good idea as most people love their privacy. 

Preferably, you can make a checklist as well as action items. This will let both parties know planned tasks as well as due dates. 

This is also an opportunity to talk about performance at work and promotion if need be. 

It is also important for you to plan ahead of time for any meeting so that you are well prepared to share any information you might have.

Preparing ahead of time will help you feel much more at ease to relay any information and you’ll enjoy it as much as your employees are happy to absorb any information. 

Write Them Down

Communication isn’t lost when it’s properly documented and everyone is aware of this. As much as possible, encourage putting things into writing as this helps simplify what’s been passed across and it's better broken down. 

It’s also important that you both go over what is written so that both parties are aware of what is expected of each person. 

 This can then be sent across to the other person via email after the meeting to follow up. This way, it’s easier to set timelines over what has been communicated. 

Following up will serve as a refresher just in the event that any information communicated has been lost. You and your employee can always refer to it in the future. 

Continue to share your Company's Values

In the past, I wondered why my former organization always reminded us of the company's values, beliefs, etc. 

And then it occurred to me, I had become so familiar with what the company's vision, mission, and goals were. I could say it off the top of my head.

Sharing this with us at every given interval was a good way to communicate what the company's intentions were at each point in time. 

We also had the opportunity to respond to employee surveys since the organization was large and two-way communication was important.

We might not have been able to communicate daily, but being able to share our feedback with top management was something much appreciated.

Communication isn't something that may be perfected at once but taking the right steps sure helps a great deal. Hopefully, these tips will help put you in the right direction.

How have you been able to improve communication in your workplace?

Zinny is a human resources enthusiast with a law background. She dropped her law degree to start a career in human resources. She enjoys writing and continuously writes articles that provide leading practical solutions to help workers with self-development, motivation, and passion towards their job or work-life. She also writes articles that are of importance to employers. Visit her blog: www.zinnyfactor.com to find out more.