7 Effective Tips to Improve Workplace Communication

remote meeting
Laura Alexander
February 22 2024

It’s hard to imagine a functional workplace without communication. We talk with each other to express our thoughts and concerns and to ensure that work is going well.

Still, workplace communication can lead to internal struggle rather than offer solutions to various problems.

According to Forbes, more than 28% of full-time employees work a hybrid model, while almost 13% work exclusively from home.

The shift in working model preferences calls for companies to rethink their communication efforts. Regardless of who the employee is or where they are from, it’s imperative to guarantee that effective communication is present throughout the entire organization.

Why Workplace Communication Is Important?

It’s more or less impossible to build expectations without proper communication. Everyone knows their role clearly if they receive instructions and goals.

Communication also encourages teamwork and trust among colleagues. On the other hand, lack of communication leads to misunderstandings and potential conflicts, disrupting the workflow.

In some of the worst cases, poor communication culture within a company translates into absenteeism, quitting, and unhappy customers.

Thankfully, there are ways to address these glaring issues before they snowball out of control. Let’s take a look at effective tips to improve workplace communication.

1. Encourage Feedback From Everyone

Many employees fear to share their thoughts not just with higher management but also with their peers.

They believe that doing so will be harmful to their status within the company. However, keeping things to yourself can cause even more harm in the long run.

Bottling everything inside leads to frustration and burnout. Meanwhile, constructive criticism works as a means to vent and potentially improve productivity.

Different employees see things from different perspectives. Their insights could prove valuable, which is why companies ought to encourage feedback from everyone, regardless of what work they do.

2. Utilize Modern Software Solutions

The days of email communication feel outdated. Right now, businesses are adapting modern software solutions, such as instant messaging tools like Slack.

A communication platform that lets you exchange messages instantly and notify a recipient improves overall efficiency. In addition, such software also comes with extra features, like pinning important messages for the channel to see or recording voice messages to give clearer instructions.

Live video and voice communication are a given, too, particularly in the age of remote working. Some responsibilities come with in-depth conversations to minimize potential mistakes. And when you cannot meet in person, there’s room for potential misunderstandings, which is why video chats are the next best thing.

Besides instant messaging platforms, tools like Trello are also quite handy. Trello is an example of a collaboration platform that provides lean management and makes project management much smoother when multiple people have to work together.

3. Organize Regular Meetings

Regular meetings should not be just about giving basic information that one can share via email. No, such meetings ought to encourage in-person communication as much as possible.

Depending on the company’s size, it may be difficult to have as many interactions as one might like. At the same time, if the meetings are too big, there’s always the option to segment them and have department-specific meetings.

Ultimately, meetings should motivate employees to share their thoughts and ideas whenever they can. It’s a sign of a healthy company and one that thrives thanks to everyone having an opportunity to express themselves.

4. Make Sure People Follow Up and Avoid Assumptions

One of the biggest pitfalls of poor communication is failing to follow up and avoid assumptions. Whenever something is unclear, employees should seek clarification. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, or going to the responsible party in person, any action works so long as it helps clarify an issue.

Ideally, those who assign a task should provide clear instructions and double-check to make sure that the recipient understands everything. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to put enough effort into ensuring that everything is in order.

Unsuspecting employees might make assumptions and continue with the work, thinking they know what they are doing. If such actions lead to small and easily fixable mistakes, then it’s not a big deal. Conversely, it’s still a sign of a poor company culture, which should be addressed.

5. Create Company-Wide Transparent Policies

Poor overall company culture is a hindrance to effective communication. When organizations lack transparency, it leaves a lot of room for interpretation.

People start talking behind the backs of their peers, gossiping and spreading rumors about how somebody got a bonus or extra days off because they did such and such.

It’s up to HR and other responsible departments and individuals to create and implement company-wide transparent policies that minimize rumors. A sudden shift to a new approach might disrupt some things and expose certain people.

Then again, if these things were going to resurface eventually, the sooner the company addresses them, the better. Sweeping problems under the rug can only last for so long. If making them public changes the company’s culture for the better, then there’s even more reason to take that step.

6. Organize Communication Training Sessions Regularly

You can find a plethora of different training programs dedicated to individuals, teams, departments, and entire organizations.

Communication is no exception, and it shouldn’t be a surprise, considering how much of a foundation it is.

Some employees might lack communication skills due to the nature of their work. They don’t have to interact with clients directly and spend most of their time working on personal projects, checking in with others occasionally via a phone call or a message on Slack.

Similarly, customer support representatives who have to deal with people might struggle to keep cool due to all the problems they have to deal with while working under pressure.

When ignored, both individual and company-wide communication limitations grow and lead to further issues. Alternatively, fixing these limitations via tailor-made training programs builds a company culture that thrives on effective communication.

7. Learn From Mistakes

The last tip to consider is how each and everyone can learn from mistakes. To err is human, but each mistake should work as a reference for how one can improve.

If you reach out to the IT department to ask how to make your MacBook faster and receive basic tips because the IT guy couldn’t bother, talk to them about it instead of ignoring such a behavior.

Another example is having supervisors who bombard you with too much information. Information overload is counter-productive. Tell the supervisor that you struggle to keep up, and explain how receiving less content would help you.

Communication is a two-way job. The person on the other side might be making a mistake without realizing it. By talking to them, you help them understand the issue. And once they become aware of it, they are less likely to repeat the same mistake.

To sum it all up, workplace communication is one of those things that require attention. Professional and personal relationships go much smoother in the workplace when there is an environment that encourages a culture of feedback and shows care for communication.

Everyone should be able to improve their communication skills. Sometimes, a person just needs a little push and a reason to improve. It’s up to HR and others responsible to catalyze change within the workplace.

Laura Alexander is a freelance digital content manager and copywriter. She specializes in tech, ecommerce, and educational content.

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