Good communication in the workplace is essential for business success, but is something we tend to take for granted without giving much thought to. In a digital age it’s all too easy to get caught up in a never-ending stream of emails and forget the benefits of face-to-face conversation. However, effective interaction is known to increase workplace productivity and foster positive relationships between employers and employees, so it’s worth paying attention to how you communicate.
As every workplace is different, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to a better communication strategy, but here are just a few places to start.
1. Open meetings
One of the most commonly used methods of communication in the workplace, meetings are an easy way to share news, hold open discussions and give employees the opportunity to share their thoughts. They can also be a good way to boost staff morale by using them as a forum to celebrate successes and praise hard work.
Emails are a crucial form of communication in most workplaces (we’ve all witnessed the mass panic when the office email server goes down!) as they are an effective way to liaise quickly and efficiently with anyone in the world. It’s also useful for many people to have information written down to be referred to when necessary, so that they know that nothing has been missed or forgotten.
Holding more meetings in an already-busy workplace might seem counterproductive, but just a 15-minute one-to-one can make a big difference. As well as being able to check in on the progress of the employee and discuss any problems they might be facing, it’s a morale-booster for them to know that their contributions matter.
4. Visual presentations
Some people retain information better if it’s all mapped out in front of them, so consider using visual aids to support verbal presentations. Using simple graphs and bold key words can work wonders for helping information sink in.
5. Display confidence and seriousness
How you communicate with others can matter just as much as what you’re saying. Speaking in a clear and stable voice, making eye contact and listening to what the other person has to say are all hallmarks of a confident communicator.
6. Be articulate
Resist the urge to use business jargon and unnecessarily complicated words – make sure to keep it simple and straight to the point.
7. Create a receptive environment
If employees feel they are working in an environment that allows them to address their issues openly, and be listened to by management, they are far more likely to be engaged and happy in their roles. Transparency about changes within the company is always appreciated, as it implies a trust and respect. For example, if a business were to implement new software that would impact the wider team, the employees would be more accepting of the change if they had been involved in the decision-making process.
8. Listen to your team
Building trust with employees is imperative for an empowered and proactive workforce. Listening to what your employees have to say will reassure them that their opinions and feedback matter to the business, which in turn will make them feel more appreciated.
9. Encourage feedback
When you’re heading up a business it can be easy to overlook the day-to-day operations, so asking for feedback from employees is an easy way to gain some ‘on the ground’ perspective. Let your employees know that their honesty is appreciated and will be used to make improvements and inform future decisions.
10. Be appreciative
Even a simple ‘thank you’ to acknowledge a job well done will reassure your employees that their efforts are being recognised, and we all know that an employee who feels appreciated is more likely to be engaged and more productive at work.
These are just a few ways in which you can improve communication, and good communication is just one of the routes to improving the productivity within your business. We’ve put together a brand new guide to give you everything you need to know about increasing productivity – download ‘A Best Practice Guide to Maximising Productivity’ here.