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How to improve workplace communication

Posted on 01-08-15 in Cognition

How to improve workplace communication

A workplace consists of a team of professionals working toward a common goal. Each individual does their part to ensure the success of the organization as a whole. Naturally, this dictates that clear communication both between departments and within departments is essential. How can all employees, regardless of their roles and responsibilities, do their part to effectively and efficiently correspond with each other? Here are some tips on how to maximize such interaction for all in the workplace.

Modern technology has the advantage of hastening the speed of communication, especially in a busy work atmosphere where one-on-one communication is not always possible. However, if the person sending an electronic message, such as an email, is not explicit enough with their intent, then it may be misconstrued. Communicating by computer does not always allow the recipient to have as clear an indication of the other’s body language or facial expressions. As a result, coworkers should be encouraged to maintain a level of in-person communication to avoid any confusion. For instance, a supervisor may choose to personalize a compliment to a new hire by taking the time to congratulate them at their desk.

It is also essential to encourage cultural sensitivity in the workplace as much as possible. This includes respecting an employee when he or she requests time off to observe a religious holiday. Sensitivity training should be a mandatory focus of the orientation process for new employees. It is also wise to offer vegetarian or kosher meal options if there is a dining hall in your workplace. Obviously, harassment of employees for such personal lifestyle choices should not be tolerated and should be understood by all as being grounds for dismissal.

Many companies, regardless of their industry, will hold meetings to ensure that employees in a department are on the same page and have a clear understanding of expectations. However, it may be necessary to improve how efficient and productive each meeting is. Be sure that a meeting is held so it’s planned and that an agenda is provided for clarity amongst the team. Make sure that each attendee of a meeting has their specific purpose in being present and that they are aware of what they will be addressing individually.

A supervisor should be aware of the best learning and communication methods of each of their employees. Some may be more naturally inclined when it comes to writing and some may demonstrate greater strengths in speaking in group settings. Likewise, some may be better suited to listening to a message, whereas others may respond better by reading it. Also consider what communication method is most appropriate based on the information itself.

Perhaps your company has remote employees that work offsite and as a result, it may be more difficult to feel like they are a part of the team. To assist with this, you may choose to hold group video conferencing with these individuals, so that your team will feel a more personal connection with them and vice versa. Such a method may prove especially helpful for those who hold freelancing positions.

Sometimes, an employee may have a concern about the workplace that they would like to see improved. However, he or she may be worried about voicing such opinions, since they are worried they may be seen as being too critical. Therefore, an anonymous suggestion box may prove to be the best solution in this case. Though this is hardly a new concept, it nonetheless allows people to express matters that they may not otherwise be comfortable addressing.

Finally, it’s important to remember that that one key to improving employee morale is to organize occasional group events outside of the workplace. This will help coworkers to feel they have an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company on a social level. Everyone may then return to work afterward with the opportunity to feel more refreshed and relaxed around each other. Such efforts will help to create a work environment that is more comfortable for everyone and interactions will be improved as a result.

Written by Ryan McMaster, Sovereign Health Group writer