In any relationship, whether it’s private or professional, miscommunication is the recipe for disaster. The only difference is it costs the company financially in the work environment. Managers feel frustrated because their efforts aren’t producing desired results. Employees feel disengaged, unmotivated, and unhappy resulting in high turnover rates.
Over the last few years, the workplaces have become hybrid — combining office and remote work during the workweek. Even before this shift, companies relied on emerging technologies to stay innovative and competitive in the markets. Remote work only highlighted their importance in today’s business world. What it also highlighted was the growing digital divide across the world.
The digital divide refers to the gap between countries using modern technologies and those with limited or no access to them. In such countries, remote workers have to use their digital tools to do their jobs. Their laptops, tablets, and other gadgets are low-tech. Most of the time, they’re the main reason for breakdowns in communication. You know how frustrating unstable Internet connections, slow laptops, broken speakers, or microphones are. It can ruin any type of communication and lead to misunderstandings.
If you want to establish good communication with your employees, you have to provide them with adequate tools. This means giving them up-to-date tools to stay updated and do their work the way you expect them to. The tools will also boost your communication strategy within the team.
What causes the most problems in the workplace are assumptions. One of those assumptions is that employees can grasp any piece of information, so they never have to ask for clarifications. It’s actually far from the truth. Still, most team leaders don’t leave room for questions, opinions, suggestions, or any other form of feedback.
Your staff needs accurate, timely, and above all, understandable guidelines or updates to meet expectations. Allowing them to ask questions, offer suggestions, or make comments is crucial. It’s the most efficient way of improving business communication and engagement.
When you’re deciding which platforms to use for this purpose, go for the interactive and engaging ones. Such tools are designed for boosting engagement in and out of the office. They offer plenty of features such as comments, emoji reactions, mentions, private and group conversations, surveys, etc. It’s important to remember providing your team with tools isn’t sufficient. You also have to encourage them to use all the features regularly and properly. If you want to learn more about these tools, you can find out more here.
Passive Listening Can Ruin Communication
Another common problem in the workplace today is passive listening. When a person is only passively listening to you, they’re hearing what you’re saying, but they’re not paying any attention to the message you’re trying to convey. They’re not listening to you for several reasons. For example, their mind could begin to wander, or the background noise could stand between you and them.
Assuming passive roles in informal and relaxed environments is acceptable. However, being passive in the work environment isn’t the smartest decision. You’re constantly bombarded with information, updates, and details. Therefore, you have to demonstrate remarkable active listening skills. Apart from being aware of the other person’s words, you should be able to respond appropriately and use body language to support your reactions and thoughts.
If you focus solely on preparing your arguments, you’ll have trouble following their gist. Instead, listen attentively, reflect on what an employee has said, and respond accordingly.
Lack of Feedback
How would you feel if you never received any feedback for your work? Your employees feel the same way when you forget to give them feedback or they overlook the feedback in exchanged emails or messages. If your employees notice you’re having troubles with giving or receiving feedback, probably, they won’t do it at all.
Feedback is an essential part of successful communication in any sphere of life, especially in the business world. It not only gives your employees a voice, but it also shows their voice matters to the organization. When they feel valued in the workplace, they’re ready to go above and beyond if necessary.
To solve this issue, use a separate communication channel for employee recognition and feedback. Whenever an employee exceeds expectations, take a moment and praise them publicly in the channel. This way the right person will receive the feedback, others will feel motivated, and you’ll be building a culture of support.
Nothing diminishes communication in the workplace than oversharing information and details from one’s private life. While transparency is welcome, oversharing definitely isn’t. Most of the time, it results in unconfirmed rumors and gossip spreading around the office. It not only reduces business communication but also employee productivity.
Ensure confidentiality in the workplace. Discuss only relevant matters with the right employees and discourage any type of inappropriate communication. This means team leaders and managers shouldn’t overshare their personal life with employees, at least not during working hours. It distracts employees from doing their jobs. Since the superiors are in a position of power, employees won’t feel comfortable setting the boundary themselves. It’s up to you to control the communication and keep it adequate at all times.
Communication is the foundation of every relationship, especially professional ones. Poor communication between managers and employees can cause severe problems in the workplace. Now that you know which are the most common ones, you can focus on preventing them by improving the communication skills of your staff and management.