Effective communication is the key ingredient in any collaborative process. Interactions in the workplace are no different. Excellent business communication is an essential part of day-to-day efficiency. When everybody is clear about their own roles and responsibilities, workflows (as the name suggests) actually flow.
Likewise, when employees feel able to voice opinions, ideas, and/or concerns, relationships improve, employee satisfaction skyrockets, and productivity follows suit. The workplace is a fundamentally interactive environment. And, as such, the workplace should be an ecosystem built on effective workplace communication.
So let’s explore some of the many benefits brought about by top-tier workplace communication—and how to achieve it once and for all.
- Workplace communication 101
- Top 7 benefits of workplace communication
- Top tips to improve your workplace communication strategy
Workplace communication 101
Let’s go back to basics: what do we actually mean when we talk about workplace communication? It’s a simple term, but as soon as you start peeling back the layers, there’s a lot more to it. Workplace communication defines the exchange of information between team members or departments in a particular organisation. It can take many different forms.
There are three main types of communication:
- Written communication
- Verbal communication
- Non-verbal communication (aka nodding, gesturing, showing empathy, or understanding)
Some common ways of communicating in the workplace include:
- In-person meetings
- Video conferencing
- Social media posts
- Online messaging
All types of communication have their purpose, and all types of communication are important. Verbal and written communication transmit knowledge, initiate requests, and get things done. Non-verbal communication, however, is equally important.
Non-verbal communication and active listening support workplace culture, enhance relationships and boost the effectiveness of employees and their entire teams. We’ve all had those conversations where the other person isn’t looking at you and doesn’t seem to be listening. Non-verbal communication is vital for ensuring people feel heard.
But, still, so many businesses and organisations are failing to hit the communication sweet spot. Employees spend up to 20% of their time looking for information or searching for someone who can help. That’s time lost that could be better spent more productively.
In fact, according to the Harvard Business Review, two-thirds of managers are uncomfortable giving feedback to their employees, which can have disastrous effects on employee morale.
But this need not be the case. Even in today’s work-from-anywhere culture, there’s no excuse for sacrificing communication. There are so many amazing team communication tools that make remote working as good as (if not better than) traditional office setups.
Think tools like RingCentral, which empower teams to meet, message, and video conference, allowing better communication from any location:
With RingCentral, you don’t even need to find someone for a quick chat because you can just send over a quick message or schedule a one-to-one video meeting instead. Communication doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming.
Top 7 benefits of workplace communication
When workplace communications run like clockwork, so does everything else. It’s not just about getting on with your colleagues (although that’s a hugely important part of it). Effective communication is the source of a ripple effect that enhances business processes, turnover rates, and your bottom line.
Let’s uncover some of the benefits of effective communication.
1. Communication mitigates conflict
Good communication can resolve—and even avoid—conflict. After all, who actually likes tension at work? Effective communication based on active listening has the power to prevent miscommunications and handle differences of opinion with civility and respect. Learning how to communicate with people in a way that they understand and connect with is a superpower like no other.
2. It improves public relations
Effective communication isn’t just for your team. Internal communications are essential, but businesses must also interact with external agents (whether that’s a formal sponsorship agreement, reaching out to the public on social media, or answering incoming calls). Effective communication helps organisations connect with their clients, sponsors, and any other external bodies.
Customers who feel listened to and valued by an organisation are more likely to stick around. Likewise, businesses with loyal customers gain a reputation for credibility and superior customer service.
3. Communication fuels innovation
Communication goes hand in hand with growth and innovation. Why? Because great communication reduces the amount of time wasted. Employees don’t have uncertainties over what they need to do, when, or how they need to do it, meaning projects run smoothly. Plus, when employees have the confidence to communicate ideas freely, both amongst each other and with senior management, creativity thrives and innovation is born. Not only is that great for the company, but it contributes to employee morale and retention as a result.
4. Communication builds existing skills
Without an open line of communication, even the best talent can become lethargic, unmotivated, and disengaged. When managers and senior staff are good communicators themselves, they can expect to bring out each individual’s best skills. Don’t lose your best minds over poor communication. By employing active listening with your employees, you’ll get to know their unique talents and give them opportunities that will help them thrive.
5. It increases job satisfaction and loyalty
When employees, managers, and senior leadership are engaged rather than estranged, something magical happens. Suddenly businesses experience a surge in employee engagement. Strong communication leads to heightened satisfaction and loyalty as a result. Instead of browsing for their next job on LinkedIn, your employees will be singing your praises.
6. Communication powers productivity
Clear communication ensures understanding. In other words, in organisations where effective communication is lacking, you’ll often find that employees don’t know what they’re doing. They might not fully understand their role or the company’s expectations. When essential information is clearly communicated, employees can work at their best.
Luckily technology is fueling employee productivity like never before. There are now so many fantastic ways to communicate with remote teams and streamline workflows online. RingCentral’s app allows teams to meet in HD, share screens, and chat:
You might say that workplace communication has never been easier. By unifying internal communications on one user-friendly portal, RingCentral aids employee efficiency, streamlines those workflows, and keeps productivity levels high.
7. It builds a culture of teamwork and trust
Finally, when managers practise excellent communication across the board, they lead by example. This creates a workplace culture of teamwork, team building, and trust wherever they go. Open communication is the lifeblood of a healthy, trusting work environment. Clear expectations and guidelines, with a healthy dose of understanding, go a long way.
Top tips for improving your workplace communication strategy
We’ve spoken about why workplace communication is so great, so it’s about time we talked about how to achieve it. Creating a cohesive workplace culture based on good communication skills isn’t always easy—especially in large offices or dispersed teams. But these tips will help you on your way to becoming a communication-first workplace in no time.
Regular face-to-face meetings
Communication needs to start from the top. That means managers need to work on their communication skills in order to show their teams how it’s done. If a manager doesn’t engage with their employees regularly, what hope is there for everyone else? Instead of sending an overwhelming email, why not have a quick face-to-face meeting? Ensure that both parties reach a level of full understanding and encourage questions, ideas, and feedback wherever possible.
That face-to-face meeting doesn’t even have to be in the office. Why not schedule an online catch-up instead using RingCentral’s video call feature? You’ll be able to connect and meet anytime, anywhere, with HD calls, one-click scheduling, and more.
Focus on feedback
Constructive criticism has its place, but don’t forget to provide positive feedback from time to time as well. This is more important than you might think. Positive communication helps employees feel appreciated and lets them know that they’re on the right track. Plus, when positive feedback is vocalised in a more public setting, it helps set a precedent and example for all employees in the company. When feedback (both good and bad) is approached with openness and respect, you can expect to build a company culture that functions without any toxic relationships.
Don’t forget to listen
Finally, don’t forget to listen. Communication isn’t just about talking. Half of the communication process is listening. Active listening is what you should be aiming for. Hear, understand, and act on what your employee, colleague, or boss is saying. Active listening is the foundation of effective information sharing and the key to getting things done.
Workplace communication: The best place to start
Workplace communication is the best place to start if you want to improve workflows, relationships, outputs, and reputation. Communication is the founding principle of any healthy relationship, whether it be personal or professional.
The importance of good communication isn’t just about making friends at work. Failing to prioritise workplace communication could be costing you your reputation, diminishing your outputs, and haemorrhaging your top talent. By nurturing communication in the workplace, you can expect to feel its positive ripple effect in every facet of your business. Click here to find out how RingCentral can help you set that ripple in motion.
Originally published 05 Apr, 2023