Employee communication refers to the exchange of ideas and information within an organization. It includes communication amongst employees as well as the communication between the management and employees.
What is effective group communication?
For effective communication, both the speaker and the listener have to understand the message clearly. Honesty, transparency and clarity in team communication leave no scope for miscommunication. According to SHRM, miscommunication costs companies with 100 employees about $420,000 annually. Conveying and exchanging messages is not enough for effective communication. There has to be clear understanding of the objective of the conversation on both sides.
Why is employee communication important?
Communication is the foundation of every department in an organization. Employees who can express their ideas and communicate articulately are more likely to be productive and efficient. Organizations with connected employees experience a productivity boost of 20-25%, according to McKinsey.
The success of an organization is largely determined by the effectiveness of its communication channels. Effective team communication during the pandemic gave many companies the opportunity to flourish despite the pandemic. The availability of instant messaging and video meeting tools has made employee communication easier for remote workers.
Considering that remote work might be the new normal, it is important to set up an advanced communication system to connect on-site and remote employees and managers. According to a Gartner survey, 82% of company leaders are going to allow their employees to work remotely at least part-time, and 47% of them will allow employees to work remotely full-time
Benefits of team communication
Implementing an effective team communication plan will allow you to enjoy plenty of benefits in the long run.
· Increased employee engagement
Communicating with your employees on a regular basis is an excellent way of ensuring that they remain engaged with the organization. Having the freedom to communicate with their peers and superiors allows employees to conduct their work faster and more efficiently. They also develop a more positive outlook towards their work life because they do not feel stifled.
Happy employees will boost the organization’s performance by being more productive. Organizations that have implemented effective change and communication programs are 3.5 times likelier to outperform their peers.
· Clear communication
Employees who recognize their role within the organization and know what is expected of them are more efficient. They can deliver their work on time because they do not have unanswered questions and doubts. 28% of employees report that poor communication caused them to not deliver work on time. Having a consistent and clarity-oriented approach will bring you much better results than expecting employees to draw the correct conclusions.
· Understanding organizational objectives and goals
You can help employees understand how their professional goals and values can align with those of the organization with the help of effective communication. Deloitte found that only 23% of executives find their companies effective at aligning employees’ goals with corporate purposes. Unless employees are aware of how their professional development and the company’s objectives come together, they will not feel motivated.
· Regular feedback
Receiving regular feedback does not have to be a negative thing that employees dread. You can encourage a healthy discussion around the need for improvement and constructive criticism with the help of effective communication. Feedback can be a two-way conversation with the manager and the employee expressing their concerns and looking for solutions together.
· Better teamwork
If you want to foster a team spirit within the workplace, effective communication is crucial. Employees who get the chance to know their peers closely and develop personal relationships based on trust and good will thrive in group projects. It also promotes a desire to work towards a common goal among employees.
How to improve communication at work?
If you want effective communication to be a part of your company culture, you have to improve your group’s communication skills. Team communication exercises are not only fun, but they are also engaging for employees who want a break from their everyday work. They have high educational value within an organization because employees are more likely to participate in them willingly.
· Virtual training programs
Regular on-site training programs are effective but they can be too reminiscent of a classroom. Moreover, they do not give remote employees a chance to communicate with their peers Virtual training is a more modern and advanced way of learning and is hence more appealing to employees. They are highly accessible and employees can get in touch with their teacher or each other through an online message.
Bites is an excellent learning tool for the workplace because it encourages microlearning through engaging visual content and regular discussions in the forum. Employees consume the knowledge as a group and can leave their feedback for the teacher which makes for excellent two-way communication.
· Island survival
Consider a fun game to enliven the work atmosphere. Break up your group into teams of five and inform them of the scenario. The employees have survived a shipwreck, and they are stranded on an island where items wash onto the shore. Give them a list of 20 items and ask them to choose the 5 items they will keep as a team. The employees have to communicate with each other extensively to narrow down the list and consider each other’s needs. This activity also improves cooperation and teamwork skills.
Break up your group into teams of two for this activity. Now you have to create a minefield for them by placing balls and cones in an open area like a park. After you set it up, instruct one person in each team to put on the blindfold. The other person will have the responsibility of leading their partner from one side to the other with the help of verbal instructions.
The blindfolded person cannot speak throughout the activity. Not only do employees get a chance to improve their communication skills overall, but they also figure out what type of communication is most effective for individual team members.
· Roleplay activity
Roleplaying can be an effective team-building tool for almost every industry. You can set it up based on case studies, or you can ask your employee to come up with situations themselves. Try to involve every team member so that they develop confidence to speak up in front of the group. Moreover, roleplaying helps employees develop practical communication and managerial skills to deal with any situations that might arise in the workplace.
Team communication strategies to follow
Improving employee communication will give you a major advantage over your competitors. The following strategies for effective team communication will boost your organizational growth.
1. Open-door policy
You can build trust among your employees by having an open-door policy. Employees will feel free to ask questions, make suggestions and express doubts which will allow them to develop a closer relationship with the management. Keep all channels of communication open and never let employees feel excluded.
2. Employ project management software
Take advantage of powerful cloud-based project management software to improve effective communication with the organization. They encourage transparency, efficient monitoring of work and frequent collaborations with other team members.
3. Feedback is for everyone
Providing employees with regular feedback is essential for the growth of the company. However, the management has to accept that it is not perfect all the time and encourage employees to leave suggestions for improvement. You can conduct anonymous surveys periodically to know what employees want and act accordingly.
4. Fun team-building exercises
Employees love to participate in fun, stress-free team-building exercises that have no connection to work. Meet up for dinner, play a few board games during breaks and encourage employees to befriend each other. If everyone has a fixed coffee break, they can have an informal chat.
5. Clarify tasks and assign responsibilities
The entire team has to know the details of the project so the members can work together. Additionally, each member should know their duties and responsibilities clearly. Vague instructions can slow down work and cause miscommunication or conflict. You can organize frequent team meetings to check up on progress and ask questions, or you can track and update the To-Do Lists within your project management software.
6. Figure out preferred styles of communication
You will find that different people and different situations demand different styles of communication. You have to identify the best mode of communication for both the listener and yourself to have a productive conversation. You might even find it easier to connect with other employees if you take their preferences into consideration.
7. Implement a communications training program
Communications training can go a long way in helping all employees become comfortable in the work environment. Not only will they learn behavioral skills, but they will also get to hone their presentation, business writing skills and managerial skills.
8. Show appreciation
Work well done should not go unnoticed. If you are a team leader, congratulate a member when they have outdone themselves. If you are a manager, appreciate the team for carrying out their tasks efficiently. Words of motivation and acknowledge can go a long way in fostering loyalty and engagement.
Communication between managers and employees
Managers and employees can sometimes struggle to communicate directly, but that does not have to be the case. As long as they are on the same page about objectives, expectations and goals, it should not be difficult. You can open up the lines of communication between managers and employees with the help of the following strategies.
1. Weekly meetings
Weekly team meetings are an excellent way of getting everyone to talk and share their opinions comfortably in a professional environment. Managers and employees do not have to feel awkward because everyone takes turns talking, asking questions and discussing problems. Ideally, managers should take an informal approach during these meetings.
2. One-to-one communication
Not every employee might be comfortable communicating or sharing their problems in a group environment. Managers can open up an alternative communication channel by letting employees schedule one-to-one meetings. They make for the perfect, private space for direct conversation. Managers can connect and collaborate with each employee in these meetings, and they can find out each other’s preferred style of communication.
3. Updating employees regularly
Managers also have to take responsibility for maintaining effective communication. It is important to keep employees updated about changes and developments, so they do not feel disassociated from the management side of the organization. A study revealed that up to 25% of employees quit their jobs because they thought they were being kept in the dark deliberately and 4 out of 5 employees want to hear from their bosses more often.
4. Have healthy feedback sessions
Employees should feel free to ask their manager for feedback without fearing an ugly conversation. Managers who provide constructive feedback are more likely to have a group of productive employees willing to live up to the challenge. It is also important for managers to acknowledge their employees’ improvement and performance by giving them a shoutout and showing their appreciation.
Popular employee communication tools
Employing technologically advanced tools to improve team communication has to be a no-brainer because it will give you an edge over other organizations.
1. Video Conferencing
The pandemic has proven to us that video conferencing tools are invaluable to the modern workplace. With more companies opting for remote employees, video meetings are here to stay as the ultimate communication tool for a global workforce. Google Meet and Zoom are two of the most popular video conferencing tools.
2. Learning Platforms
Learning platforms like Bites often provide an excellent space for employees to come together and communicate on an intellectual level. They can watch the training videos on Bites together even when they are not in the same room and have a conversation in the discussion forum. Employees can even leave feedback. Bites offers quizzes and evaluations so that employees can engage in healthy competition.
3. Instant Messaging
Instant messaging platforms allow you to communicate with someone instantly. You can send over text, media or documents and get an immediate response. They are simple to use and most of us already use them in some form or the other. WhatsApp and Messenger are excellent instant messaging options.
4. Business Communication Platforms
The best all-in-one solution for effective employee communication, business communication platforms like Slack have proved to be revolutionary for all industries. They bring an entire organization together in an online platform and allows for segmented, group and one-one conversations in different channels. They are easy to navigate and keep data stored for future reference.
5. Surveys and questionnaires
Surveys and questionnaires might not facilitate two–way conversation, but they are a great way of gleaning information that you might not get otherwise. You can issue anonymous surveys and questionnaires to get suggestions from employees as to how you can boost their satisfaction at work.
One of the easiest ways to update your employees about developments and changes is by sending out a weekly newsletter. You can write it in an informal manner as if you are having a chat with your employees. Incorporate humor into the writing to keep employees engaged. In case you cannot manage weekly meetings, newsletters are a great option.
Bites is a modern one-of-a-kind microlearning solution that is ideal for employee training. It allows you to create and edit short videos that are visually engaging so that employees do not feel overwhelmed. You can compile the ‘bites’ into one playlist and share with your employees who will feel a personal connection to you while watching.
Feel free to track their progress using the analytics dashboard and listen to the suggestions they leave. You can also participate in the discussion forum with your employees and answer their questions. Bites can be integrated with common messaging platforms so that your employees are reachable.
Improve your team communication with Bites today!