For organizations, effective business communication is critical for their employees to perform their duties and responsibilities efficiently. Free and uninterrupted business communication in a company has a positive impact on the overall business, like reduced stress, lower employee turnover, increased productivity, higher customer retention, consistent deliveries of projects on time and improved work-life balance. According to a Watson Wyatt study, companies that foster effective communication report 50% lower turnover than the industry average.
On the other hand, poor communication can impact your workplace adversely. It has been estimated that communication barriers cost an average organization $62.4 million per year in lost productivity. Ineffective communication results in low morale, high stress, absenteeism and employee turnover.
It has been shown that companies with connected employees are 25% more productive. To improve communication and be more productive, companies must have the right processes and tools in place. Companies that invest in the right online tools improve their productivity by 47%.
Setting up vision and goals for your company alone is not enough to achieve success. All stakeholders must be well-informed about the goals and vision and work towards them. Effective business communication ensures that all employees are aware about the goals and vision of the company and their roles and responsibilities to achieve them. Effective business communication makes sure that all stakeholders are on the same page.
According to the most recent Gallup State of the American Workplace report, just 33% of US employees are engaged at work. The remaining 67% are either disengaged from their jobs or actively disengaged – meaning they are a negative influence on those around them. Effective business communication ensures that each employee’s ideas are valued and opinions are respected. This incentivizes them to contribute more. As a result, companies see higher employee engagement and productivity.
The cost of poor customer communication to businesses is estimated at $4 billion annually in the US alone. Effective communication is the real secret to effective customer service. Companies must make sure that their employees have access to all the tools they need to engage with customers continuously.
Communication has no meaning without context. The hardest thing about communicating effectively is knowing how to “set the context”. This is especially true when companies connect with customers via multiple channels – such as email, social media, chat, etc. Managing this multi-channel communication ineffectively often leads to miscommunication and confusion.
Retaining talented employees should be the top priority for organizations. In the United States, 27% of employees voluntarily left their jobs in 2018 as they didn’t trust their organizations. Building trust should be the top priority for businesses and effective business communication will help achieve that.
Successful interdepartmental communication helps in effective decision-making and problem-solving. Effective interdepartmental communication also opens doors for new learning opportunities and knowledge sharing. A Forbes study reveals that companies that promoted collaborative working were 5 times as likely to be high performing.
Employees should be made to feel comfortable approaching the boss. If employees have apprehensions, the top management may not come to know about a crucial issue or problems that may affect project timelines and productivity. Encouraging and building effective bottom-up communication is a great way to motivate employees’ participation and engagement within the organization.
Effective business communication paves way for a better company culture, healthier work environment, employee motivation and satisfaction. On the contrary, organizations that neglect business communication suffer from low engagement, high employee turnover and poor customer satisfaction.
Emails are an essential part of business, and you cannot get rid of them. In 2020, approximately 306 billion e-mails were sent and received every day worldwide. This figure is projected to increase to over 376 billion daily e-mails in 2025. Slack, a chat application for teams famously claimed that they were an “email killer” but quickly realized that they could not get rid of emails. To get around this problem they introduced integrations to bring emails in chat channels, but this is only a one-way conversation and emails cannot be replied without going out of the chat application.
Many organizations use multiple apps for their team communications. This creates communication silos and a significant amount of team members time is spent searching for information rather than doing productive work. Given the level of information being generated on a daily basis, this is highly inefficient. A survey points out that almost 20% of the business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job. Using a proven business communication tool like Clariti will eliminate this issue.
A good business communication policy will ensure a company’s remote workers are able to communicate with their teams irrespective of their geographic location.
When the information is on different systems, you may spend a lot of your time toggling between multiple windows looking for the information. If you want to refer to a specific conversation or files, you will have to search in multiple places and remember all the information in memory to visualize the big picture. This wastes employees’ time and drains productivity.
Whether your business operates with a hybrid, in-person, or fully virtual model; effective business communication is the need of the hour.
Different communication channels are used for various situations. For remote working, audio calling may be an excellent way to keep everyone on the same page. For in-house projects, face-to-face meetings are often the best method of communication. Though emails are popular, it is inefficient and unreliable. With group chats, you can get stuck in long and never-ending conversations that demand your attention 24/7. It puts pressure on you to be online & available all the time.
Take regular feedback from your employees on the existing business communication process through surveys, interviews, anonymous feedback etc. It will help companies to take stock of the existing situation and see what can be done to improve the process.
Having an intranet system is a great way to make your internal knowledge and documents flow via documentation, training videos etc. This will also help to break the communication barrier between your old and new employees.
Audit your internal communication methods including email, chat, audio-video calling, and in-person meetings, and see whether they are utilized properly. If there are any issues like email overload or never-ending group chats, replace them with appropriate tools and systems.
Having an open-door policy through direct one-on-one conversations with the teams will motivate employees to have meaningful and productive conversations about their workplace.
Social media is a good way to reach employees and clients. With millennials now accounting for more than half the workforce, social media will motivate them to share their opinions and feedback about the company in an informal way.
Companies must share the organizational goals with their employees to motivate, inspire and keep team members on the same page. This is the easiest way to lead your employees to work towards a common goal.
Sharing the latest news, events and happenings through the employee newsletter is the most effective way to keep your employees updated on the latest developments happening inside and outside the organization.
Management should not issue orders and expect their employees to carry them out without question. Effective communication should be two-way, which means management should take regular feedback and ideas from employees and give them a chance to voice their concerns.
Companies often rely on email and instant messaging for all communication. But these two are not very efficient. Employees often tend to use different tools to carry out their day-to-day communication. Unfortunately using different apps for chats, emails, documents, to-dos and calls creates communication silos. Later on, if you want to refer to a specific conversation or file, you will have to search in multiple places and remember all the information in memory to visualize the big picture. Another issue with chat-based apps is you can get stuck in long and never-ending group chats that demand your attention 24/7. It puts pressure on you to be online & available all the time. Instead, companies should use unified business communication tools to overcome these issues.
Make sure all your team members understand exactly what you expect out of them in terms of roles and responsibilities and they have access to all the relevant information to do their jobs well.
Whenever you assign any work, explain the importance of the task. Millennials who make up a good chunk of the workforce are always looking for a sense of purpose in their jobs to feel satisfied.
Companies should train their employees on conversational skills, presentation skills, business writing, managerial communication etc. Though the company might incur some expense, its benefit will far outweigh the cost.
Most of the companies have teams and departments that are headed by leaders. Various members of the team should know their go-to leaders in the event of a problem or question.
When it comes to teamwork, every team member has a different way of processing information. For example, one person might work best with written words, while another might be more of an auditory or visual learner.
To get the best of all worlds, consider making infographics when presenting business ideas to the team. Infographics contain visual aids that make them exciting as well as informative.
A team that is comfortable communicating makes a habit of giving and receiving feedback. Though feedback helps create a healthy relationship where everyone’s needs are heard, it can seem intimidating putting everything on the table.
Try having an anonymous feedback form or a feedback box for your team to express their thoughts.
This one might be obvious, but when it comes to listening to your team members, it’s vital that you pay close attention to their thoughts and demeanor.
Observe their behavior to help spot any underlying issues someone may be having, and take mental note of any aspect that comes up that is better for another time.
Without clarity or focus, your communication is more likely to lose direction and get lost in interpretation. Avoid this by making a list or agenda of key points that you’d like to discuss prior to communicating.
While feedback and focus are important, one of the ways that you can counter any unwanted feelings in response to positive criticism is by keeping communication positive. Remember your business’s unique culture and try to cater to their needs by making communication fun and interactive. Be it coffee, snacks, or brainstorming activities, bringing fun into the picture can boost morale.
No one likes to be micromanaged, which is why putting more responsibility on your team members to self-report their goals can make a huge difference in how the team feels about upper management.
Even with the best communication, there are bound to be issues that need resolving. When this happens, try to remain as diplomatic as possible. Encourage transparency and an open-door policy so that team members feel comfortable coming to you before major issues arise.
The term “business communication” is broad and encompasses all interactions within a company. This ranges from interactions between entry level employees, interactions between managers and employees, interactions between managers, interactions with clients, and everything in between. Each of these types of interactions necessitates different ways of speaking and tones. For example: if you are a medical supply company and are communicating with a new client, employees must be trained to avoid using technical jargon in order to keep your client from becoming confused or offended that they aren’t being spoken at their level. However, it is perfectly appropriate to use technical jargon if the employee is involved in business communication with a colleague concerning a particular product about which they may have questions or concerns.
In all companies, there are “chains of command” and policies for how information should be conveyed. Employees who skirt these rules, may create unnecessary friction with the rest of the team. Employees should be trained to always utilize the proper channels, regardless of what message they wish to send. To illustrate the point, consider an example of an employee who wishes to lodge a complaint against another employee. Within the company policies, it’s likely defined that these complaints should go through human resources and not directly to your supervisor’s supervisor. All situations are different, of course, but your employees must be trained to consider these company policies and communication channels heavily.
Employees must be trained to avoid being overly wordy or to speak in a confusing manner when interacting with others in the company. Clarity and conciseness will help to eliminate any confusion and assumptions that may develop throughout a conversation and will help succinctly convey the message intended.
There’s no doubt about it: work can be stressful. It can be easy to blow up on a colleague or superior after a series of annoying things happen to a person. However, employees must be trained to be patient, otherwise they could end up without a job, or in a worse position than they were before. With business communication, employees should always strive to listen closely to the other party’s message and understand their concerns, as well as their own. Once they have heard their colleagues’ thoughts, they should be trained to be courteous and kind in their response. Being rude and aggressive should not be tolerated.
On the other side of the coin, make sure employees are trained to give appropriate feedback. If the presentation a coworker gave was confusing, other team members can help point out different areas that he or she can improve for a better product. Feedback is vitally important to an effective business communication strategy.
Be open to the idea of looking at new ways to improve workplace communication. Take for instance a new app called Clariti. This app takes a completely different approach to team communication as compared to Slack and Teams. Clariti includes email, chat, audio calling, screen sharing, cloud document access, to-dos and events. The main power of Clariti is that you can create your own TopicFolder where you can bring your chats, emails, to-dos, documents… that are related to a topic in one place. Unlike Slack where all related chats appear in a pre-determined channel of fixed participants, Clariti supports dynamic conversations that can start from a chat, include an email and result in a to-do, with many different participants added and removed as needed. All chats, emails, to-dos, threads and even notes of voice calls are automatically stored in TopicFolders that can be accessed at any time, completely eliminating the need for a search. Clariti indeed is a new paradigm in workplace communication.
In order to promote effective business communication within the company, management should set an example for their team by giving staff members an opportunity to speak, setting clear expectations and providing regular feedback.