Workplace Communication: Q&A

Although communication in the workplace is a sign of a high-performance culture, it is still one of the major concerns for management. 57% of employees admit that they are not given clear directions, while 69% of managers are uncomfortable communicating with their employees. These data highlight the need to improve communication in the workplace. This task, however, is challenging as the more business grows, the more complex interaction becomes. Consequently, maintaining the efficiency of communication becomes even more challenging.

What do statistics show about workplace communication?

Although workplace communication is a complex process, with many participants and interests involved, its complexity can still be grasped by using the following statistics:

  • 46% of communications leaders think that audience information overload is one of the key challenges (Gartner).
  • Organizations which have effective change and communication programmes in place are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers (ThinkTalent).
  • Employees who feel that they are heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their work as best they can (Forbes).
  • 56% of project budgets are at risk because of poor communication (BrightWork).
  • 60% of companies admit that they do not have a long-term strategy for their internal communications (Workforce).
  • 41% of leaders are unable to quickly gather the information that they need (PwC).

What affects the quality of workplace communication?

Quantified Communications, a business communications advisory firm, found that companies with about 100 employees spend on average 17 hours a week on clarifying messages. This means an annual cost of nearly $525,000 in lost productivity. Furthermore, workplace communication studies by SaneBox have shown that 62% of the e-mails received by employees are unimportant. Adobe, a software company, surveyed over 1,000 Americans working in offices, and found that employees spend on average more than 5 hours a day checking and answering e-mails. On the other hand, McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, estimates that employee productivity increases by 20-25% in organizations where employees are highly connected. Good connectivity requires platforms that can facilitate employee interaction.

Why is communication in the workplace important?

Research shows that companies with strong communication networks are more likely to achieve their organizational goals. Good workplace communication makes everyone work on common goals, thus creating a high-performance culture. In addition, the 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey shows that employers consider communication skills, followed by teamwork and technical skills, as the most important during recruitment. According to the study, communication skills are twice as important as managerial skills. 

How can you improve communication in the workplace?

Communication can be improved in many different ways. Here are some examples:

  • Define goals and expectations. Managers need to present clear and achievable goals, and outline requirements for any project, ensuring that all staff know project objectives. 
  • Clearly deliver your message. Make sure that your message is clear and accessible to your audience. It is important to speak simply and politely to avoid confusion or offending someone.
  • Choose your medium carefully. Make sure to deliver your message in the best format. Take time to decide how to deliver it.
  • Keep everyone involved. Make sure that lines of communication are always open. Actively seek and encourage project reports and updates. 
  • Listen. To facilitate communication, you need to listen and encourage dialogue with the other party. Listening also allows you to learn about any problematic issues that will require your immediate attention.

What are good communication tools?

To ensure the effectiveness of workplace communication, you need to use the right tools to foster teamwork. This is especially relevant in the context of remote work. Here are 4 tools that facilitate work communication:

1. Video conferencing. As many employees choose to work from home, video calling replaces face-to-face communication. Video calling allows communicating effectively with employees who are working remotely by offering the experience of being in a meeting.

2. Messaging. It can be one of the main ways to communicate with coworkers when they are not in the office. If you need to manage remotely, messaging is often needed after a phone call to recap what was said to make sure your employee has understood everything. 

3. Phone. Although it might sound old-fashioned, every company needs a reliable phone system for communication. A business phone is needed to call a colleague or to make the company more accessible to customers.

4. E-mail. It is a popular way to communicate in the office. As people are becoming more used to video calling and cloud phone systems, e-mail is used less often.

References:  Vartika Kashyap, | Marcin Nowak, | Kristina Martic, | | Jessica Arcenas, | | Andy Cheng,