When LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner went on CNBC’s Squawk Box, he cited communications as being the number one skills gap across 100 major U.S. cities. And just when we thought the deficit couldn’t get any worse, COVID-19 happened. And, the dynamic of interpersonal communications at work has forever changed.
Communication has always been a complex subject with many areas and skills to consider, but it’s even more so now with remote work at an all-time high. According to Buffer, 20% of employees cite communication and collaboration as their biggest struggles with remote work. Thereby, employees at companies of all sizes need communications training now more than ever.
But before diving into the nuts and bolts of communications training, it helps to understand what is meant by effective workplace communications, how it impacts your company’s bottom line, and the various forms of workplace communication.
Communication has a profound impact on workplace culture, productivity, and employee morale. It can essentially make or break a business. According to Salesforce, 86% of executives identify ineffective collaboration and communication as a major cause of business failure.
Effective workplace communication is a two-way street that requires a message to be sent and received accurately. Essentially, it’s an active process where the sender and the receiver are on the same page.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything from the context to the delivery of a message needs to be on point. Even voice tone and body language play a role in effective communication.
For example, you may think you’re giving an employee helpful feedback, but they’re receiving it as a reprimand based on your tone of voice. Or maybe your feedback gets misinterpreted because you delivered it via email rather than face-to-face. In the end, everyone processes information differently, so you need to know your audience to engage in effective communication.
Companies that prevent the silo effect from infiltrating their businesses make effective employee communications a priority. As a result, these companies are agile and sustain solid bottom lines by way of:
• High Productivity
• High Workforce Morale
• Low Employee Turnover
• High Customer Retention
According to McKinsey & Company, productivity improves up to 25% in organizations with well-connected employees. Furthermore, businesses with effective communication practices are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, according to Clear Company.
Workplace communication doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Nowadays, employees connect in a variety of ways, from direct messaging to email to video conferencing to in-person meetings. Therefore, they must be well-versed in various forms of communication to be effective. Here are four types of communication:
1. Verbal Communication
Effective verbal communication isn’t only about the words you choose; it’s also about how you say those words. Everything from your pitch to the volume of your voice helps shape the meaning and intent of your message.
2. Non-Verbal Communication
Often unintentional, nonverbal communication can reveal how you really feel without saying a word. More than half of a message’s meaning is formed based on body language. Therefore, your body language needs to be consistent with your verbal communication.
3. Written Communication
Sometimes writing communicates your message more clearly than the spoken word. However, your message needs to be clear, concise, and respectful. Also, keep in mind that nothing can ruin your credibility more than poor grammar and punctuation—so always proof your written messages.
Listening isn’t just hearing what someone else says. It’s also about receiving, processing, and responding to a message. In other words, you must decode the sender’s message and attempt to understand it. Yet, despite the importance of listening, it’s often another underdeveloped skill.
If you want to improve the communications inside your company, you need to be willing to invest in employee training.