Comprising professionals of all levels, each with a different area of business expertise working toward a common goal, a business relies on the communication between management and staff in order to run efficiently. Managers communicate policies and deliverables to employees. Staff level employees interact with each other, delegating responsibilities so deliverables can be met. Instances of miscommunication can be costly to a firm, causing missed deadlines, workplace hostility and a lowered employee morale. Identifying and implementing techniques to improve organizational communication throughout a firm is crucial to increasing productivity, and creating a happy and engaging corporate culture.
Open Door Policy
Perhaps one of the simplest ways to improve organizational communication is to communicate before a problem begins. By maintaining an open door policy, a manager welcomes team members to casually and freely engage in small talk. This does not, however, mean gossiping.
If a manager holds frequent chats with his direct reports, he is better able to identify potential causes of concern. He may learn, for instance, that a specific employee is having trouble working with another. This information will allow him to take preemptive measure, addressing and rectifying the situation before it escalates in scale. Alternately, proactive measures such as this improve an employee’s morale as his voice will have been heard.
In 1970, Simon and Schuster published Julian Fast’s tome “Body Language", which illustrated how humans communicate without speaking. The raising of a brow or pursing of lips, often done subconsciously, speaks volumes about true thoughts. This must be considered when speaking with employees. A manager who rolls her eyes while simultaneously telling her employee that his opinion is valued undoubtedly sends a mixed message. That message does not inspire confidence.
When speaking with an employee, a manager must give him her undivided attention. Though multitasking can be efficient, typing, eating and visually communicating to others while in the middle of a conversation implies to the employee that he is of little value. This implication leads to lowered morale, which leads to lowered productivity which, always, adversely affects the firm’s bottom line.
Though a manager must implement organizational communication policies, employees should be involved in the process. Issues such as conflict resolution measures and communication delivery methods directly affect everyone within the firm. As a result, employee input and consensus to a certain degree will go a long way to sure that the population is inspired by and satisfied with the way communication in delivered and received throughout the office.
KJ Henderson has more than a decade of HR and talent acquisition experience. He has held roles at a Fortune 100 investment bank, a media conglomerate and at one of NYC's largest executive staffing firms. He currently heads recruitment sourcing at a major movie studio. He read literature at Oxford.