If you work in an office, you know there are many types of communications. There’s the small talk that interrupts you while you’re trying to work. There’s the endless chatter your boss calls a “staff meeting.” And there’s the important communication that provides information pertinent to your work. Ideally, that communication is as clear and concise as possible. When it isn’t, it can have a direct impact on the workplace.
Lack of Direction
Experts advise business owners to come up with a mission statement and stick with it in the years to follow. This means making sure every employee is aware of this mission and doing work that furthers it. When leaders have poor communication skills, the result can easily be a lack of direction and focus, with employees doing work on a daily basis that they don’t fully understand.
Embarrassing and Costly Errors
Everyone makes mistakes, but when the stakes are high, even the smallest errors can make a difference. It could cost you a top client or permanently damage your hard-earned reputation. At the very least, it can lead to fractured professional relationships. For instance, if an employee makes a mistake, and his boss criticizes him or her for it, that employee is likely to suffer a drop in morale that can affect others and possibly lead to that person’s eventual exit.
Loss of Income
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business, but miscommunication can put your bottom line at risk. First, if you miscommunicate your quote for a project, you'll be leading the client to believe you’ll do more than you can at that rate. Additionally, you may make a mistake that forces you to offer a refund or discount, or even give away the work for free to smooth things over. Too many of these and your business could be no more.
Low Employee Morale
Studies have connected high morale with increased productivity. When employees become frustrated with unclear instructions or nonsensical messaging, expect morale to plummet. That means you’ll have an office full of employees who have no concerns about whether your business succeeds or not. This is bad for productivity, leading to an increased likelihood that you’ll be paying people to halfway do their work each day.
Inability to Attract Workers
Unhappy employees are no longer limited to complaining to friends and family members. They can now turn to sites like Glassdoor, where they can anonymously review your business. If you hope to attract top talent, your Glassdoor presence is a serious factor. Half of all job searchers surveyed revealed that they used Glassdoor as part of their job search. If you have communication issues, it will likely haunt you online for years.
Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous small business blogs, including Zappos, GoDaddy, 99Designs, and the Intuit Small Business Blog. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written about business for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011.