Effective vertical communication channels are a mandatory requirement of every organization – big or small. These communication channels represent the flow of information and orders between two employees belonging to different hierarchical levels.
Vertical communication could be top-down or bottom-up. The top-down channel is one in which the superior apprises his subordinates of all the tasks they are required to undertake. In the bottom-up channel, the subordinate consults with his superior whenever in doubt. There are several advantages of vertical communication.
The advantages include stronger communication channels, more feedback, a clear establishment of the chain of command and an ability for employees to have their complaints heard.
The communication channels throughout the organization get strengthened. The superior entrusts work to his subordinates and watches over them. He acts as a guide and a mentor throughout the time the task is in progress.
Whenever the subordinate is in doubt, she approaches the superior for clarifications and explanations. The superior also explains to all his subordinates what the management expects of them as a team. All of the employees work towards gaining the management's approval and support.
Vertical communication systems are extremely feedback-oriented. The two hierarchical levels interact with one another and discuss matters. The superiors explain what needs to be done to accomplish the task. The superiors also explain the manner in which the work should be carried out from start to finish.
The subordinates immediately voice their concerns. If they feel they have not understood the task, they seek explanations. If they want additional resources, they ask for the same.
The vertical communications systems clearly establish the chains of command in the organization. Every employee knows who all his superiors are. He is mindful to honor all the communication and commitments he makes to his superiors.
The superiors on their part know who all are accountable to them. If the work does not proceed as per set standards and targets, the superiors know whom to question and reprimand.
The ultimate powers and the authority vest with the top management. The employees know with whom to communicate and direct their complaints. The employee usually approaches his immediate superior whenever he faces a problem. If the problem is not resolved by the immediate superior or the reason of the complaint is because of her; the employee approaches the next line in the chain of command.