Organizational communication--how the company communicates within--is vital to business survival. Usually if there is a problem, everybody talks about it, but few try to fix it. By using a distinct method for identifying communication strengths and weaknesses in your organization, you can implement changes that will streamline the way information moves through your company.
Determine if some of your meetings are unnecessary. According to Sherry and Stewart Ferguson, in their book, "Organizational Communication," research does not support the idea that face-to-face meetings are more effective than phone conversations. Evaluate your meetings to see how much vital information is actually communicated and replace ineffective meetings with quick phone calls.
Ask employees if they have difficulty understanding the purpose of email memos in your organization. Because of the ease of email, many managers jot down every random thought they have and share it with employees. This deadens the impact of email communication. Employees come to expect email to contain information that is not high priority. Reserve email for important notices, and make sure everyone knows that reading their company email is a required activity.
An entire generation of young people entering the work force does not like to talk on the phone. Text messaging has taken the place of phone conversations. You can address this in two ways. Tell your young employees that good phone etiquette is a requirement of their jobs. You expect certain communications to be conducted by phone because they are more complex. For less complex messages, allow texting among employees. This can be a useful tool if it is limited to brief amounts of information.
Put Your Best Communicator at the Top
According to Jeanine Guerci, in her article, "How to Identify Strengths and Weaknesses Through Organizational Assessment," it is important to do a behavioral assessment to identify employees with hidden talents. If you find a great communicator among your staff, put this person at the top of the communication chain. Make her responsible for relaying important information to other employees. You'll be rewarding and recognizing an employee talent while strengthening your company's communications channels.
Find the Social Order
Evaluate the social order in your organization. This is not the chain of command; this is the pattern of personal interactions among employees. Katherine Miller, in her book, "Organizational Communication," points out that social order can determine communication lines. Some employees are friends, some may be adversaries, and others may be left out of the loop. If you are relying on communication to travel from someone out of the loop to an adversary, you are asking for a break in the message trail.
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as "The New York Daily News," "Business Age" and "Nation's Business." He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor's and Bank of America.