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Identifying Communication Struggles In The Workplace

A place of business is one of the places where communication is not only the key to a successful operation but it is required in order to have any sort of a functioning business. When left unchecked it results in lower profits, a disconnect between management and staff, and can lead to negative impact on the company’s public image.

Other common outcomes that can mean the death of your business are internal issues such as employee turnovers and increased time and cost of service/product because of a lack of organization.

Identifying common communication Issues

First, it is imperative as an executive and/or management to identify where there is a shortfall of communication. This can occur during any stages of operations. Some important identifying factors could include:

  • Limited communication between upper management and employees

  • Lack of feedback from peers

  • Lack of recognition and positivity

  • Information overload

  • Lastly an overall lack of communication

Limited Communication between management and staff

Issues regarding a disconnect between management and staff can be both upwards and downwards. For management, having thorough explanations of directives to employees can really improve how employees operate in the workplace. IF a directive is well laid out (such as policy and procedures) it can really improve employee coordination, improve morale, and most importantly improve consumer relations as it leaves little room for unexpected hardships for the employees.

The issue with management and staff communication can also go the other way where information transmission from the lower levels to upper levels is limited. Just by being open to feedback and criticisms from lower levels can drastically improve employee behavior and improve overall cooperation between the two levels.

Lack of feedback from peers

Feedback from your constituents can really help you identify your (or your companies) strengths and weaknesses. One of the main upside to peer reviews is it lets you see a different perspective away from your own bias perspective. It is pretty obvious that receiving negative feedback can be disheartening but it is an important step to take in order to get a broader picture of how things are currently working. In the end feedback and reviews from peers can be beneficial and easily give you an actionable step to improving your business.

Lack of Recognition and Positivity

Lack of recognition in the workplace is one of the biggest reasons employees lose interest in work or quit causing high turnovers and lower results. Although this is a major issue in a company it is also one of the simplest to resolve. Most fortune 500 companies would just throw money on this issue and not worry about a different more underlying issue and that is that there is no system in place to recognize and respect employees who go above and beyond for the company.

A simple solution to this is by recognizing employee efforts and rewarding them accordingly. It does not have to be a raise as most employees are more concerned with how they are treated in the workplace rather than their salary. Simple recognition during team meetings or pulling employees aside to praise their work can go a long way to motivate employees. A group of employees should also be praised after completing a huge project or meeting/exceeding quotas with a group lunch or any other form of praise.

Information Overload

Information overload in any levels of business can adversely affect business by negatively affecting individual performance. It simply this: When employees are bombarded with information the important information such as tasks and critical messages get lost in the noise. Ask any employee “How many company memos do you read?. The answer will surprise you. They aren’t doing this on purpose either. This is a key tell that they are overloaded with information and are purposefully driving down the excess noise.

To combat this start with your own emails. Understand the information you receive that is irrelevant to you right now. Chances are others are receiving the same volume of emails. Start by sending more quality emails to your peers. Don’t send one small task per email. Start ending quality emails that are both direct and not filled with fluff. Memos and updates are important to every business but being sent an excessive amount will start affecting the individuals time. Start sending personalized memos to individuals. It sounds time consuming at first and you are correct. But by personalizing information by taking time out of your day you are saving time for everyone on your team. Lastly have a look at some other technologies that can cut down on communication overload. Using apps that can help you designate tasks to individuals yourself can cut the bottom line of colleagues losing direction.

A overall lack of communication

You have to account for factors that are outside your control. External factors, some out of your control, can affect any individual on your team. An example of the ones you can control is stress in the workplace. Employees almost never will admit they are overworked to their superior. And although work has to get done on time, having a continuous cycle of overworking it will take a toll on an employee. Other factors that are outside of your control can affect your business. All employees have lives outside of work and as much as employers would assume their personal life will not affect their work life it is hardly ever the case.

Try to get the employees input on work. Understand what is on their plate and try to manage tasks accordingly. Believe it or not but more time being spent on projects will affect the quality of the work as employees will be worn out. Try to get input for the team. Have an open door policy or have a designated time open for employees to be able to talk to you about anything and all things.

How to analyze and change your communication habits

It is very important to first analyze the issue at hand. If you are here you probably have questions in your head such as “Why is the employee turnover so high?” or “Why are tasks assigned not getting done right or on time?”. This is a good first step.

If you haven't identified the sole issue at hand it is important that this be your first step. Start by opening up communication with different departments and try to identify what the issue is. It is imperative to have effective communication in order to highlight key issues and find the key areas in distress.

Solving the communication issues

Keep in mind that every issue is unique and what helped some other company won't necessarily help you. However taking small steps to solving the above issues is a good first step to addressing the problem. Remember to be open with what you are doing to your peers so they can also be enabled to help reach the common goal.

If you are feeling burdened that is normal. You as a leader have other tasks to focus on to make sure your company exists. In this case that is where consultants come in. Hiring an expert to help evaluate your situation is a clear cut way to save time, effort and dig right to the root of the problem. Renée

Marino is an expert communication coach and consultant to help your team grow to their full extent.

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