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Ideas to Improve Workplace Communication in Company Culture

Good workplace communication is integral to a harmonious environment. When it is made a central part of your HR strategy, your communications can help empower your employees and drive productivity. Consider incorporating this into your drive to improve your overall company culture. Learn how to improve company culture by creating effective team meetings, and a strong perks package that includes flexibility at work.

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How to create good workplace communication

Consider having a designated communications team to listen to employee concerns. Your communications team can also better communicate your business’s core values and principles to clients, customers and employees. Good communication can improve company culture by:

  • helping you to identify and focus your employee’s skills and weaknesses;
  • helping to create innovation and idea generation in your teams;
  • helping you to identify which employees to delegate to;
  • helping to drive employee engagement and identify appropriate learning strategies for employees.

Therefore, the benefits of good communication do not just improve listening and cooperation among your employees. It can be of great benefit to you as their employer. This is because good communication can help you to use employee feedback effectively to improve areas like engagement and retention.

Good communication can help with conflict resolution

Conflicts in your workplace often arise from miscommunication. A good team leader will be able to handle these conflicts in a tactful and diplomatic way, although you may need to tailor your conflict resolution style to the issue at hand. You may find that different employees require different tactics, as some may be more receptive to a particular approach than others. According to the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument, there are five different conflict resolution styles:

  • compromising;
  • avoiding;
  • collaborating;
  • competing;
  • accommodating.

Once you have a grasp of the different conflict resolution approaches, you should consider why conflicts arise in the first place. If you can stop conflicts from arising at all, then this will save you time better spent on reaching targets. The top causes of miscommunication are:

Misunderstandings

A common reason for conflict is a misunderstanding between two or more employees. Perhaps these employees have very different communication styles, which clash or mean that they do not grasp the full context of what their other colleague is saying. Therefore it is a good idea to identify and keep track of the different communication styles of your employees.

Employees not understanding each others’ communication styles

Different communication styles can include verbal, written, body language and visual communication. It is helpful to educate your employees in these different communication styles, so if they have any trouble understanding instructions or directives issued by a colleague, they will be able to follow these up with the appropriate clarifying questions. Make sure that your line managers are aware of employees with reading, spelling or other communication difficulties, so that they tailor their communication style to those that best fit those employees. Also it is a good idea to make sure that employees with communication difficulties feel comfortable discussing their own personal requirements. This may be a time-consuming process but workarounds like these greatly help your employees to avoid misunderstandings. Some employees may also be better natural listeners than others. Consider training your employees in listening skills to avoid misunderstandings.

Employees feeling like their emotional needs are not being met

Conflicts arise when employees feel like their ideas or viewpoints are being ignored or disrespected. Make sure that all of your employees are familiar with your anti-discrimination policies. All of your employees are entitled to have a voice, however when your employees can communicate their ideas effectively they are more likely to settle differences and reach concrete outcomes.

Good communication creates great client or customer relationships

If your business has a front of house team, then they will need to understand how to handle client or customer issues often on a daily basis. This will more often than not require diplomacy, sensitivity and emotional intelligence. Your employees should bear in mind the following points when dealing with clients or customers:

  • They should help the client/customer feel understood and that their perspective is valid;
  • Provide constructive solutions or perspectives on issues that helps put the client or customer at ease;
  • Ensure any conflict with the customer is resolved in an amicable way that leaves the customer satisfied and feeling positive.

How to create effective an effective team meeting

Good communication is also central to any team meeting. An ineffective team meeting can be time consuming and leave employees feeling more confused than before, so it is worth thinking about what takeaways you want your employees to come away with and how to best communicate these. You may find that you are using video conferencing tools more frequently for team meetings. However, regardless of how you are holding a team meeting, good communication strategies are always useful. In fact, you may find it even more important to find novel ways of communicating your strategies to your team if you are now all working remotely. Ways of improving communication during a team meeting include:

  • having a good reason for going into the meeting, and setting an agenda for each discussion;
  • steering tangential conversations back to your main agenda;
  • establishing who will be speaking, when they will be speaking, and cues for listeners to interrupt speakers for questions;
  • establishing regular one-on-one meetings with individual employees;
  • showing your employees how to use video conferencing tools effectively;
  • keeping team meetings in line with business objectives;
  • using your video conferencing chat panel for sharing useful links or for employees to make suggestions or ask questions;
  • using visual cues or presentations, and utilising multiple ways of communicating the same point via different communication methods.

Flexibility at work

Flexibility at work involves being able to adapt to different situations based on what the required skill-set is. It involves being able to adapt to changes over time in your workplace. You may find that different situations call for different leadership styles, or conflict management styles. When you are flexible at work, you know when to slow down to avoid stress, and when a situation calls for a more intensive approach. You can coach your employees in flexibility. The top characteristics of a flexible worker include:

  • making sure that there is enough time to complete tasks, in case there are any difficulties along the way;
  • being optimistic, and having an infectious optimism that inspires colleagues;
  • being calm under pressure, and able to handle difficult tasks methodically;
  • being able to switch between tasks according to priority level.

An increasing number of employees are looking for flexibility at work as a perk. According to this survey, a flexible workplace culture is one of the most popular offerings. This is because many employees are looking for a good work-life balance. Therefore, offering flexible working helps to attract and retain talent. This may be because of other responsibilities and caring duties that they have outside of work. Flexible working can include job sharing and remote working. When you offer flexibility in your workplace, you should make sure that your employees communicate effectively with each other about their shifts. Make sure that employee rotas are in a place which is clear and easy to understand, so there is no miscommunication about who is taking a shift and when. This is especially important if your employees work a front of house job, and there needs to be someone on the help desk or counter at all times your business is open. Good workplace communication can help clear up any miscommunication. It can also help empower your employees to ask questions and take the lead during team meetings. Make sure that your employee’s emotional needs are being met by listening carefully to their concerns, and allowing them to speak out about any perceived discrimination or bias. Exercise different conflict management styles depending on the situation. This can be cooperative or more authoritative depending on how quickly you need to resolve the issue, and the desired outcome. Workplace communication therefore makes you into a better leader. It is a highly transferable skill across all dimensions of business management. Further reading:

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