A plan on paper is only as impactful in implementation as effective communication in the workplace allows it to be.
This is because flawed communication, like you can see in the picture above, can lead to disengagement, mistrust, rumors, and resistance.
The greater the number of people, geographic distance, cross-cultural obstacles, or technological issues, the greater the possibility of ineffective communication.
Where leaders place emphasis on strategic planning related to projects in sales, finance, marketing, technology, and other areas, it makes sense that the common denominator of communication receive similar attention.
With that in mind, let's explore 3 ways to improve effective communication in the workplace so that you:
I'm a believer that employee participation in strategy development increases interest in getting to the finish line, attention along the way, and willingness to problem solve as a team.
The resistance toward something we've been told to find valuable is greater than that toward something we've helped to create to become valuable.
It's why I'm fond of applying Kotter's change model with clients.
In this model, the formation of a guiding coalition lends to employee participation in creating vision and strategy, and communicating both throughout organizations.
Outside of work, you get your information from multiple sources.
At work, whether remote or in-person, you get updates from:
Where organizations run into issues in getting accurate information about significant changes to their employees usually happens when those big announcements are shared using only one communication channel.
Early in my career, this happened when the CEO would send an email blast to all the company's employees.
But, with 100s of emails sitting in inboxes, pressure to attend to other activities and deadlines, having to open or download attachments, and strong filters that sometimes sent the message to spam, it was difficult to know who read the email, let alone who understood it.
If employees are getting general updates, throughout the day, using multiple channels, it makes sense that major announcements should be prepared for sharing across those same channels.
Not only is it more likely that a larger % of employees will receive and read the information, but the possibility that they'll respond with thoughts, feedback, or questions also improves.
If there's been any history of employee efforts in providing ideas or feedback being ignored, there's going to be an uphill battle.
If there's been a history of negative consequences, like reprimand or retaliation, for having the courage to step forward, then employees are going to be hesitant to contribute until they can see, and verify, that the environment is changing.
Those in supervisory roles have to lead the charge by:
Here are the key takeaways around improving effective communication in the workplace:
These tips can be put to use by team leads and managers as a way to realize progress while refining process and benefiting from the feedback of employees along the way.
Start small, learn from each project, share knowledge, and create a playbook to use as it's introduced throughout your company.
This section of the site is an excellent primer for insight on methodologies, tools, and resources that can support successful change efforts.
To continue your learning:
David Bohmiller, MBA, MS (he/him/his)
Founder, CEO and Consulting Executive
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