The average person spends up to 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime — that’s one third of your life! Seeing that you spend a big chunk of your life at work, then it’s important to learn how to make the most out of your working life. If you enjoy being at your workplace and get along well with your colleagues, chances are your working life is going to be so much better. On the other hand, if you don’t enjoy your job and fail to get along with your colleagues, your working life and performance will ultimately suffer.
One of the best ways to improve your working life is by improving your workplace communication. By learning how to communicate clearly and effectively with your colleagues, employer or employees if you are an employer, you will eliminate unnecessary frustrations and conflicts due to miscommunication; hence, making work a more pleasant experience for all. Here are some helpful tips to help you and your team communicate better:
1. Improve your communication skill
The COVID-19 pandemic has given birth to the new normal of remote working outside the office. Since co-workers have less time to meet and communicate face to face, miscommunication is bound to happen, leading to frustration and unmet expectations. The only way to make things better is by working on your individual communication skill.
Whilst being a good communicator is tantamount for managerial and upper ranked executives who are required to manage others, a whopping 91% of employees actually claim that their leaders lack communication skills. Therefore, every manager should continuously upgrade and work on his or her communication skills.
2. Create an open communication environment
Nobody can improve on their weaknesses unless they know what to work on. Because of this, an open communication environment in which employees can provide feedback, and vice versa, is crucial for driving employee engagement, productivity and retention.
Four out of ten employees are actively disengaged when they get little or no feedback. Employees also want to know that their opinions matter and that their leader is willing to understand their situation at work. Therefore, as often as you can, give and ask for honest feedback from your team members.
3. Build trust with your team members
Workplace communication has a direct impact on employees’ trust towards their leaders. Moreover, 93% of workers said trustworthy leadership was the most critical factor in creating alignment.
A study found that, compared with employees working at low-trust companies, employees working at companies that cultivate trust:
- Feel 74% less stressed
- Are 106% more energetic at work
- Are 50% more productive
- Are 13% less willing to call in sick to work
- Feel 76% more engaged
- Report a 29% higher satisfaction with their lives overall
- Are 40% less likely to cope with burnout
4. Take time to connect with your team members
In the past decades, employees are more comfortable having strong work relationship boundaries with people they work with, especially with their superiors. However, the new crop of Millennials and Gen Z workforce are more sociable and team-oriented. When millennials were asked about what they want from their workplace, interactions with their colleagues was extremely important to them. In addition to that, the younger generation also place the ‘ability to share new ideas’ and ‘being heard’ as two of the most important criterias in a work environment.
Therefore, managers should enable team members to connect and collaborate more efficiently. Choosing the right communication channels to communicate with your team will make a huge difference.
5. Choose the right communication channels
Millennials and Gen Z make up the majority of today’s workforce. Hence, managers need to adjust their communication strategy based on their team members’ preferences and habits. This may not make sense to all, but the same way millennials expect their favorite social media channels to deliver information relevant to their interests, they expect workplace communication to do the same; they want important information to find them.
Unfortunately, intranets and emails that still make some of the main workplace communication channels are outdated and have low employee adoption rates. What you can do with the right communication solution such as Slack, is connect all of your communication channels into a central place for employee communication.
6. Make important information easily accessible
Part of honest and open communication requires accessible information sharing as and when required. In order to improve workplace communication, managers need to improve the way they deliver information to their employees.
Extensive search for relevant information causes significant losses in employees’ productivity and motivation. Luckily, employee communication tools like Slack enable managers to ensure that important information is always at their employees’ fingertips.
7. Acknowledge good work
Nothing causes an employee to feel disenchanted by their work and organisation more than the lack of acknowledgement for their contribution. Employee recognition makes employees go the extra mile and it builds trust between employees and managers.
Not only that recognition improves workplace communication, but employees who get recognized by their managers engage by up to 60% more. Encourage and award your team members’ productivity by introducing incentives such as ‘Employee of the Month’ or a performance bonus for those who hit their target key performance indicators (KPI).
8. Keep it positive
Practicing positivity and optimism in the workplace leads to numerous health benefits, increased productivity and less stress. Optimistic employees are also happier and more involved in their work, so one of the most important traits a manager can have is to spread positivity among their teams. Managers who promote positivity can help their employees start looking on the brighter side of things.
9. Act with integrity
In order to maintain credibility, respect, and trust gained through open and honest communication, managers need to back up their words with actions. Promising something and not executing on the word is the main reason why employees lose trust in their managers.
Did you make a promise to give a performance bonus or take your team on a company trip this year? Act on it and be a person of your word.
10. Be approachable
Sometimes, employees may think that their managers are unapproachable. This happens in situations where managers react negatively to employee complaints or concerns, do not allocate enough time to one-on-ones or take too long to respond to employee questions or emails. When employees hesitate to talk to their managers, low engagement and conflicts may happen.
High turnover in a company is extremely costly and the only way to minimise turnover and improve retention is by keeping your employees engaged and inspired. You don’t necessarily need to befriend your employees in a way that erases healthy workplace boundaries. However, open, honest and clear communication will do wonders to your overall productivity and satisfaction as a team.