Good communication at work plays a significant role, whether you are building relationships, managing conflicts, or going through any objectives. In this article, we’ll cover how improving communication at the workplace helps your employees feel happier at work.
The ongoing pandemic and the shift from physical locations to virtual meetings have put pressure on the ways of communication at the workplace. Improving communication at the workplace during remote work can be hard, however, sticking to a few principles can help.
The following seven principles of workplace communication, followed by six actions you should be focusing on are designed to help you have improved communication at the workplace.
Seven principles of communication at the workplace
Having good workplace communication is essential even during the best of times. In order to improve your internal communication, follow the following seven principles in your communication to prevent and overcome potential issues: communication should be concrete, coherent, clear, consistent, completeness and courteous:
Your messages should be concrete to create a clear picture for your employees, upon which they can act. Backing the message up with factual material leaves no space for imagination.
Coherent communication is a logical, well-planned and sequential manner of delivering messages. For example, weekly info sessions or newsletters to your team will keep everyone in the loop.
To add to that, the message you are delivering should be clear, and it should not baffle the receiver. Being clear about the wanted outcomes of the message means there is no room for confusion.
Commitment is a major part of workplace communication skills. It is all about the dedication and the degree to which one communicates surety in the argument. Communicating in a committed way leaves a greater impact.
Being consistent in the message you are trying to deliver, supported with a consistent tone and voice of the message saves you time. Your words should not leave your employees confused.
Completeness in communication is very important. Each message must have a conclusion and it should not be incomplete. Once again, when the message is not complete, it will result in confused employees or teammates.
Courteous communication, meaning honest, respectful, open, and polite, goes a long way. Do not use offensive language or be passive-aggressive.
So these seven principles are a good start in communicating in the workplace. Following these simple rules will make your communication much easier for everybody involved.
Actions for improved communication at the workplace
Now that we’ve established what are the cornerstones of good communication at the workplace, it makes sense to see how can you take those principles into action, while also considering the ongoing pandemic and its special circumstances.
Creating a communication-friendly culture
Good communication starts with creating a communication-friendly culture. Creating a culture where opinions and thoughts are valued, expressing emotions is allowed, and where the employees are unafraid to bring up difficult conversations is essential. Teams who show a high level of productivity have established psychological safety in their communication.
A great communication culture follows the seven principles of communication but also aims for the persons to understand first, and act second. Add in the mindset shift of assuming positive intent in communication first, and you have the foundations for a great communication culture.
Choosing your communication methods wisely
To support the culture, the right set of tools is needed. Allowing your employees to communicate in their preferred ways sets a culture of trust in communication, while simultaneously allowing for better availability.
Using a variety of communication methods, such as 121s, weekly team meetings, ask-me-anything’s (AMAs) and townhall meetings allow for you to get the attention of just the right people.
Pairing the message with a proper communication medium is important at any time, especially when talking about COVID-19-related issues. For example, it’s unwise to send a Teams message to notify somebody about a potential exposure case. Or on the other hand, sending an email about every single scheduled workplace cleaning is a bit too much.
As most companies have many different communication methods, it is best to plan and decide on suitable channels for different kinds of messages.
Think about the tone of communication
As mentioned in the overall communication principles earlier, being courteous about your communication is key. Embrace an empathetic tone and adopt cues that make your employees feel grounded in these unprecedented times, as well as show them that the company and its leadership are situationally aware.
Making sure that your message is boosting confidence, calmness and surety about the situation will ease the pressure on your employees’ side.
Addressing concerns and the importance of collaborative feedback
Personal communication is key, so give your employees an equal chance to voice their questions, concerns, and ideas. Taking employee feedback and making it actionable to create policies and resources reflecting these contributions from your team. This will lead to your employees feeling heard and appreciated, and that is never a bad thing, right?
Employees might be still anxious about returning to the workplace, and employers should address these fears head-on. Setting guidelines and procedures regarding the situation in your workplace and discussing how your employees can reduce the risks of contracting the virus will help your employees understand the situation better. You can also discuss the actions already taken for the reduced possibility of contracting COVID-19 at your premises.
Taking care of these special circumstances in your communication actions is very important, as added uncertainty about work-related matters does not help your employees perform. There is a clear benefit in good and clear communication in keeping everyone in the loop, for example, about policy changes in your workplace.
Show that feedback results into actions
It’s very likely that your company has adjusted to accommodate the new working methods of hybrid working. We at Haltian used the time and space in our office to renovating it to better suit the needs of hybrid and activity-based working.
Adjusting the workplace based on your employees’ needs and wants is the right way to do it, and you should stay attuned to how your employees settle into their changing workplace. Providing them with updated “office policies” reminders is a good way to go, as well as creating easy ways to give feedback.
What good communication leads to?
There can be clear benefits from following these principles and taking note of the COVID-19-related actions. Better communication at the workplace means a better working environment, as the messages distributed are well-thought-out and clear. Employees then know where the company stands on specific things, they know how to act if any issues raise and they feel heard & appreciated.
Putting these together leads to fewer mistakes made, and time and other resources saved by the company and its employees, all while creating a constructive feedback collection method. Having good internal communication at the workplace is a clear way of improving your company.
If you want to read more on how COVID-19 has affected the work environment, and how our customer Subsea7 managed their shift into the new working world, check out our reference case here: