Communication is one of the essential tools of any business, and also one of the most difficult to get right. Every business has communication at it’s core, with interactions between staff, departments, customers and suppliers happening every minute of every day. The quality and content of these interactions can have a huge impact on both staff morale and overall business success.
Our experience in staff surveys has proven to us that good communication is key to staff engagement, and is the most frequent improvement area we see. Getting it right can bring big rewards to an organisation, whilst getting it wrong can have serious negative consequences.
So in a medium sized organisation how do you get it right? It may seem easy if you have only 40 staff, but how often do you hear your team say “no-one told me” or “that wasn’t what I thought you meant”.
Without strict formal communication channels and strategy the most effective way to do this well is to ensure everyone in your organisation understands what a good communicator does and takes ownership of their own communication. Make sure they know why communication is so important and provide them with the techniques to be a good communicator. If all of your team take on the responsibility to ensure they communicate well, your business can excel in this area.
To do this we suggest:
1. Training your team on communication. It is easy to open your mouth and talk, but it is a lot harder to send a clear message and ask for feedback to make sure messages have a common understanding. Encourage your team to think about tone, body language, content and method of delivery. Help them to understand how it will benefit them directly if they communicate well.
2. Make communication everyone’s responsibility. It is easy to assign communication to Managers, yet when you operate in a lean and flexible environment everyone has responsibilities which impact on each other. Let your team know that communication is a Company-wide responsibility. Encourage them to suggest ideas to improve communication and get them involved with implementing these suggestions.
3. Give feedback. Usually in appraisal or feedback discussions we focus on the delivery of tasks or achieving KPI’s. By widening this discussion to include not only “what” your team member does, but “how” they do it and “how” they communicate, you can help embed a culture of pro-active communication and then provide feedback and coaching to improve this.
Excelling in organisational communication can bring direct improvements to your business through improved engagement and increased productivity. Not to mention the reduction of misunderstandings. Communication can be difficult in a business of any size but with the right training, accountability and feedback you can get it right.
Positive People have extensive experience assisting organisations improve their communication. We have proven communication training and systems which can help your organisation become excellent at communicating. See Communication training. Contact us now.