Communication in the workplace is something that a lot of businesses blatantly ignore. Competition in the workplace is natural, but if your workplace turns into nothing but a marathon, you're going to have toxicity in every corner of your office. When that happens, your employees will stop working to better the team, and instead, they will work towards their own personal goals and vendettas. This is the death of any workplace, and as time goes by, things are going to get more and more negative.
As a manager or an employer, it's your job to ensure that doesn't happen. You have to improve communication in the workplace and keep the team working together like a well-oiled machine. Before we get to our internal communication ideas, let's first talk about why good communication is necessary and why you should be spending your resources on creating a peaceful environment in the office.
Good communication lies at the very heart of any organization's best interests. As the leader of the office, you have to put in a lot of effort to improve communication in the workplace. Here are some of the benefits effective communication will have for your office.
Reducing Toxic Competition
Every office is competitive. People tend to view their co-workers as competition which is something that every good office should have. A little bit of competition never hurts. There have been researches that suggest that competition in a workplace actually ends up increasing overall productivity. But, if left unchecked, employees might look for alternative means to stand out from their co-workers. Instead of working hard themselves, they might try to sabotage fellow workers. This behavior is extremely toxic and is, primarily, the downfall of any office. By maintaining a good level of communication between the workers, you'll be able to promote healthy competition. They'll always have an instinct telling them to do better, but they won't do so by crippling the people around them.
Increasing Overall Productivity
Every office has different teams that have to work in harmony in order for the company to survive. Even the most basic of business have a customer service team, a sales team, a financial team, and a logistics team. If there is some sort of dispute within these teams, your company matters will get slowed down tremendously. To make sure that productivity remains constantly high, you need to change some things up. If you try and improve communication in the workplace, you'll notice an amazing difference between inter-team productivity. Your business will become more productive overall, and you'll be able to do what you do best without any hassle.
Promotes New Ideas
When people work with each other instead of against each other, it will do wonders for your company. In a toxic workplace, people tend to take shortcuts and steal credit wherever they can. Due to this reason, a lot of folks just can't provide constructive ideas that could help the company. By improving communication and getting rid of the toxic behavior between employees, you'll give them the option to bounce ideas back and forth. Two employees might be able to discuss something and come up with a new idea that neither of them might be able to think of on their own. Every person brings a different creative intellect to the table. By bringing several creative minds to the same table, your company will be able to come up with amazing new ideas.
Better Crisis Management
Crisis management is when your team's coherence is really put to the test. Every company eventually faces some sort of crisis that requires the entire team to fix. How can you expect the team to work together if there's a lot of mutual hate in your workplace? If you improve communication in the workplace, you're making sure that your team can collaborate when it matters the most.
So, now that you're a bit more familiar with all the good improved communication can do for your company, let's talk about the how. Here are a few internal communication ideas you can implement for your workspace.
Allocate Times for Non-Work Related Conversations
There's a lot that goes on in the lives of your employees outside of work. And, people tend to develop a misconception that they only need to discuss work when they're in the office. That's not true. As an employer, it's your job to give your workers the time to discuss non-work-related likings and disliking as well. You can allocate 5-10 minutes in your regular meetings to discuss last night's game, some show, some artist, etc. The team management applications you use (Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.) should have separate channels where people can hang out and talk about anything they want. Giving people the room to talk about whatever they want will do wonders for your communication.
Hire a Communication Trainer
This is more of a specific solution for teams that have experienced some sort of friction in the past. A communication trainer is a professional that has been trained to work out office-related disagreements and to move towards a more positive workplace culture. A communication trainer can greatly help work out all the issues and give your workers the space to speak their minds. Their training teaches them to fix even the most toxic of workplaces. There's a pretty good chance that once the trainer is done with your office, you'll see a significant behavioral change between your employees.
Fix Individual Issues
Most of the time, the reason why your workplace might see stalled communication is that certain people are being singled out. This could be due to color, race, religion, etc. It's your job to listen to your workers and understand the issues you're facing. The best way to do so would be to have an "open-door" policy. Every worker should be able to walk right into your office and talk about the issues they're having on-premises. You can take things one step further by making 1-on-1 meetings mandatory and give your employees the room to talk about anything they might want to change in the office. This won't necessarily help you improve communication in the workplace. But, it'll definitely give you a more educated guess on the change that needs to be made.
This may seem like an obvious point but hear us out. A lot of workers are hesitant to talk and communicate just because they don't think their opinion is as 'perfect' as someone else's. They might develop a certain fear of criticizing that prevents them from ever talking out in a group. You need to change that and make sure that you encourage positive communication. If person A says something weird in a group and person B tries to ridicule them because of it, it discourages such behavior. Person A might have a weird idea right now. But, if their idea isn't even considered, they might never mention an idea that could be amazing for the company. The trick is to welcome communication and make it clear that no matter what people say, it won't be held against them.
Not every employee is meeting your expectations. And, there's nothing wrong with that. They need to be told what they're doing wrong and how to improve that. However, the real issue lies with the way most superiors deliver feedback. It's very easy for your criticism to sound like a personal attack.
That's one of the hazards of being a boss. One of the best internal communication ideas that we can give to you is to provide constructive feedback. Your criticism should not feel personal, and it should not feel hostile. Instead of saying, "You were late three times this week. If this happens, I'll be forced to take this up with HR", try saying something a bit more friendly. "I noticed that this is the third time you were late this week. Is everything alright? I'm okay with you being late once in a while, but it's happening too much, and I might need to talk to HR about this". This sentence does three things; it addresses the issue, it shows you care, and it shows the consequences of the person's actions. By having a calm and constructive approach to employee mistakes, you'll greatly increase the trust your employees have in you and in the company.
A toxic workplace can run your entire business into the ground if you're not careful. Your company is just a name. The success of that name depends on the people you hire and how well they work together. It's critical that you try and improve communication in the workplace. We discussed some benefits earlier in the blog, but that was just the tip of the iceberg. You'll be amazed at the end product and how much it helps your business.