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Open communication importance: Why is it needed in the Workplace?

Open communication importance: Why is it needed in the Workplace?
Open communication importance: Why is it needed in the Workplace?
Learn the open communication importance for an organization. Discover how it can transform employee experience, productivity and engagement.
Posted in: Internal communications
Open communication importance: Why is it needed in the Workplace?
Open communication importance: Why is it needed in the Workplace?

Open communication importance cannot be stated in words. It is like Calcium in your bones. When it's there, it's just there and it's not something you notice or you deliberately think about. It comes naturally and you go on with your life.

However, without it, every moment is excruciating. You watch as each and every single component of your body is falling apart. The same thing happens to your organization in case there is no open communication between its members.

Once your employees don't have open communication, they keep on acting on unclear signals and ambiguous messages. Thus, it will result in poor business performance.

Whether it is your employees who work on the frontline or the ones who work in offices, open communication helps in becoming an effective collaborative force and in addition one will reap numerous other benefits.

IIn this article, we will outline the meaning of open communication and why you should pay particular attention to it. 

Not only will you learn why it is so important to foster a culture of open communication, but we will also explain the key elements that will help you on the road towards developing an open communication environment. 

What is Open Communication? 

What is Open Communication?

Open communication is a term that refers to a situation where individuals are able to share their views and opinions with each other. Inside a corporate environment, the organization has to work toward an engagement where all employees are encouraged to participate and share their feedback and opinions.

For example, when the top managers and other employees of an organization talk with each other about their ideas, concerns, and feelings, in a way that is consistent, honest, transparent, and reliable. 

As a result, problems are not left unnoticed, conflicts get resolved, and cooperation gets better.

The open communication further enhances employees' willingness to express themselves without any fear or hesitation. This way of communication is the best among the approaches people use to convey disagreement, confrontation avoidance, and non-verbal cues.

The basic idea here is that open communication is an approach that shows respect for every worker's opinion, helps them think differently, and results in teamwork.

In a professional setting, open communication encompasses various aspects:

  • Interpersonal Communication: This includes regular interactions among team members, between employees and their supervisors, and informal conversations throughout the workplace.
  • Internal Communications: These are one-to-many communications typically utilized by larger companies when disseminating messages from leadership to the entire workforce. It also encompasses communication channels for employees to provide feedback in return.
  • Formal Communication: This refers to the exchange of information within formal processes such as recruitment, performance reviews, restructuring, and promotions.

To support the importance of open communication, consider the following statistics:

  • According to a study by Gallup, teams with high levels of communication experience a 50% increase in productivity compared to those with poor communication.
  • A survey conducted by Towers Watson found that companies with effective communication practices enjoy 47% higher total returns to shareholders over a five-year period.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 86% of employees cite ineffective communication as a primary cause of workplace failures.
  • Research by McKinsey & Company reveals that organizations with strong communication practices are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers in financial performance.

These statistics underscore the critical role of open communication in driving productivity, employee engagement, and overall organizational success.

But that's not all. Now, let's discuss whyis open communication important in detail.

The Evolution of Communication Styles

Baby boomers
Generation X
Millennials
Communication
​Face-to-face
​Email or Instant Messaging
​'Just text me'
Attitude to work
​Loyal to my job
​I work to live
​Play then work
Information
​Print me a copy
​Send me a copy
​I'll google it
What they want at work
​Respect my title
​Respect my ideas
​Respect my skills
Areas of focus
​Focus on progress
​Focus on results
​Focus on involvement
Priorities
​Work comes first
​Family comes first
​Friends come first

How miscommunication happens 

Why is Open Communication Important?

Lets get into open communication in the workplace importance and reasons.

When communication breaks down within a workplace, the internal mechanisms that keep businesses functioning effectively start to weaken. This breakdown has a direct impact on the overall operational efficiency of the company. 

For instance, when divisions emerge between different teams and employees cease to exchange information, various problems emerge. These issues could manifest as redundant work or crucial tasks being left unaddressed, which are vital for the completion of significant projects. 

Consequently, communication breakdowns not only hamper productivity but also diminish team morale, as well as both customer and employee satisfaction levels. 

Nevertheless, these consequences merely scratch the surface of the detrimental effects of poor communication on businesses. Delve deeper into the significance of open communication by exploring the points outlined below. 

Open communication plays a crucial role in organizations for several key reasons:

  • Improving Engagement: When employees are encouraged to express their thoughts and feelings openly, it can lead to higher engagement levels. This increased engagement often translates into greater commitment to the organization, resulting in improved performance and results.
  • Promoting Inclusion: Encouraging open communication fosters a sense of inclusion among employees. When individuals feel that their opinions are valued by management, they are more likely to offer constructive feedback and actively participate in company initiatives.
  • Strengthening Team Bonds: A workplace culture that prioritizes open communication tends to be more efficient. Within teams, open communication fosters greater accountability among team members and reinforces the importance of individual contributions to team success.
  • Enhancing Trust: Organizations that cultivate a culture of open communication build trust between employees and management. When employees know that constructive criticism is welcomed and can positively impact their career growth, they are more likely to trust their colleagues and leaders. This trust creates a sense of security in their roles, which in turn can boost productivity levels.

Overall, open communication serves as a cornerstone for fostering employee engagement, inclusion, teamwork, and trust within organizations, ultimately contributing to their success and growth.

Here are 7 other reason why open communication is important.​

#1. Open Communication Keep Workers Happy

Worker happiness should be prioritized because the productivity of a happy employee is 20% higher than that of an unhappy one. The employees will be less likely to jump ship and will end up staying with your organization, which will save you a lot in new staff acquisition.

To maintain a happy workforce, the key is to have constant communication. A recent study by Atlassian revealed that employees are 80% more likely to be in a better emotional state if there is mutual respect, honest feedback and personal openness.

#2. Open Communication Helps to Reduce Cultural Gap

 One of the team members unexpectedly resigned. He had taken the job four months earlier with a substantial salary increase from the last one. Nobody could witness any signs of dissatisfaction. When asked why, he replied, "I feel like I'm not part of this place."

Sadly, such occurrences are the reality of our world. Most of the large enterprises in the modern world are having a pool of workers who are from different cultures.

However, it can also draw a line between those who feel accepted and those who feel bewildered and alienated.

Culture is made up by a lot of elements such as religion, food, etc. These varying elements may create problems when multi-cultural employees work in a team. And to top that, there are revenue streams becoming non-existent and PR crises.

Hence, building an inclusive culture is an imperative to engage and retain staff. The good news is that your employees can overcome those barriers with cultural knowledge, awareness, and the understanding of what open communication is all about.

#3. Open Communication Boosts Employee Engagement

Open communication is the best way for building the trust of employees and keeping them motivated. An academic study has shown that more productive workers are 17% as engaged in their jobs as others. They are the ones who keep up with their routines perfectly well and show a lot of commitment to their tasks.

In this way, you make it clear that you take into account the issues that your employees are concerned about or have feedback. And by taking this approach, you show that you are an employer who is supportive and caring. If open communication isn't one of the tactics in your employee engagement strategies, it's time to add it.

So sharing the feelings and thoughts, for instance in the form of nonverbal communication, as well as via verbal communication, is a key component of employee involvement and commitment. 

#4. Open Communication Increases Productivity

You can have an educated and experienced worker, but all the skills in the world would be worthless if productivity is abysmally low. On top of that, if your employees can not effectively communicate with each other, they won't be able to complete tasks.

This is because we have already explained that communication in the context of business opens up engagement, and engagement, in turn, leads to increased productivity. And, of course, productivity doesn't remain unaffected either.

Openness makes communication effective. They get the right information at the right time through your employees. Also, communication that is efficient enough can save the productivity of the workplace by 25%.

#5. Open Communication Leads to Clear Expectations

The most fundamental thing that the employees need to be efficient in their jobs is getting clear information about the tasks involved and reasons why they should be performed. It is being the main driver and doing the explanations about every worker's role that are the keys to achieving business goals.

Without obvious guidelines and boundaries, you're already making them fail while they haven't even started. And what helps you set clear expectations? Open communication.

What is more important is that this doesn't only ensure the tasks are well understood but also keeps the workers responsible. By expressing your goals and KPIs frequently, you are reminding them of their significance and giving them a target to aim for. 

#6. Open Communication can Improve Psychological Safety

Suppressing the issues in the company only increases the intensity of these issues. 

The earlier you can get rid of them, the better for everyone. For instance, you and your peers might think you do not take into account their workloads when you give them new assignments. If they are not treated equally, then their feelings of resentment towards you may as well grow up. And in case they are not allowed to vocalize their worries, they are easily going to turn out to be burnouts or quitters.

Thus, it is vital that workers should be free in airing their views. But they should not be even judged, blamed or punished in any way, they should feel supported and safe instead.

This is the reason why psychological security is one of the main factors and is crucial for employee engagement. When you cultivate the open exchange of people's ideas and emotions, workers will understand that it is not scary to express oneself.

It ensures that there is an environment in which employees don't feel shy of saying their honest opinion and also do not get offended when such feedback is given to them. On the other hand, leaders are more likely to consider proposals that can be used to improve the organization and unleash its full potential.

#7. Open Communication Improves Team Bonding

Openly communicating is one of the effective strategies that enables the employees to get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses, communication styles, preferences, and even the vulnerabilities. 

It is not only a means of developing teamwork skills but also a way of demonstrating that the team acknowledges and appreciates them for how they contribute to the team.

The outcome? The trust in each other grows and the relationships become much stronger. What organization would not want to have this as part of their employee experience strategy?

However, closed communication creates an impression of deception, manipulation, criticism, and intimidation in people. Conversely, to deal with this, workers create emotional shields to save themselves. Thus, the employee engagement and retention rate falls.

Open Communication Importance in the Workplace

Open communication serves as the lifeblood of any business, indispensable for its smooth functioning. Imagine a workplace where departments and teams operate in isolation, devoid of interaction. 

In such an environment, the absence of open communication can lead to duplication of efforts, with multiple individuals unknowingly tackling the same task while others remain neglected due to oversight.

However, beyond its role in preventing inefficiencies, open communication also serves as a catalyst for growth within organizations. 

By fostering an environment where ideas can freely flow and information is shared transparently, businesses can tap into the collective intelligence of their workforce. This not only fuels innovation but also enhances collaboration, problem-solving, and overall organizational effectiveness. 

In essence, open communication is not merely a foundational principle but a dynamic force that propels businesses forward on their path to success. 

Statistics on how people prefer to communicate at the workplace

The communication preferences in the workplace vary depending on whether an individual holds a managerial position or is a regular employee.

That being stated, it's worth exploring whether the desires of managers and employees coincide regarding what they seek to achieve through workplace communication.

Based on findings from Gallagher's State of the Sector 2024 report, a substantial 84% of employees rely on managers to varying degrees for communication within the workplace.

As indicated by the report's categorization, managers are often perceived as the primary "communicators," entrusted with several crucial responsibilities. 

These include fostering employee engagement, which was identified by 74% of survey participants, ensuring widespread awareness of organizational strategy, cited by 70% of respondents, facilitating behavior change, as acknowledged by 49% of individuals, extending digital reach, a priority for 46% of those surveyed, and ensuring adherence to company policies, highlighted by 34% of respondents.

Now, delving deeper, it's essential to understand how managers themselves perceive the purpose and significance of internal communication within their roles. 

Managers, being at the forefront of disseminating information and facilitating interactions within their teams, often view internal communication as a multifaceted tool that serves various strategic objectives. 

For many managers, internal communication serves as a means to align team members with organizational goals, foster collaboration and teamwork, disseminate vital information efficiently, and provide a platform for feedback and dialogue. 

Also, effective internal communication is seen as instrumental in promoting transparency, boosting morale, and ultimately driving organizational success. 

Understanding managers' perspectives on internal communication sheds light on its pivotal role in organizational dynamics and underscores its significance in fostering a cohesive and productive work environment.

Benefits of open communication in the workplace

 The benefits of open communication in the workplace are numerous and impactful:

  • Enhanced Collaboration: Open communication fosters collaboration among team members, enabling them to share ideas, insights, and feedback more freely. This collaborative environment often leads to innovative solutions and more effective problem-solving.
  • Increased Employee Engagement: When employees feel that their voices are heard and their opinions are valued, they are more likely to be engaged in their work. Open communication cultivates a sense of belonging and empowerment, leading to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention.
  • Improved Morale: Transparent communication builds trust and credibility within the organization. Employees are more motivated and enthusiastic when they are kept informed about company goals, changes, and developments. This positive morale contributes to a healthier and more productive work environment.
  • Better Decision-Making: Open communication ensures that relevant information is shared across all levels of the organization, facilitating better decision-making processes. When employees have access to the necessary information, they can make informed decisions that align with the company's objectives and values.
  • Conflict Resolution: Transparent communication helps to prevent misunderstandings and conflicts by promoting clarity and understanding. When issues do arise, open communication provides a platform for addressing concerns openly and collaboratively, leading to more effective conflict resolution.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Employees who are empowered to communicate openly with customers can provide better service and support. Open communication enables employees to understand customer needs and preferences, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Overall, open communication in the workplace is essential for fostering a positive organizational culture, driving collaboration and innovation, and ultimately, achieving long-term success.

3 Pillars that Support Open Communication  

#1.Transparency  

Transparency is a fundamental factor that eases trust-building and promotes mutual understanding in any kind of communication. 

This carries the meaning of being open and free with the exchange of information, feelings, thoughts, and intentions. 

With a transparent approach people and the business can at minimum make any confusions and create a trustworthy environment with respect and fairness. It is about enabling the access to, comprehension of, and practical applications of the information for everyone concerned. 

Transparency in communication mirrors collaboration, development of productive problem-solving capabilities, and creation of an environment of openness where everyone becomes an essential member and receives appropriate information.  

#2.Active Listening

Attentive listening is an important part of internal communication. 

It does not stop there - it is about listening with not only the ears but also the heart. When the words have been processed and understood, then it is when the meanings also become clear. 

People who actively listen respond with remarks that show their mastery of the message, ask for details to fill-in gaps, and not judge prematurely. 

This interaction creates a partner-like atmosphere to build a bond, foster mutual respect, and facilitate meaningful conversations.  

#3.Feedback

Feedback of a constructive nature is an inherent element of open communication, which serves to promote learning, growth, and improvement. Really good feedback is concretized, referring to actions or achievements and has nothing personal in it. 

It can be given in a timely manner providing insights practically some seconds after the event, which ultimately convinces the observer to make actionable decisions. 

Feedback is, in essence, an interactive communication, and one which should be open to change in the right direction. 

It supports an ongoing talk, leads to the formation of a culture of the practice of cyclic improvement, and helps the staff to get a scale of things and learn when to make changes in strategies and actions.  

How to build a culture of open communication in the workplace

To enable individuals to openly share and be heard, it's essential for both speakers and listeners to possess strong communication skills. These skills are cultivated deliberately and do not develop spontaneously. 

Here are several strategies through which businesses can initiate the cultivation of open communication. 

Promoting an Open Door Culture

Encouraging an environment of open communication within your organization is vital for fostering collaboration and innovation across all hierarchical levels. 

Whether it's a physical or metaphorical open door, the concept signifies that employees have unrestricted access to engage with senior management regardless of their position within the company.

Acknowledging and Promoting Transparent Communication

To cultivate a culture of transparent communication, it's essential to define and recognize instances of such interactions. 

This can be formalized by integrating open communication into performance objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Moreover, informal recognition through praise or employee awards can further incentivize transparent communication behaviors.

Setting an Example Through Leadership

Leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping organizational culture. By exemplifying transparent communication practices, leaders establish a precedent for others to follow suit. 

Research demonstrates that fostering two-way internal communication and responsive leadership behaviors contribute to cultivating a positive emotional atmosphere in the workplace. 

Therefore, managers who demonstrate openness in their communication style can influence their subordinates to adopt similar practices.

Investing in Communication Training

Effective communication skills are not innate; they require nurturing and development. Providing training programs focused on communication can equip employees with the tools to enhance their interaction abilities, including active listening and conflict resolution. 

Such initiatives enable individuals to adapt to diverse communication styles and foster a more collaborative work environment.

Facilitating Idea Sharing

Encouraging employees to share their ideas and suggestions underscores their value within the organization. 

Creating dedicated platforms and opportunities for idea-sharing, such as periodic workshops, off-site events, or digital channels like internal messaging platforms, fosters a culture of innovation and inclusivity.

Embracing Employee Listening

The practice of employee listening, a burgeoning trend in people analytics and HR, involves systematically gathering feedback to gauge employee sentiments and attitudes. 

This data-driven approach offers valuable insights for decision-making and enables proactive measures to address issues and enhance employee satisfaction. 

Various methods, including surveys, focus groups, and digital communication channels, can be employed to facilitate effective employee listening.

Transparency Amid Challenges

Maintaining open communication becomes particularly crucial during times of adversity. While it may be tempting to withhold negative news, transparency from leadership fosters trust and resilience within the workforce, especially during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Honest and timely communication ensures that employees feel informed and valued, reinforcing the bond between the organization and its staff.

The Impact of Ineffective Workplace Communication

We're all familiar with the potential fallout of miscommunication within organizations. But what do the statistics say about these concerns? What are the figures regarding communication challenges in the workplace?

According to The State of Business Communication report, business leaders have identified three key ramifications of poor communication in the workplace:

  • 43% report decreased productivity as a result of inadequate communication.
  • 42% cite missed deadlines and prolonged timelines as significant consequences.
  • 38% have observed a direct financial impact stemming from communication breakdowns.

Moreover, Project.co's Communication Statistics 2024 report sheds light on the broader costs associated with poor communication practices, including:

  • Wasted time (reported by 70% of respondents).
  • Missed messages (55%).
  • Burnout, stress, and fatigue (53%).
  • Lost files (36%).
  • Negative customer experiences (28%).
  • Customer defections to competitors (12%).
  • Employee attrition (12%).

Moving forward, let's delve into workplace communication statistics that underscore the repercussions of ineffective communication strategies in three key domains:

  • Burnout and subsequent declines in productivity.
  • Professional setbacks.
  • Financial implications for businesses.

Wrapping up 

AgilityPortal

Fostering collaboration within your workforce is crucial for driving towards shared objectives. By combining individual talents and skills, teams can achieve far more collectively than they could working in isolation.

However, teamwork isn't without its challenges. While diversity enriches team dynamics, it can also create obstacles to effective collaboration.

As demonstrated in this discussion, open communication plays a vital role in overcoming these barriers and facilitating seamless access to vital information. Therefore, it's imperative to integrate these principles into your business practices.

Moreover, leveraging top-notch employee engagement tools can significantly enhance efforts to cultivate a culture of transparency and communication. AgilityPortal stands out in this regard, offering solutions that can streamline communication processes. 

Don't hesitate to schedule a free AgilityPortal demo today to see how it can benefit your organization.

You can use internal communication tools to make this process easy for you. You can get a free AgilityPortal trial today.

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Monday, 15 April 2024
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