The Importance of Communication in an Organization
— December 1st, 2022
The importance of communication in an organization can not be overstated.
A company may have the best skilled, most competent, and most talented employees out there; but if communication is poor there will be nothing to show for it.
Effective communication helps unleash the power of an organization. It helps to create a healthy working environment, fostering collaboration, and increasing productivity.
Business comprises of continuous interactions with multiple parties – managers, employees and clients. Successful communication ensures the flowing of information between all relevant parties, reducing the potential for misunderstanding, dissatisfaction and lack of trust.
The Ultimate Guide to Internal Communications Strategy
Communication within an organization takes many forms: from oral communication and written communication to communicate through email/intranet/IM/business networks and even body language, which can be so important in today's increasingly multi-cultural workplace. And so, the way in which an organization communicates needs to be consistent and clear across multiple channels.
Good managers possess good communication skills
Crucially, good communication needs to come from the top down. The way a manager communicates with direct employees is generally regarded as an indicator of how an organization communicates with its workforce. As described by Bisel (2012), "the supervisor-subordinate relationship is a microcosm of the organizational universe…when supervisors communicate with subordinates their interactions are an observable manifestation of an organization in action."
An interesting survey of 46 CEOs/ Senior Leaders in the UK by the Marketing Society (2013), revealed what they considered essential leadership skills for senior management:
- Giving a clear sense of direction
- Bringing the customer into the boardroom
- Communicating clearly – both inside and out
- Being flexible but not floppy
- Taking risks but not ‘betting’ the company
- Building the team around you
- Listening with humility, acting with courage
- Earning your reward through building trust
What's worth noting is that communication is, without a doubt, a basic function of management. Over 90% of personnel officials at 500 US businesses said increased communication skills are needed for success in the 21st century. This is supported by the list above where we can see that all of the named skills are in some way communication related and some, for example, number 3, are wholly focused on communication.
Create a culture where communication flourishes
"A crucial, but often overlooked function of leadership is creating a culture in which effective communication can flourish," said Greg Satell in a Harvard Business Review article citing an incident at Google where a certain style of communication is understood because it is ingrained in the specific culture of the organization.
In this instance, "THESE ADS SUCK" could have been seen as a dressing down to Google AdWords specialists by Larry Page, however, because of the culture that had been created at Google it was instead seen as a call to action to technical engineers to use their skills to fix the problem.
What we can extrapolate from this example is that an organization's communication style is a natural extension of its culture. An open, transparent culture will naturally have an open approach to communication. Without a company culture that promotes open communication, silos can occur where valuable information and communication does not flow easily between departments and employees.
Poor workplace culture is one of the main factors that influence ineffective communication within a company leave employees may feel disconnected from the organization and their colleagues, leading to decreased morale and decreased performance.
How managers can communicate with employees and promote an open culture
To ensure effective communication, organizations must develop creative ideas that engage employees and keep them interested. 4 tried and tested ideas are:
- Newsletters: One way to do this is by creating employee newsletters that contain interesting stories, news updates, and other relevant content. This can help to keep employees engaged and motivated while also helping to build a sense of community within the organization. Ensure all newsletter and email content are relevant and targeted to the employees receiving the content.
- Video Conferencing and Virtual Meetings: This one is a given for most teams since the shift towards hybrid work models. However, however, managed well, without overkill video conferencing and virtual meetings create more interactive conversations.
- Doing Fun Things to Boost Morale: "All work and no play makes jack a dull boy". Keep your team morale up by doing fun things that are not work-related. They could be team nights out with karaoke, to something as small as a short online quiz once a week. It can break up the monotony of work and help team members connect outside of work - even if only for 5 minutes before a meeting starts.
- Being Available. Managers are likely to have tight schedules, jam-packed with meetings and deadlines. However, remaining open for communication is incredibly important when trying to foster a culture where communication will flourish.
By coming up with creative communication ideas, organizations can ensure that their employees stay connected, motivated, and informed.
Common mistakes management makes in communications
Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, delays, and even conflict between managers and employees. It is essential for managers to be aware of the pitfalls of management communication in order to ensure that their team is working effectively and efficiently.
Some of the most common mistakes include;
- Sending too many emails
- Not personalizing and tailoring emails and messages
- Using the wrong communication platforms
- Poor listening
- Poor levels of feedback
- Little recognition of employee work
- Unclear goals and expectations
The list goes on. These common communication mistakes can have a lasting impact on the organization as a whole and must be avoided at all costs.
By understanding these common errors in communications, management can work towards creating a positive environment where everyone's opinions are heard and respected. This will help them build trust with their employees and ensure that everyone is working towards achieving the same goals.
Reap the benefits of effective organizational communication
Research has consistently shown that effective communication has a significantly positive effect on an organization. Among its established benefits are:
- increased productivity
- higher quality of services and products
- greater levels of trust and commitment
- increased employee engagement and higher levels of creativity
- greater employee job satisfaction and morale of employees
- better workplace relationships
- greater acceptance of change
- decreased absenteeism
- reduced staff turnover
- less industrial unrest
- reduced costs
The Ultimate Guide to Internal Communications Strategy
Create a comprehensive and effective communication strategy for your organization
Developing a comprehensive and effective communication strategy is essential for any organization to ensure that its employees, managers, and HR departments are on the same page. A well-crafted communication strategy should include steps that will help your organization communicate better with its employees and stakeholders. It should also be flexible enough to accommodate changes in the workplace and adapt to new technologies.
By implementing a communication strategy, your organization can improve internal communications, increase employee engagement, and ensure that everyone is kept informed of important developments. Knowing where to start can be tricky. An employee survey about the work environment could be a great starting point. With the right information and employee feedback, you can create an environment where everyone feels heard and has access to the information they need to do their job effectively.
Broadly speaking, consistent and open communication across an organization ensures all employees, from senior management to entry-level staff, understand the company's goals and culture, as well as how it presents itself to its customers and clients. In this open environment, feedback is encouraged and sought out, either through face-to-face meetings or regular surveys.
A Business Outlook study revealed that US workers send and receive an average of 1,798 messages each day via telephone, email, faxes, papers, and face-to-face communications, while a number of industry experts estimate that the average business executive spends three-quarters of their day engaged in oral or written communication. What we're seeing is that the need for good communication isn't exclusive to one or two sectors, it's vital at every level of every role, in every organization.