Organization strategy

How to foster a communication culture in your organization

As you move up an organization’s hierarchy, you become less involved in day-to-day operations, including communicating with team members. To overcome communication barriers and create a more cohesive and productive organization – and retain your talented employees – you need to put in place concrete solutions. Follow these steps to improve communication within your company.

The higher the position in your organization, the further away you are from day-to-day operations. In many cases, you might even be distant from your employees, creating barriers to unknowingly collaborating. These obstacles create opportunities for miscommunication and misunderstandings that can create tension in the workplace and ultimately become detrimental to your organization as a whole.

As a busy executive, one solution to these issues is to prioritize stronger communication practices throughout your organization. It doesn’t just mean that your door is always open. This means putting measures in place to show workers how to communicate effectively with each other as well as with their colleagues up and down.

One of the main benefits of having strong communication protocols is that you are less likely to lose great performers. According to a salesforce report, employees who feel heard are nearly five times more likely to do their best. This, of course, makes them more likely to stay because they feel they are an integral part of your solution, your mission, and your culture. If you have remote workers, you better communicate too much so that both in-person and remote employees feel connected to your organization as a whole.

The good news is that you’re probably not starting from scratch when it comes to creating lasting communication in your business. But you can always find ways to improve and give employees even more reason to stay. You can start by using the following recommendations to build on the communication methods you already have in place:

  1. Assume your role as a communication mentor.
    Leading by example is a proven way to inspire others to adopt your preferred methods of communication. For example, suppose you want your employees to feel comfortable providing proactive and thoughtful feedback. If you don’t do the same, your employees probably won’t either.

    As Gys Kappers, co-founder and CEO of Wyzetalk, writes in a business communication article, “Simply flooding employees with information and expecting them to be engaged won’t work.” Kappers further explains, “Employers who don’t provide a two-way internal communication strategy don’t hear from their employees and therefore don’t engage them.”

    Fortunately, strategies like Kappers’s don’t need to be heavily documented or loaded with protocols. Instead, your strategy should start with the communication behaviors you initiate and use daily. By asking for feedback and acting on it, you can open the door to more knowledge exchange between everyone in your company.

  2. Test different communication tools and media.
    There is no one-size-fits-all organizational communications solution. Some teams love using Slack, while others are content with a myriad of synchronous or asynchronous communication tools. It might be a good idea to research all the possibilities and then try them out one by one to find the communication system that produces the best results for your team.

    Don’t overlook the channels you’re using right now. You may already have communication channels in place that are underutilized. Case in point: Your project management portal could be useful for encouraging dialogue between teams rather than for organizational updates. Gallup Search shows that 93% of workers feel that the communication they receive at work is not timely or accurate. So start looking for ways to improve the accuracy and reliability of your team’s messaging by providing team members with communication options and training them on the best ways to use these systems.

  3. Invest in the professional development of employees.
    Sometimes people don’t want to communicate because they don’t know what to say. They may be uncomfortable offering their ideas for fear of being seen as uneducated, unskilled, or unsuitable in certain areas. Consequently, you find yourself making decisions without their potentially valuable opinions.

Fortunately, you can help everyone on your team feel more confident about collaborating by offering refresher and upskilling programs. You might also find that you improve your retention in the process. In a survey by LinkedIn94% of professionals said they would stay with an employer if they offered regular learning and development opportunities.

The more your employees acquire know-how, the more they will be able to express themselves. They will not remain silent during brainstorming sessions. They might even offer to train their colleagues on their new findings. Ultimately, you will develop a workforce that is ready and willing to lead and communicate.

The ability to freely exchange information at any time through a variety of portals is an asset to any business. While you may not be able to sit down with every employee, you can certainly make sure everyone’s voice is heard. Your reward will be fewer communication “details” and a cohesive and productive business.

Written by Rhett Power.
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