As Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once declared, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” And while these words of wisdom may have been spoken many decades ago, they still resonate today—especially in the business world. Increasingly, employees are becoming discouraged and unhappy with their jobs due to problems caused by poor communication in the workplace.
On the other hand, sound workplace communication can help improve employee morale, boost productivity, and decrease turnover. If you’re the owner of a small- to medium-sized business, there are some steps you may want to take to address communication gaps within your workplace.
Implement an “Open Door” Policy
As businesses grow and more employees are hired, it becomes increasingly difficult for those “higher up” in the company to maintain one-on-one contact with employees across the board. However, business owners need to make an effort to keep the lines of communication open with their employees; otherwise, they run the risk of creating a disconnect between employees and management. Ultimately, this can stir up feelings of contempt and frustration.
To combat this, business owners (and those in upper-management) are encouraged to implement and honor a company-wide “open-door” policy. This means being open to personally address questions, concerns, and issues at all times. As a result, you can help to reduce gossip and rumors among employees as well as address concerns before they snowball into larger issues.
Start a Company Newsletter
In addition to having an “open door” policy of communication within your company, it can also be productive to start a company-wide newsletter that can keep everybody within the organization informed on recent changes and happenings within the business.
The nice thing about a company newsletter is that you can use it to get important points across while still making it fun and engaging for employees to read. Furthermore, if you choose to publish it online, you don’t need to incur any printing costs to produce it weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly.
To ensure even coverage across different departments of your company, consider selecting one or two representatives from each department to contribute to the newsletter. Furthermore, be sure to welcome contributions from individual employees to keep the lines of communication open.
Develop Relationships outside the Cubicle
Finally, no matter how small or large your company may be, make sure you’re doing your part to foster relationships with and among your employees Outside of the office/cubicle. Whether this means holding an awards ceremony at the end of the year to recognize employees for their hard work or even holding a company picnic once each summer, your workers will appreciate your taking the time to bring them together outside of the work place.
In the process, you can get to better know your employees personally, which can improve morale and boost motivation. Holding get-togethers and events outside of the workplace doesn’t need to cost your business a lot of money, either; it’s possible to plan a business outing or function on just about any budget.
There’s no overstating the importance of communication in any-sized business. And the truth is that every business can stand to improve its communication in some way, so be sure to take these tips into consideration within your own organization. You might just be surprised at what a huge difference these small changes can make in the long term.