Effective Communication Strategies in the Workplace

What are effective communication strategies in the workplace

Two key elements of workplace communication

Inclusive communication

An inclusive communication strategy is where all members of the business from senior managers to junior staff have the ability to share ideas, access information, give feedback and be part of the decision-making process. This open and inclusive style of communication encourages employees to be more productive and more committed as they feel their opinion is not only heard, it’s acted upon too.

Two-way communication

Good communication should always be a two-way street. It helps the business be more transparent and encourages employees to be innovative.

1. Face-to-face communication strategies

How to talk to people

Having a conversation with someone in person and getting your point across clearly can feel a bit like a lost art. We’re all so used to pinging off emails, we’ve forgotten the power of a face-to-face chat. It’s important for all members of the team to get up, move around and speak to colleagues in person.

Make sure you listen

Listening is the flip side of the coin and is a key communication skill. When someone else is speaking, it’s important to focus on what they’re saying rather than thinking about your reply. Don’t cut people off halfway through or start talking over someone. It makes you appear arrogant and aggressive. Instead, let them finish what they’re saying. And employ a technique called active listening, whereby you repeat what’s been said back to the person that said it, to show you’ve listened and understood their concern or point of view.

The importance of body language

Effective communication in the workplace isn’t just about what is said, of course. Body language or non-verbal communication plays a huge part in how we come across.

Examples of positive face-to-face communications

Managing a meeting

No-one wants a three hour meeting. But short team meetings give employees an opportunity to speak to each other in person, talk about up-and-coming projects and solve problems. If you’re the person managing the meeting, ensure everyone has their say without being interrupted. And if you want to keep the meeting short, have it standing up.

One-to-ones

Not all meetings should be held in a group setting. Sometimes a one-to-one meeting is the best option, especially if it’s to address an issue around performance. A private chat, away from the noise of an open-plan office, gives you the opportunity to talk to a team member about any issues they have and how you can support them. And it enables them to raise any suggestions they might have felt uncomfortable about doing so in a group setting.

Workshops

Workshops are a good opportunity to discuss potential new ways of working, or changes in the company, or even a new project. And this open style of meeting gives employees a chance to share their opinions and feel part of the decision-making process.

2. Online communication strategies

Email

We love it. We hate it. But the fact is, email is here to stay.

Instant messaging

Some communications don’t need an email and a quick message via text, WhatsApp or Slack will do the trick. It’s a good way to keep all team members up to speed with what’s going on and keeps everyone feeling part of the team, even if they’re not physically in the office. The same rules apply though. Don’t send work-related messages during out-of-work hours.

Video conferencing

Remember when we’d never heard of Zoom? If your teams are working from home or work remotely and never come to the office, a weekly video call is a way to manage employees, communicate effectively and build relationships. It’s also a useful way for different departments to talk to each other and share ideas.

Intranet

The company intranet is one of the most effective ways to communicate with staff and colleagues. Use the intranet to collaborate, streamline processes, educate, inform and share information.

Social media

Social media is a powerful tool for communicating with your customers. It’s also a useful way to engage employees and facilitate collaboration. Encourage teams to follow each other and engage with the articles, points of view and images shared. This fosters good working relationships and sparks meaningful conversations. But ensure you have a robust social media guide in place so employees are clear as to what they can and can’t post or comment on. Embed the company’s social media channels in your intranet too, so employees can always see what the company is sharing with the public.

3. Environmental communication strategies

Have an open-door policy

Encourage employees to connect directly with the senior management team and to not hold back when it comes to concerns or ideas that can benefit the business. An open-door policy helps build positive connections and ensures team members feel valued. But be specific about what that means. If employees are in the same building, can they knock on the door and come in? How about if the team are all around the world or working from home? Make it clear that anyone in the team can reach you via email or video call at anytime, and you’ll create an open environment for communication.

Include an onboarding process for new employees

Good communication is absolutely imperative when it comes to new employees. A well-designed onboarding process that every new person must complete, will ensure they receive the right training, talk to the right people and understand how to use the company intranet all within the first week or so. And that means your new recruit can hit the ground running and quickly feel part of the team.

Carry out surveys and suggestions

Employee engagement surveys may seem old-school. But they can help you improve communication within the workplace by asking team members for feedback on their preferred communication methods and whether or not communication within the business could be better. A survey makes employees feel heard and valued. Although the survey itself is just the beginning. The feedback received must then be actioned, otherwise staff will not engage with future questionnaires.

What are the benefits of a having an effective communications strategy?

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Jill Kent aka PR Superstar

Jill Kent aka PR Superstar

A straight-talking, hardworking ex-senior journo turned PR pro with 25 years in the business, a book full of contacts, and a nose for a story.