How can HR help prevent a breakdown in communication?
With technology increasing the number of ways of communicating in the workplace, it may be surprising for businesses to hear that employees feel poor communication is the main reason they feel disengaged with their employer.
Continual growth and expansion can leave some employees feeling they are left out of the loop and missed messages will have a significant negative effect on staff satisfaction. Whilst communication will differ depending on the size and nature of the business, there are proactive steps employers and HR can take to help to prevent a breakdown in communication.
• Identify any communication problems and assess whether a particular process or device is responsible. It may be as simple as a faulty piece of equipment or a failure to press the right button which is hindering communication
• Carry out a survey of all employees to gauge how many within the same team or department are experiencing similar issues. Encourage employees to be honest and reassure them that this is necessary to remove any problems. This review will be useful to identify employees’ preferred methods of communication and can highlight any additional methods that are not currently in use in the business
• Train employees to use communication software properly. It may be that some staff members have never used a new piece of software or they have, but, are unfamiliar with how to use this efficiently and effectively
• Consider formalising how employees should be communicating with others in the office – rather than using numerous methods so information gets lost, feedback to staff that they should only be using certain methods, i.e. email and telephone calls, to control the amount of communication that is taking place
• Improving the use of email communication will stop staff having a large number of unread, lost or unnecessary emails cluttering their inbox. Reminding staff that they should use subject lines effectively, only copy in others where necessary and use folders to store important information will help to reduce the number of emails
• Communication within teams is critical to ensure each member is aware of their responsibilities, any outstanding tasks and any team achievements. Project updates, weekly meetings or briefings, and interactive project boards are all useful ways to ensure all members of the team are up to date
Communication within a business is a difficult thing to get right. Many people will have their own preferences whereas others will simply want to use the quickest and easiest method to pass a message on.
In any case, taking steps to improve communication will help to prevent a breakdown and lead to happier and more collaborative members of staff.