The impact of poor communication in the workplace

08 / 07 / 19

Communication, as we all know, is often the key to success for many things in both the workplace and of course, at home. Lack of communication or poor communication can mean relationships break down and the road to success is a shaky one. However, good, effective communication can mean that there’s every chance of success and your team is a happy, healthy entity, working well towards the common goals of the business. But how exactly can poor communication affect the workplace? Read on to find out…

The effect of poor communication can be so tremendous, we really must not take this for granted. You will have hopefully read our recent blogs which discussed the difference between leadership and management and gave tips on how to become a good leader. If so, you will have also seen the importance of communication when taking into consideration leadership skills. But why is it so difficult to get communication right? Below we cite two major difficulties leading to poor communication:

Time pressures

We’re all pressed for time, especially in the workplace. There is often a huge stress placed on us in terms of quantity of output as opposed to quality of output, and unrealistic deadlines are a constant pressure. And so, it seems we have less time to communicate effectively. When emotions are high, we flit into fight mode, defenses come up and we tend to find it difficult to think clearly. Therefore, when we communicate verbally, we tend to be full of emotion and the rational part of our brain doesn’t kick-in. Instead we can just spit our words out and this type of communication can be extremely harmful to those around us.

Similarly, when time is of the essence, we take communication for granted and can often opt for a quick fix such as sending an email as opposed to properly communicating with our workforce.

Differing communication styles

Different people need different things and communication is no exception. For example, millennials tend to favour instant messaging, whereas baby boomers favour alternative means of liaising with their colleagues or superiors. There are many communication channels which we can use in the workplace and it’s finding the right balance for your team and this takes time to explore and understand. Some people prefer succinct messages whereas others will want a more detailed interpretation. Email is a tricky one as there’s no context or body language and so they can sometimes appear abrupt. One individual may be adversely affected by this type of communication, whereas another may like this and need no extra communication surrounding this.

As a manager/leader, it’s important to get this type of communication right because otherwise you will very quickly realise poor morale within your team. With advances in technology we have also seen a rise in remote, flexible working and so this provides an even bigger challenge for effective collaboration otherwise you may have trouble with the following:

Lower morale

There is the opportunity for increased misunderstanding, less accountability and empowerment. Deadlines can be missed and ultimately someone gets the blame, which as we all know, often leads to a poor working environment, decreased motivation and, as a result, disengagement. This not only effects your workforce but can spill over to your customers which means you really are entering into dangerous territory.

Reduced productivity

A whopping 20% of your employee’s time is spent looking for information or searching for someone who can help. When taking this into account, it’s important to make sure you have the right tools for communication in place so your employees can find the information they need quickly and easily.

Lack of innovation

When teams are equipped with the right tools to communicate and are united to work together to find a solution, innovation is born. Yes, innovation takes imagination and motivation, but it also takes teamwork. Again, your team may not always be located in the same place so how can they come together and how can they feel empowered to contribute?

Recruitment

Social media platforms nowadays allow us to moan very publicly – whether that’s a status update or via platforms such as Glassdoor about our current or previous working environment. And one of the top things employees grumble about on these platforms is lack of communication. And so, this can have an adverse effect on your ability to recruit talent for your business moving forward.

Turnover

Linked to the point above, if your communication methods are poor and your employees feel there is a lack of communication then it’s highly likely they will begin the search for a new role. Recruitment is a huge cost to any business with regards to recruiting, hiring and training.

Communication is at the root of every relationship. It’s VITAL that you get it right as a business. Camaraderie and communication are among the main topics which rank employers high in employee surveys and so it’s important to take this into consideration. Our next blog will discuss how you can improve communication within your business to prevent all of the issues discussed in this week’s article. However, if you require help in the meantime to improve your internal communications, please contact me now on 01453 297557 or email enquiries@peepshr.co.uk.


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