Communication is crucial to success in any organization, whether it's between managers and employees, or peer-to-peer. However, the quality and tone of communication in many offices is neutral — sometimes even negative. We recently shared some advice with Entrepreneur recently on the value of elevating communication in the workplace, and some quick tips on how to achieve that.
1. Strong work relationships are priceless
Peer relationships are one of the largest driving factors in employee engagement. Many will go the extra mile for their friends, according to a recent report released by TINYhr.
To help your team forge these all-important bonds, simply lead by example. Encourage a culture of respectful communication, and camaraderie. When disputes arise, take them as an opportunity to model effective conflict resolution.
2. Timing is everything
The impact of a comment, a piece of recognition, or a reward degrades when it is delayed. The longer the delay, the smaller the impact.
When someone on the team does something noteworthy, show the impact of acknowledgement in the moment by publicly recognizing that achievement right away. Encourage others to do the same.
3. Get the right tool for the job
In the TINYhr report, 44 percent of employees who have the proper tools give peer-to-peer recognition.
Don't just emphasize the importance of positive communication; make it easy to do. Give your team tools that eliminate barriers between them and their ability to communicate their appreciation for one another.
4. Good communication requires understanding
A recent survey by Root stated that only 27 percent of employees felt they could depend on others to fulfill their duties when working with other groups.
To improve on this, assign collaborative projects. Working in groups is a skill that must be exercised regularly to maintain effectiveness. Collaborative projects help a team better understand its members: their skills, how they work, and their personalities. In addition to this, a successful collaborative project requires each member to understand one another's stance and viewpoints.
5. Keep it simple and straightforward
Trust is irreplaceable in the workplace. Employees who trust their leaders and peers are less likely to consider leaving an organization, according to a study in the Journal of Trust Research
Strive to model honest expression at every opportunity, and encourage others to do the same. Getting to the root of an issue is much easier if it's not shrouded in a web of complication.
6. Encouragement is always more effective
When is it ever easier to solve a problem you're discouraged about? Employees who feel discouraged about the work they're doing won't be putting out their best, and are much more likely to leave.
Devote less communication to what's wrong and more to what's right. Make sure that the communication maintains an encouraging tone. Be a role model for that positive communication. This isn't to say it's not important to address issues (see #5), but there are constructive ways to go about that.
These are just a few ways to enhance the tone and quality of communication in the workplace, but it's a great start. Building strong team communication is one of the best ways to better company culture, and the possibilities for improvement are endless.