The notion that poor communication is the root cause of high staff turnover isn’t new to you by now. People look for new opportunities elsewhere when they are not engaged with the vision and mission of their current employers.
In our recent survey on how to keep millennials productive, we discovered that poor communication in the workplace is damaging the ability to retain staff, improve business performance, and leapfrog competitors.
Below are 5 communication mistakes that are disengaging your employees today;
1. Communication Inconsistencies
While communication starts at the top, it is often a case of relying on grapevines to spread the word as the message is filtered down. This leads to a lack of clarity which creates inconsistencies, and people begin to assume meaning and relay incorrect information.
2. Assuming Your Workers Understand the Jargon
This is especially the case when you are investing in new technologies and systems, but crosses over into less technical areas, too. It’s easy for people to fall into the habit of communicating as if everyone is on the same level as them. When this happens, listeners lack understanding and soon stop listening. Some will feel embarrassed to speak out and say they don’t understand which means they will stay quiet.
3. When You Don’t Listen to Your Employees
With so much on your plate as a manager, you can become fixated on achieving the goals of your project and cease listening to your people. Instead of fostering a partnership approach and encouraging collaboration and engagement, your worker’s fears and needs are ‘dismissed’ because you don’t listen. When people feel ignored, they tend to switch off and care less.
4. Assuming Everyone is an Excellent Communicator
The idea that everyone can communicate effectively is the most damaging mistake. You will be shocked to know that the most promising members on your team are terrible at communicating effectively, something you will never know if you don’t engage your team regularly. Many employees become feel so much pressure when they are asked to express opinions, especially in front of more senior staff and facilitating their involvement sensitively is a skill not all your workers have.
5. When Communication is not a Leadership Function
As a manager, how do you observe how certain people behave in the office? When you don’t make communication a function of leadership – from C-level executives to team leaders and supervisors – employees will have the impression that your organisational culture does not encourage conversation, exchange of ideas, and innovative thinking which is the recipe for turnover and eventual disaster.
Learning these for the first time can be scary, especially for a new manager. But, we are happy to help you with the best tips you need to overcome these pitfalls and alleviate your fears;
- Communicate clearly and concisely. The message must be simplified and presented in terms that all can understand without being patronising.
- Be consistent in your communication approach, encouraging people to explore and learn your vision in an environment that helps them to understand how they play a part in delivering it.
- Challenge your team leaders to communicate verbally and face to face, especially when it becomes necessary to communicate your brand strategy through storytelling to deliver change.
- Make time to listen to employees and learn from them but also be honest about the process you will use to act on their feedback and ideas.
- Ensure that jargon is eliminated from your in-house conversations. Make plain language a policy to be upheld in meetings, emails, and other communications.
When your team understands the importance of communication in your business, work becomes easier and the best results are realised because everyone is on the same page.Make internal communication a top priority in your workplace and see your team performance scale like never before.
What other communication problems have you identified in your organisation? Tell us about it and how you plan to overcome them.