10 Proven and Straightforward Ways To Enhance Workplace Communication

In the workplace, good, clear communication is one of the keys to success. Supervisors need to be able to communicate their expectations to their employees. Employees, in turn, need to be able to communicate their feelings, concerns, and questions without fear of being punished or made to feel inferior.

When this kind of communicative flow is enabled and encouraged, everyone feels more heard and seen. As a result, the entire workplace can become more positive, productive, and efficient. But, unfortunately, establishing open communication isn’t always easy. Thankfully, some simple but highly effective tips can make all the difference in terms of professional communication.

Method #1: Hold Regularly Scheduled Private Chats And Check-Ins

10 Proven and Straightforward Ways To Enhance Workplace Communication

One-on-one communication, rather than communication in a group setting, is generally easier and more comfortable for everyone involved. Group communication settings, such as meetings, can provide some of the benefits of unified communications. However, it’s still important to give people a chance to express themselves, ask questions, and talk about their goals and concerns without the pressure of speaking in front of a group. For this reason, organizations are encouraged to hold regular individual meetings or “private chats” with as many employees as possible. Ideally, these check-ins will be informal, conversational, and low-pressure, enabling everyone to speak up and make their voice heard.

Method #2: Maintain A True Open Door Policy

Often, supervisors will maintain that they have an “open door policy,” meaning that employees are welcome to visit and speak with them at any time. However, in practice, workers don’t always feel like they can truly come to their supervisors or other professionals as needed. In most organizations, enacting a successful open-door policy takes more than just stating that such a policy exists.

Supervisors should regularly remind their employees about their open-door policy. Ideally, they should also set aside blocks of time throughout the week when people know they are free to visit. This simple step can go a long way in opening up the lines of communication.

Method #3: Utilize A Variety Of Communication Tools

People learn and process information differently. Educators have understood this for a long time and frequently use multimodal instruction or multiple modalities to reach more students. This theory doesn’t just work in a classroom or educational setting. Instead, it can be incredibly useful in the workplace as well.

Supervisors will often experience enhanced communication and its benefits if they use a variety of different tools and platforms to communicate with their employees. For example, when sharing important information or asking for input or ideas, you might reach out to employees in several different ways. Sending an email, starting a group chat, or creating a survey are all different ways to get more people involved and actively communicating in a way that’s comfortable for them. Using multiple communication methods also shows employees that you value their communication styles, which can make them more open to sharing.

Method #4: Provide Notes And A De-Briefing For Each Meeting

Frequent meetings are a staple of any workplace. But, following a meeting, employers shouldn’t just expect their employees to remember all the information provided. Plus, what if someone was ill or unable to attend a meeting for some reason? It’s not equitable that they simply miss out on the information.

For these reasons, employers are advised to follow each meeting with notes that cover the basics of what was discussed. It’s also wise to provide follow-up tasks and/or questions. Doing so will encourage people to remember, think about, and discuss the information shared in the meeting.

Method #5: Schedule Fewer Meetings

On the topic of meetings, remember that less is more. Employers who hold meetings very frequently, such as once a week, will sometimes be met with disdain or complaints that the meeting time is taking away from work time. Furthermore, when meetings are very frequent, people may start to take them less seriously, making them less likely to communicate openly in these sessions.

For best results, only hold meetings when necessary, meaning when you have vital information to share or meaningful topics for discussion. By avoiding wasting employees’ valuable time with frivolous meetings, you’ll show that you care about your employees. You’ll also make meetings seem more serious and more important, and your employees are thus more likely to treat them that way and to actively engage in these meetings.

Method #6: Train Supervisors On Effective Communication Techniques

While all employees should be trained on proper workplace communication, this type of training is especially beneficial for supervisors. After all, these are the people who workers should come to with their questions, concerns, and problems. If supervisors are not skilled communicators, they may inadvertently discourage communication.

Supervisors should know how to make people feel validated and listened to. They should know how to avoid making people feel like their communication efforts are not valid or valued. Additionally, they should receive specific training on being welcoming, open, and encouraging. If supervisors can get communication right, they can change the culture of the entire organization.

Method #7: Schedule Fun Team-Building Opportunities

Believe it or not, there is room for fun in the workplace. In fact, seemingly fun opportunities can actually be a sly way to promote workplace bonding, build relationships, and encourage effective communication. These opportunities don’t have to be major or expensive either. Small things, like scheduling a group outing or asking employees to volunteer together, can make a big difference in terms of employees’ comfort levels. And, the more comfortable workers feel, the more likely they are to communicate.

Method #8: Be Honest And Open About Responsibilities

As most parents know, children hate nothing more than when adults tell them to do something “because I said so.” Employees are similar in this aspect. If they don’t know why they are being asked to do something, like attending a meeting or engaging in a small group activity, they are more likely to be resistant. If, on the other hand, employers are open and honest about why things are being asked of their employees, they’re more likely to garner a positive response. Including objectives and rationale for any task or requirement can encourage open, honest communication and a more cooperative, positive working environment.

Method #9: Create A Culture Where Listening Is Valued

Communication is about more than just talking. It’s also about listening to and really hearing others and considering what they have to say. Everyone from supervisors, down to new hires, should be encouraged to actively and respectfully listen to their co-workers. Interrupting, disregarding, or jumping into an argument without consideration should all be discouraged. On the flip side, good listeners should be rewarded, ideally with public, verbal praise.

Method #10: Provide Feedback, Not Criticism

As a final tip, focus on providing feedback to employees, rather than criticism. Feedback is based on observations and should include both things the employee is doing well and questions about how they would like to improve. Criticism is about pointing out flaws or mistakes. When employees feel supported and listened to, rather than judged and degraded, they’re more likely to open up and perform positively. Positive communication is the backbone of any successful community, including workplace communities. So, take a moment to assess what communication looks like in your workplace. If it’s not where you want it to be, give these methods a try. You’re very likely to see desirable results very quickly. Even better, those desirable results can lead to more desirable results. Thus, by taking steps to improve workplace communication, you’re taking steps to improve your workplace as a whole.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog, Entrepreneur-Resources.net.

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