Effective internal communication is vital to your organization’s success. If your employees aren’t engaged and informed, it has a flow-on effect on everything else your company sets out to achieve.
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However, even with the best of intentions, some companies make common communication mistakes in the workplace that can hamper their communication efforts which in turn can have a negative effect on their business operations.
Why it’s important to get your internal communications right
Companies that have excellent internal communications practices often have higher productivity and profits, and report greater employee satisfaction. When you have an effective internal communications strategy in place, you will assist your staff to fully understand the organization’s values, objectives and culture. You can build a company culture of trust and honesty, and turn your employees into brand ambassadors.
Having good communication practices embedded in your organization will help you to rise above just about any challenge. This includes having internal communications plans, protocols and the right tools and channels so that you can communicate proactively or reactively within your company, depending on what issues you are presented with.
During COVID-19 it has become obvious to many organizations that the way they communicate with employees was no longer fit-for-purpose and has highlighted by you need to be able to get important information to employees no matter where they are located or what they are doing. And as the world continues to deal with the pandemic and its ongoing issues, you should have appropriate methods in place to contact employees to let them know about any health impacts, government mandates, work from home edicts, remote work policies and health and wellbeing resources.
The common communication mistakes in the workplace
On the road to implementing excellent internal communications practices, there are a number of common mistakes that can be made.
1. Traditional communications hierarchies
The traditional communication model where information trickles down from top management to the front-line staff creates many problems. Slow distribution of information, lost information and misplaced data are common issues.
2. Lack of goals and objectives
It might seem really obvious, but not having clear goals and objectives before communicating is a recipe for disaster. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, you can’t achieve it.
3. Information overload
Bombarding staff constantly with information can be counter-productive. If there’s too much content, they’re not going to have time to read it, let alone absorb it. Complex information can take too long to analyze and then act on.
You also need to select your communication channels carefully and send to those employees who really need to see it. Sending information out to everyone is just another way to overwhelm them.
Learn how to avoid information overload in the workplace.
4. Using jargon
Content that contains too much jargon can be off-putting to read at best and at worst, is incomprehensible. Your communications should be written clearly and concisely and be as easy to understand as possible. For example, if you want to tell people how to avoid mistakes at work, you’ll have little chance of success if they don’t understand what you are saying.
5. Not asking for feedback
Effective communication is a two-way street. Not only do you need to send the right message, but you need to know if it was received and understood by the audience. How can you measure the effectiveness of your communications campaign if you don’t know whether or not people understood it?
6. Not repeating your message
Sometimes you have to tell your story again and again to get the message through. Repetition in communication is best practice and this means you may need to use more than one channel to keep the information going and telling your story in different ways to maximize engagement.
7. Using outdated technology
Using paper-based communications channels such as memos and printed newsletters really belongs in the past, most of the time. Even email has had its day – to cut through the noise and reach more staff with targeted communications you need digital solutions, such as DeskAlerts.
8. Not being proactive
You need to be on the front foot when announcing major news or initiatives: if your staff are hearing the whispers on the company grapevine before hearing from the communications team, then you’re too late. By dithering, you run the risk of losing control of your messaging and you will need to be reactive, instead of proactive, as you address inevitable misinformation.
9. Being invisible
A common communication mistake is not communicating at all! Some organizations are poor at sharing any information with their staff. Other times, organizations fail to tell people about urgent issues, changes, or other important news. When there is no official news from the organization, people will often fill in the silence with rumours which can cause a host of other issues as you have to then deal with disinformation.
10. Not being truthful
You might have some bad news that you don’t want to have to tell employees: but lying about it or covering it up is only going to cause more problems than it will solve. It’s important to be open, transparent and accountable. Being opaque with the truth is one of the biggest communication blunders you can make: you will lose the trust of your employees, and you may never be able to regain it.
Read more on the topic: Delivering bad news to employees
11. Lack of consistency in your messaging
When you have different people communicating and/or you are using multiple channels, it is critical that you are sending your employees a unified, consistent message – this is, unfortunately, an all-too-common communication. If you have different people saying different things, or information that is contradictory in different places, this will cause confusion and potentially lead to mistakes in the workplace.
How DeskAlerts can help you to avoid communication errors
DeskAlerts is an internal communication software system that can help you to overhaul the way you communicate with your employees to ensure that you are reaching the right people in the right place at the right time.
The system works by providing you with a range of channels and digital tools that are guaranteed to cut through all the other digital noise that causes information overload and get the attention of the people you need to see the information.
You can use the system for one-off messaging or to deliver entire internal communication and marketing campaigns. Ways it can help you to avoid common errors in communication include:
- Sending important information direct to employee screens so that you can be sure it was received
- Visual tools like corporate screensavers and digital signage will benefit those who receive information better in this format
- The ability to send to different groups of employees so that only relevant people get the information
- The ability to send to just about any computer, cell phone or tablet device so that you can reach people no matter where they are
- The ability to use the tools to carry out multi-channel communications campaigns, harnessing the power of repetition
- Being able to quickly get feedback from employees, in real time, via pop-up surveys
- The ability to schedule content in advance so that you never need to worry about not communicating enough with your people.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are communication problems?
Communication problems are a type of issue that occurs when the recipient of the communication misunderstands or misinterprets the communication from the sender. It can lead to tension, arguments and ongoing conflicts because people involved in the situation have had a different understanding of it.
What are communication problems in the workplace?
Communication problems in the workplace happen when there are issues with the way information is shared or received. Common examples include:
- A lack of interaction between team members
- People not knowing where to find information
- Information not being shared appropriately
- People who refuse to hand over important information to others
- Misinterpretations of information
- Not getting feedback
What are the most common mistakes made in human communication?
There are a number of ways that people make mistakes when communicating with other humans. This can include:
- Over-reacting and not responding appropriately
- Avoiding conversations that are difficult to have
- Failure to be assertive enough
- Not communicating appropriately at the right time and place
- Not being prepared to communicate
- Being influenced by assumptions, pre-conceived notions and stereotypes
- Failing to understand cultural differences
- Being closed-minded to new people and new ideas
What are the problems of effective communication?
Some of the unintended problems of trying to implement effective communication can come down to misunderstandings or other errors between the sender and the recipient. This can include poor timing, lack of sensitivity, bombarding people with too much information or sending people irrelevant information.