An open and meaningful communication between employees is essential to ensure everyone is working on a shared purpose towards a shared goal. The factors that affect communication between employees are as follows:
Trust level. Only employees who have trust and confidence in one another will relay clear messages that are honest and significant to the company.
Wide gap between employees with longer tenure and new-hire employees. In a traditional scenario, it is possible to have a seniority level among the employees based on tenure. This paves way to employees underutilizing their capabilities because of the “seniority” constraints brought by the culture.
Language barrier and cultural differences. Low proficiency in the shared language in the company can create misunderstanding and misinterpretation --two most detrimental effects of poor communication between employees. Cultural differences on the other hand may also bring misinterpretation on the current practices being done inside the workplace. A certain practice may be totally acceptable in an employee’s origin of country but may raise eyebrows in his/her organization.
Gossips and rumors. These two are the classic grapevines of every organization. This generates distrust and lowers motivation of rumor victims.
However, with the rise of many tool and apps, we now have plenty of platforms to collaborate and share information. Below are several tips and techniques which can be used to promote effective communication between employees in today’s modern workplace.
1. Hold brainstorming sessions for idea generation. This can be through interactive idea sharing in the intranet or can be held during face-to-face meetings.
2. Repeat the message and confirm if your interpretation is correct. A complete communication is that wherein a message is delivered to the recipient, the recipient receives the message and informs the sender of the message receipt. A successful communication on the other hand is wherein the recipient understands the message exactly as to what the sender originally wanted to convey. In a scenario where an employee gives instructions to another employee, it is always better to ask for clarifications than to discover a misinterpretation later on.
3. Check the most efficient communicate tools to deliver your message. People nowadays spend a bulk of their time in meetings and some of them even require participation of representatives from different locations. Maximize the use of intranet and share information without having to incur costs and time in traveling from one city to another. The only challenge will be to coordinate the timezone comfortable for everyone.
4. Maximize free online office, sharing and communication tools like SharePoint, Shared Mailboxes, Whatsapp or Skype for Business. Some installs smaller group directories in the free communication apps, and communicates with his/her Team without the need to be connected on the intranet. With Skype, you can sync your Outlook calendar into automatically displaying your status --whether you are in a meeting or a “do-not-disturb” mode. For sharing systems, there are Quickbooks, Salesforce and Google Apps. For storage, maximize the Cloud to share resources even without being connected to the server.
5. Celebrate professional accomplishments and personal milestones. Whether it be a colleague’s 30th anniversary of service in the company, graduation from a postgraduate study, or birthday, celebrating special occasions will increase productivity levels of employees as it promotes a happy working environment.
6. Get to know one other through lunches, night outs and fun activities. Learning each other’s interests beyond the corporate walls increases employee satisfaction as they anticipate actually being in the office. Your team can designate a working day where everyone brings packed lunches. You can have a monthly Friday badminton tournament or movie night. Or simply have dinner together after a hectic week. All these will help in relieving the stress and tension brought by a big project.
7. Engage in positive health and wellness activities to support personal growth. Companies put premium to health because an unhealthy employee is an unproductive employee. You can encourage fitness among the employees through holding casual team competitions for fitness target. You can also encourage jogging, kickboxing, weightlifting or yoga. Individuals with a kick for adventure will find hiking on weekends an encouraging activity. It’s a contagious exercise that influences people to jump into the bandwagon of wellness. Shared interests and goals will ultimately improve communication between employees not only inside the office but also outside work.
8. Mentor each other. There are some who excel at writing memos while there are others who excel at making Power Points. Leverage on each other strengths and target areas that needed improvement. It’s bound to be a win-win situation for everyone.
9. Understand each other’s culture. Companies are now generally culturally diverse. If your team is composed of people with different religion, adapt your engagement activities based on what is deemed acceptable to their beliefs.