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How Poor, Ineffective Communication in the Workplace Can Affect Businesses

Anton Vdovin - Sep 21, 2017 3:44:53 PM

Good communication is vital to any business. Without it, employees will be at a lost; working in silos without a clear direction. There would be no continuity in the workplace and projects won’t be completed in time. Worse, employees will be disengaged as they may get frustrated with the lack of communication coming from management.

effective workplace communication

Still unconvinced that communication plays a vital role in the success of a business? The following are some of the effects poor communication can have on an organization:

Higher employee turnover

The lack of an effective internal communication program can cause people to leave a company. Employees will feel that they are being left out when there is no effective internal communication in a company. Lack of communication causes disengagement, frustration, and stress among the staffers. Eventually, they will leave.

In a 2003 study, HR authority Watson Wyatt found that companies with effective internal communication are up to 50 percent more likely to report employee turnover levels below the industry average.

Increased employee absenteeism

Employees may not quit and prefer to stick around, but poor communication in the workplace may affect their morale. They will feel so disengaged with their work. In turn, they would rather skip work at certain times particularly when they feel like doing so.

One study commissioned by Gallup in the UK showed that disengaged employees are likely to miss 10 more working days through absenteeism compared to engaged workers. The poll surveyed 800 workers in the country.

On the other hand, employees working in companies with good internal communication practices are happier and more motivated. They find going to work fulfilling and thus are more unlikely to be absent.

Failed project delivery

Poor internal communication, particularly between and within project team members can affect on-time delivery of a project, regardless of its nature. Failure to complete a project within its scheduled time frame will not only cost a firm, but also tarnish its reputation.

There have been a lot of studies linking poor communication to failed or late project delivery. One survey conducted by the Computing Technology Industry Association involving a thousand computer professionals showed that 28 percent of respondents acknowledged poor communication as the main cause of failure to deliver a project within its agreed time frame.

Health and safety

Inadequate communication in the workplace can also cause occupational health and safety accidents as well as illnesses related to stress. This is particularly true in healthcare institutions where communication skills and practices are vital in the prevention of medical errors.

The US Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation reports that the main cause of inadvertent patient harm was communication failure.

Bad customer service

Inadequate communication in the workplace can frustrate employees, who in turn may render poor customer service. After all, these employees are likely to lack guidance from leadership on how to render good customer service. Moreover, the stress and lack of motivation may caught up on the staffers and cause them to lose commitment to customer satisfaction.

Again, there have been studies proving that the lack of effective internal communication in the workplace can result to bad customer service. Retailer Sears once reported that there a five-point improvement in employee attitude results translated to a 1.3 percent increase in client satisfaction. It then contributed to a 0.5 percent increase in company profits.

Given these effects of poor internal communication in the workplace, it would be wise for businesses to focus on their communication practices to keep their workers engaged and remain as the vital movers of their business operations.

Topics: Corporate Communication

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