Communication is essential for maintaining relationships. Whether in a work setting or your personal lives, it’s an indispensable tool for everyday human interaction.
Open communication in the workplace is even more important as it affects:
- Productivity levels.
- Team effectiveness.
- Employee engagement.
- Client relationships.
However, poor communication can lead to demotivated and unengaged staff members that may go on to affect the morale of their co-workers.
This piece focuses on the importance of open communication. In it, we’ll explore its importance and highlight ways for you to promote open communication in the workplace.
The importance of open communication
The key to nurturing an environment of open communication is trust.
Trust that your staff won’t be penalised for speaking their mind. The trust that you have in them to carry out their duties and meet deadlines. The trust that they have in each other to keep commitments and work as a team. This develops over time and is the foundation for building stronger long-lasting working relationships.
As well as having everyone on the same page, with open communication, your staff understand business decisions and strategies as well as how their roles contribute to the success of the organisation.
By creating an environment that allows for this, your employees will be more engaged and understand the impact of what they do.
When you communicate business decisions, your staff feel more valued and appreciated. This, in turn, allows for open communication between managers and employees as they feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings.
There’re many examples of open communication in the workplace including:
- Creating a dialogue by holding regular, informal get-togethers with employees on all levels to share ideas, initiatives and raise concerns.
- Offering mentorships to set an example for new recruits. It’s not essential for mentors to be senior-level employees or even in the same department. They should, however, represent the company culture and understand the organisational goals.
Benefits of open communication in the workplace
Apart from the benefits to your employees’ wellbeing, productivity, retention and engagement, effective communication can also have various business benefits.
Top five key benefits of encouraging open communication at work:
- Transparency: It means your staff are clear on what the business stands for, its objectives and its goals. It also means they’re aware of their duties and how they contribute to the overall success of the organisation.
- Conflict resolution: When you create an environment of open communication, your staff will feel more able to manage conflicts among themselves without the need to involve managers or supervisors. If issues are too large to solve on their own, open communication makes it easier for you to step in to resolve conflict.
- Morale and motivation: Open communication creates an environment where employees are at ease. When they see you taking the lead in the open communication process, they become engaged and feel comfortable enough to voice their concerns. With high morale comes more motivation. When your staff have a good working relationship with their colleagues and supervisors, they’re more likely to be motivated.
- Team-building: While the ability to work by one’s self is a key attribute for most employees, so is the ability to work as part of a team. By encouraging effective communication between employees, you’re able to facilitate healthy discussions about performance, projects, and deadlines.
- Innovation: When your workforce feels comfortable talking to you about their ideas, you’re much more likely to receive ideas and suggestions to make the company better. While not all of them will be useful, some of them may prove valuable to your organisation.
Open communication techniques
Once you’re aware of the benefits, the next question becomes how can managers encourage open communication in the workplace?
There are many ways to foster this, some of which include:
- Make it part of your company culture: Your company culture is an unspoken rule of your organisation. By making open communication a part of it you’re making it clear to incoming employees that open communication is valued as well as appreciated.
- Reward it: Encourage open communication by rewarding those that take part in it. Consider incentives to reward the sharing of ideas, insights and concerns.
- Open communication policy: Or an open door policy refers to measures by employers and managers to encourage open communication. It means that their door is open to every employee for feedback or just general discussions about anything the employee feels is important.
- Lead by example: For your staff to open up to you, they’ll need to see you’re doing the same. If you’re regularly encouraging them to speak their mind but you aren’t doing the same, their willingness will be a direct reflection of yours.
If you’d like any more guidance on how to encouraging open communication in the workplace, get in touch with Health Assured today on 0844 892 2493.