As business grows and people start to engage with others more frequently, they create multiple communication links. For digital communication, every communication involves at least one sender, a message, and a recipient. It’s simple enough. However, with different channels of communication, there’s a myriad of possibilities which can create challenges.

What causes workplace communication problems?

  • The wrong communication method: facetime vs. digital. Sensitive information involving a specific individual is always best handled with facetime. Sending an email with an attachment can create a misunderstanding of the situation. Another example where facetime works best is when a team is stuck and needs guidance or critical thinking to uncover solutions.
  • Failure to self-edit. Do we always check the content, spelling, grammar, and overall validity before sending? Others can often misconstrue words and feel offended.
  • Giving opinions on emotive topics. Topics such as politics, religion, mental and physical disabilities, sexuality and sex, racism, and any opinion which will be seen as unpopular should not be addressed.
  • Digital messaging has physical barriers. Cues, gestures, and posture are part of our facetime communications, but cannot be replicated in an email, text messages, or via a messaging platform. Digital content should always have a clear purpose by avoiding multiple possibilities of interpretation.
  • Excessive use of jargon. Most departments may have their own jargon. With regular use this can create a false feeling that everyone uses our “language.”
  • Information overload. Beyond phone calls, video conferences, text messages, group chats, social networks, and internal meetings – an employee usually receives countless emails per day. Email overload is bad for communication as important information can end up lost, deleted, forgotten, or ignored. Employees are easily frustrated by an excessive amount of data.
  • Oversharing. A typical scenario is when someone accidentally hits “reply to all” or “forward” in an email conversation, which may contain derogatory content. Other times it’s speaking before we think.
  • Assuming someone else has the communication responsibility. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

Communications Technology in 2022

70% of communications executives see investing in communications technology as a top priority for 2022. The role of communications has become more materially important to CEOs, Boards, and the C-Suite. These technologies not only facilitate communication but also drive culture building. A technology approach can offer the following benefits:

When the target groups are reached, relevancy is increased while communication is reduced

Company and people updates can reach employees anywhere, anytime – instead of employees having to find the source

Push communication means that notifications are ideal for alerts and grabbing attention.

A central workspace where communications can be created. Employee reach and acknowledgements can be centrally measured, which makes communication success easier to validate.

The value of Department Influencers

Communication can evolve beyond just company and work-related updates. Employees like to feel part of a community, which means people centric topics are an intrinsic part of company life. In this regard, department influencers help humanize the business.

They are typically people who have a strong voice in their work community. They are usually peer nominated and a leader of a popular initiative. Converting influencers into brand ambassadors is beneficial when they are highly motivated and willing to follow you. They add the most value by remaining committed to their topic.

Statistics on why effective internal communication is important

CMSWire reports that 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy every working day.

  • A report by Think Talent indicates that employees working in organizations with effective communication plans, typically the ones that manage to minimize the silo effect and centralize communication, are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.
  • As highlighted by Lexicon, a high percentage of more than 80% of Americans believe employee communication is crucial for developing trust with employers.
  • According to David Grossman’s report, “The cost of poor communications” which included 400 large companies and 100,00 employees, the cost of communication barriers that arise in the workplace stands at $62.4 million per year, per company.
  • According to research, 28% of employees point at poor communication as the reason for missed deadlines.
  • A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit further illustrates the impact of poor workplace communication. The findings are:

Failure to complete projects (44% of the cases)

Low employee morale (31% of the cases)

Missed performance goals (25% of the cases)

Lost sales (18% of the cases)

Conclusion

Internal communication should support the company’s overall goals and initiatives. What are your most important messages and how can they best be communicated? How can all employees be reached while avoiding the trap of content overload? Once you have the strategy and who is responsible, technology makes it easier to reach and positively influence your employees. Here’s to a better 2022!

About the Author: Martin Brandt

Martin Brandt is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for JamAngle.