Is Ineffective Communication Hurting Your Business?
Communication is a fundamental aspect of everyday life. Through communication, we are able to share knowledge and information, as well as develop our relationships with others. In a business setting, effective communication plays an imperative role in the success of a company’s culture and customer success. While the concept of communication is a simple one, the actual practice may be more of a challenge sometimes when time constraints or uncooperative people are in the mix. Communication is a cycle, and, in the cycle, there is the sender, the message, the receiver, and the confirmation of the message. You tell your coworker about an exchange you had with a customer, they receive the message, and then they respond to confirm they got the message. Sounds familiar right? It’s often a simple conversation that has the ability to make or break business. But what happens when communication is not effective in the workplace?
When communication begins to become ineffective at work between leadership and other employees, you will experience more stress, unmet expectations, Low morale, dissatisfied clients, and poor health. Communication is often the underlying, internal cause of many problems such as these in the workplace.
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Stress at Work and Home
Under-communication with employees tends to breed more stress. A lack of communication produces uncertainty and doubt in employee responsibilities and their value in the company. High-stress levels may cause employees to hurry, feel over-worked, lose a sense of humor, and feel tense coming to work. If employees don’t feel secure at work, they will not have the confidence they need to succeed. Without effective communication, employees may have a difficult time trusting their co-workers and managers and will begin to second-guess themselves.
This type of stress doesn’t stay at work though, it often hitches a ride home with employees and is brought back to their families. Employees may come home with emotional baggage to unpack from the day, while their spouses, children, or living partners feel detached from them. This can also give employees another burden to carry as they may feel guilty for being emotionally unavailable at home due to stresses at work.
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When communication is lacking in the workplace, employees may not know how to prioritize their to-do list and they often choose the wrong task to prioritize and end of disappointing their manager. This leads to missed deadlines, missed appointments with clients, and unorganized projects. Without effective communication, it’s difficult to know where to start on a task and how to complete it effectively in order to both please the customers and the manager or leadership.
When employees are dealing with the stress at work and home, those intense emotions will impact the time they spend on managing that emotion, leading to a decline in productivity and instead, just trying to make it through the day. When the trust is gone due to the lack of communication, it becomes difficult for employees to work as a team to meet their deadlines and feel confident about their performance. Low morale also affects customer service because when employees are no longer certain of their value and role, it takes a toll on their energy and motivation when dealing with customers.
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Due to the missed deadlines and appointments, customers also become stressed as they are now on the bad end of the ineffective communication. When customers are stressed and dissatisfied, they may choose to take their business elsewhere, leaving your business with a poor bottom line.
Not only does your business’s financial plan get out of whack when the bottom line is failing, but the customer may also lose money. If your business is responsible for delivering a product or service on time and the appointment has been missed, it could lead to their own business missing deadlines and fail their own customers.
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When ineffective communication is affecting employees, the stress, low morale, and office paranoia take a toll on both mental and physical health. With poor communication consequences felt both at work and at home, it is difficult for employees to find an outlet and external place to channel the stress. When there is no outlet and the stress keep adding up at work, it’s easy for people to feel they don’t have the energy to be able to handle their own self-care.
Not only will employees feel the mental and physical harms of poor communication and all that encompasses it, but so will the business. Effective communication is a cycle, but instead of a smooth flow from sender to receiver, ineffective communication disrupts the cycle, leaving the receiver to piece together bits of information that may not come directly from the sender and in turn, often suffers the consequences of the lack of communication from a sender, or more commonly someone in a management or leadership role.
How to Improve
If you notice employees seem to be more stressed and tense than usual or missing deadlines, customer appointments, or not communicating effectively with one another to complete projects, it may be due to a lack of communication from the leadership side of the business, down. But if ineffective communication can have such negative effects on business, then effective communication will have just the opposite effect. There are many ways to make up for a past of poor communication and help improve the success of both the business and confidence of employees.
Begin by setting very clear task details and deadlines according to their priority. This will give employees a clearer picture of what the expectations are for the new weeks ahead. Setting aside time to meet as a team or one on one to discuss concerns or even just brainstorm ideas and talk about how they feel their work is going. As an employer, it’s a good idea to practice active listening skills as opposed to simply hearing employees talk. Creating an office environment that celebrates accomplishments and progress big or small, will help boost company morale and give employees a boost of confidence in their work, leading to better customer relationships and service, thus improving the bottom line of business.
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