Communication is perhaps the most vital aspect of the success or failure of a business. Unfortunately, breakdowns in communication are common and can have significant negative effects on operations, employee well-being, and profits. So, how does communication break down in the workplace? Here are six reasons.
Limitations in Technology
Technological limitations, such as slow internet, weak phone signals, or lack of communication channels such as instant messaging programs or apps, can make it much more difficult for employees to communicate with each other. If your employees can’t communicate in the fast fashion that they need to, they could give up altogether, which definitely hinders communication.
Too Many Communication Channels
Although communication channels are essential, there is a risk of having too many of them to choose from. For example, using one or two forms of instant messaging is effective, yet having several different ones installed to choose from can be counterproductive. The more channels there are in use, the more there are that employees have to check, and important messages can end up getting lost.
A streamlined, all-inclusive intranet can be a good solution. Click here for more information.
Lack of Defined Roles and Protocols
For employees to be able to communicate effectively, they need to know who they need to be communicating with. Whether it is to ask a question, request assistance, or information that an assigned task has been completed, each employee must have a set line manager, and each member of staff should have a defined job title. This is vital for an effective company structure.
Employees Are Scared to Speak Up
Employees are often wary of asking questions when they do not understand something for fear of appearing slow or unintelligent. Unfortunately, this can lead to mistakes being made as a full understanding of the job has not been achieved.
When employees make mistakes (as everyone inevitably does sometimes—we’re all only human!), they are often scared of the potential repercussions. To avoid getting into trouble or even receiving disciplinary action, employees sometimes attempt to hide mistakes. Unfortunately, this can lead to operational problems down the line. It is usually best to appear approachable, rather than intimidating, to your employees if you want them to admit to errors so that they can be fixed.
Lack of Trust Among Co-workers
One barrier to communication that is unfortunately sometimes encountered is a lack of trust between co-workers. For example, if an employee doesn’t trust the professional ability of another, they may neglect to keep them in the loop on important operations.
Sometimes employees may have personal issues or conflicts with each other that prevent communication. If this is the case, setting up an effective HR (Human Resources) department can help overcome these issues. If you do not have an in-house HR manager, you may be able to outsource this.
Stress and Overwork
Unfortunately, employees often feel that they simply don’t have the time to communicate what they are doing if they are constantly struggling to meet deadlines with high volumes of work. Stretching employees too far can, in fact, be counterproductive to operational efficiency.