Why Is Communication Important in the Workplace?

Team having group project discussion at workstation in office

Communication involves exchanging information verbally, nonverbally, and via listening. Effective communication is the foundation upon which a productive work environment is built. Discover ten of the most important reasons why communication is critical to every aspect of workplace operations, from productivity and results to individual and team performance.

Building Relationships

Workplace success is based on effective relationships between managers and employees, as well as among peers and with customers. Communication is the means through which strong workplace relationships are built. Through communication, people who work together get to know one another, which is necessary for them to form connections and share information in a way that enables them to accomplish goals and objectives.

Working Through Conflict

When people work together, conflict is going to happen. How conflict is handled determines if it will be constructive or destructive. When people avoid dealing with conflict, it has a negative impact on their ability to work together. Through effective communication, people are able to work through conflicts productively and achieve great results. This can strengthen relationships and lead to improved productivity and performance.

Developing Teams

Individual workplace relationships are important, but so is team cohesiveness. The most productive businesses are ones where there is a strong sense of teamwork within each department and across the organization. Team cohesiveness doesn't happen by accident. Ongoing communication plays a major role in whether employees will develop the camaraderie and strong sense of connection that are necessary for a group of people to function as a team.

Giving Instructions

Communication is the means through which instructions are conveyed. Instructions are how employees know what to do and how to do it. Without communication, project managers wouldn't know what customers need, and employees would not know what is expected of them. Customer service representatives wouldn't be able to help customers troubleshoot problems or properly use the items or services they purchased.

Verifying Requirements

Communication provides a way for people to verify that they correctly understand the instructions they have been given. Once instructions have been shared, people can use communication to make sure they have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. Through communication, people are able to seek clarity about specifications or procedures and request additional information they need.

Training Employees

The fact that instructions have been shared does not mean that people necessarily know how to do what is expected of them. That's where employee training comes in. Training can't take place without communication. Training involves setting and sharing objectives, explaining or demonstrating what needs to be done, assessing knowledge and skill, providing feedback, and continuing to do so until trainees' performance is at an appropriate level.

Providing Feedback

Feedback isn't just important during training. Providing employees with ongoing feedback is an essential part of every manager's job. Communication is the tool through which feedback can be shared. Managers should communicate appreciation to employees who do a good job and recognize employee accomplishments. Managers should also provide corrective feedback when performance needs to improve. Additionally, managers should create an environment in which employees are comfortable sharing feedback.

Sharing Goals

People need more information than just a list of instructions to follow in order to do a great job. Communication makes it possible for leaders to share overall business goals with members of the organization. This kind of communication makes it possible for business goals to guide decisions throughout the organization. Managers and employees can work together to develop strategically aligned goals to focus on, making sure their efforts are consistent with the company's big picture goals.

Innovating

In the rapidly changing business environment, organizations that focus on innovation are the ones most likely to thrive. This involves communication in the form of constantly seeking external information, as well as assessing information internally. For example, companies can use big data to better understand customer needs, then use that information to adapt or develop product or service offerings that will help them gain a competitive advantage.

Building a Strong Culture

Communication plays a major role in a company's culture. People want to work for successful organizations where they are valued as human beings. This can only happen in companies where open, respectful communication is the norm. Culture is a key factor in attracting and retaining top talent. People want to work for organizations in which information is shared freely, people treat one another with respect, and employees have a voice. Communication is the key.

Communication Matters in the Workplace

It's impossible to overstate how important communication is in the workplace. Communication affects every aspect of business operations. Without communication, people would never find out about job opportunities with the company, and prospective customers would never discover what the organization has to offer. Managers and employees wouldn't know what was expected of them, or have any kind of direction to guide their actions. Workplaces simply cannot function effectively without effective communication.

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