Communication, simply put, is the act of transferring information from one person or group to another. It sounds simple when stated in these terms but in reality; it can be quite complex and nuanced. Effective communication is a vital part of any organisation, big or small. It enables an organisation to not only survive in a competitive environment, but to vastly improve performance as a whole. Alternatively, poor communication can have detrimental effects on an organisation, not only in terms of productivity and revenues, but on culture too.
While technological advances and the proliferation of software have totally changed the concept of communication, it has the potential to be used as a tool to improve communication, rather than disrupt it. However, in order to consider the role that technology plays, it’s important to first consider what effective communication actually looks like, why it’s important, and how to improve it.
When communicating with others, the principal aspect is that they can understand and therefore disseminate the message. This shouldn’t be confused with clarity, as the two are different. It’s similar to the difference between hearing and listening. Employees can receive the message being delivered to them, but if it is not given in a clear, organised fashion it can prove to be relatively useless. A key component of clarity is that the recipient of the information knows what action to take as a result of having received it. In other words, an employee knows exactly what to do or what direction to go in after communicating with management.
The reason clarity is so important in terms of organisational efficiency is because it provides employees with a clear roadmap, helping them when contributing to the tasks, objectives and overarching goals of the business. To improve this even further, an organisation can ensure this kind of communication is a regular, ongoing process.
If communication with others within your team or wider organisation has to be one thing, it’s timely. The message can be as clear as day but if it’s sent a week too late, clarity no longer matters very much. Because of the need for timely, instant communications in organisations, organisations often choose to adopt a technological approach. This can be as basic as a text, but technology plays an indispensable role in this regard. Having an instant, real-time digital method of communication not only ensures timely delivery of messages, it also adds the crucial element of accountability. When there is a record of when a message was delivered and what it contained, it holds people accountable. Along with achieving winning results, accountability can help to build healthy relationships, strong teams, and a happy culture.
The importance of being open or vulnerable is a highly underappreciated aspect of communication. Businesses should develop an environment of open communication where new ideas, suggestions, changes, and perhaps even constructive criticisms are encouraged. As a leader, being vulnerable is a way of creating and cultivating a culture of openness and engagement among employees.
When a business has an open and welcoming communication culture, it allows people to really engage in their work, and connect with the company as a whole. The benefits of using open communication, and thus engaging employees, is the fact that higher workplace engagement leads to a nearly 40% reduction in absenteeism and 21% higher productivity (2). Simply put, communicating in a way that engages employees is of key importance in any organisation.
The Role of Technology
When reviewing the important aspects of communication mentioned above, it’s worth considering the role that technology plays. Technology is evolving at a rapid pace and in order to compete in a fast-paced business environment, organisations need to utilize suitable technology and software. Often times, the reasons for a breakdown in communication may be due to one of the following:
- An employee or manager didn’t receive an important message promptly enough
- A stakeholder is uncomfortable communicating in a narrow-minded environment
- The message simply wasn’t clear enough
Functional, highly intuitive communication software has the ability to tie in all the elements of communication mentioned above by allowing your workforce management processes to exist on an easy-to-use platform with a clear, automated, repeatable process.
At Celayix, we are experts when it comes to workforce management software. With built in messaging functionality, our Team Xpress platform allows instant communication within organisations with shift notifications, real-time messaging and schedule change alerts. We help businesses to foster a culture of open, accountable communication with powerful yet simple software.
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