Unblocking Organisational Communication
In nearly every aspect of life, communication is key. Communication unlocks doors, includes people, builds and maintains relationships, gets things done, engages people, inspires people, develops people, builds teams and more.
Therefore, communication is a vital part of a successful organisation. However, for an organisation to be truly successful and effective, it doesn’t just need communication, it needs unblocked and open communication.
Many organisations tend to look at communication as something that is simple and easy to maintain in the workplace, but ask any HR Manager and they will tell you a different story. "The need for more effective communication” is one thing that is commonly raised in engagement surveys and exit interviews. This shows us that communication can be a complex and even frustrating issue to work through.
What are some Communication Barriers Organisations Face?
There are many barriers that can result in blocked communication within an organisation, these include:
Industry Barriers – The industry that your organisation is in can have an impact on the effectiveness of communication. Is it an industry where people mainly work individually or off-site? Is it an industry where people are doers (such as tradesmen)? The more physical, hands on jobs don’t leave a lot of time for communication.
Cultural Barriers – These blocks can happen if members of your organisation come from different backgrounds or cultures (this could include religious, educational, family upbringing, birthplace etc).
Language Barriers – Organisations with employees who speak different languages, or even have different lexicons that they use to express themselves can encounter difficulties if these languages are used in the workplace. Other people may feel excluded, or even that they are being talked about. Likewise, if there are employees that have English as a second language, they may struggle when communicating.
Personality Barriers – These barriers occur when the personalities within the organisation differ so intensely that there are often clashes, sabotage or ill-will between colleagues.
Physical Barriers – Physical barriers include closed doors, closed-off cubicles, off-site offices or remote offices. All of these can act as communication blockers as they make open communication harder. Studies have shown that one of the best ways for organisations to increase communication is to increase proximity. The further away people are, the harder it is to communicate.
Communication Capability Barriers – Effective communication starts at the top, so the organisation’s leaders need to have effective communication capability.
Why is Organisational Communication so Vital?
While clear, open, unblocked communication can help members of your organisation or team feel they are appreciated and heard, it can also help with day-to-day things like productivity and happiness.
Here are a few of the key reasons why unblocked communication is vital for the organisation:
Increased Job Satisfaction – Various studies have identified that when employees are able to have upward communication as well as clear communication amongst their peers, they feel empowered, and more satisfied within their job. When information is flowing, and communication is unblocked, employees have reported a drastic increase in workplace and job satisfaction.
Improved Productivity – When organisations have effective communication, they can expect to see a dramatic increase in workplace productivity as well as overall company performance. There are related studies that find that individual workers who are identified as being the most productive within a workplace are often found to also be some of the best at overcoming communication blocks.
Reduced Absenteeism and Turnover Rates – While it may not always be obvious, the flow of information and communication is a very big factor in employee engagement. Those who feel they can trust that what is being communicated to them is truthful and up-to-date are not only more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their workplace, but are also more likely to relay information back up stream. In situations where organisations have to go through layoffs, those that excel at communication have a much better ability to retain the employees that were not let go. Retaining your employees, and reducing absenteeism is an important aspect of ensuring that your workforce is working at optimal pace and efficiency.
Why Does Organisational Communication Become Blocked?
There are many reasons that organisational communication can become blocked, these include:
Fear - These people fear oversharing and losing value in the role that they have.
Low Self-Worth - These people may think that they have nothing of value to share, so there is no point communicating.
Inexperience - These people might not know what good communication is or how to communicate effectively.
Poor Leadership - These people don't walk-the-walk and demonstrate effective communication.
Power Struggles - These people use information as a pawn in their power struggles.
Inability to See the Value of Communication - These people don't see the value of importance, so prioritise everything else above it.
Perceived Lack of Time - These people don't make time for communication because they are so busy. They can't see that by communicating, they can share the workload and pressures.
Tips to Help Unblock Organisational Communication
As many reasons as there are for communication to become blocked, there are just as many ways to unblock communication and have your organisation working at its best and most efficient level.
These barriers can be overcome by making sure that you have consistent messaging coming from the top, which enforces that a proper flow of communication does not devalue individuals, but helps make the whole team better, and worth more.
Maintaining a consistent standard when it comes to communication is another important step. Communication needs to flow from the top and leaders should set the example by holding regular catch ups, providing regular updates and keeping their employees informed at all times.
When there is a clear understanding of how information is to flow, it is a lot easier for everyone within the organisation to communicate properly.
About PDI Solutions
PDI Solutions can work with organisations to develop and deliver training solutions tailored to your particular organisation around leadership, team building or any other professional development. Contact us today for a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at pdisolutions.com.au