The Most Common Employee Communication Issues

One way or another workplace communication has an effect on an organization’s productivity, morale and collective motivation. Workplace communication, in other words, can be a manager’s greatest ally and inspire employees to greater levels of collaborative achievement or an insurmountable obstacle to teamwork, sharing research and cooperatively working to meet goals.

Breaking Down Workplace Miscommunication 

While communication barriers are something that every manager will face during their career, learning how to efficiently resolve disputes and sidestep the factors that drive workplace miscommunication is essential to fostering an efficient workplace.
  • Poor Listening
Poor listening skills and a lack of attention to what the other party is saying can torpedo any chance of getting one’s point across. Why might an employee not be paying close attention or even bothering to listen to another? The most common reason is that the so-called listener often doesn’t feel like the topic under discussion has enough relevance or that they won’t be professionally affected by tuning out the conversation. What’s important to realize, though, is that effective communication is tied into things like low employee turnover, better morale, and higher productivity since communication that’s clear and direct establishes clear instructions and increases the chances of meeting projects on time.
  • Unsympathetic Body Language
Non-verbal cues like nodding and making good eye contact are as essential for good workplace communication as shaking one’s head and wagging one’s finger at certain critical points in the conversation are the enemy to effective workplace communication. That’s why sympathizing with the other person and responding accordingly can really improve communication around the office. Ask the person you’re talking to beforehand if they’ve already received the information you’re getting ready to discuss or if they have time for a chat right now. Sometimes negative body language is a sign that employees are working under different starting assumptions as well.
  • Too Much Information
In the workplace – as in life – people talk, listen and respond according to communication styles. Some people want to chit-chat for a bit before getting to the main point and like lots of personal details – while other employees just want the facts and to cut right to the chase. No matter what communication style a particular employee is using, however, realize that most employees are actually strapped for time. You ideally want to have one main message and, at most, three or four pieces of supporting evidence in your chats and emails to avoid overwhelming your audience. When everyone can follow what’s going on, employee morale and a sense of camaraderie usually also improve.
  • Lack of Feedback
This is actually a related problem to spewing out too much information: A lack of feedback and one-way communication can leave your audience overwhelmed and not quite grasping the message. Managers should occasionally take polls on the best ways to communicate certain messages (e.g., email versus meetings versus one-on-one with employees) and individual employees should try active listening and asking clarifying questions to get everyone on the same page.

Make Clear Communication a Workplace Priority 

Clear, respectful and direct workplace communication isn’t something that merely happens. It needs to be a priority to really take hold. Managers and employees need to work on providing more timely feedback, increasing their levels of listening engagement, and tailoring the message to their audiences to efficiently get the point across. With clear communication comes fewer inter-departmental barriers to sharing information, better morale around the office and higher rates of productivity. That’s definitely worth prioritizing.