Regular Communication: The heartbeat Of Your OrganisationReading Time: 5 minutes
Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organisation. Employers who invest time and energy into delivering clear lines of communication will rapidly build trust among employees, leading to increases in productivity, output, and morale in general. Poor communication in the workplace will inevitably lead to unmotivated staff that may begin to question their own confidence in their abilities and inevitably in the organisation.
If open communication within a workplace is encouraged, a more cohesive and effective team will emergeAndy Roberts, Weekly10 CEO
Benefits of regular communication
The Australian Institute for Business (AIB)1 has identified a number of reasons that explain why effective communication should be a focus in any business. Key amongst these in relation to the current, highly-competitive work environment are:
1. Facilitates innovation – When employees feel comfortable in openly communicating new ideas, cooperation and innovation will be at an all-time high. If staff are unable to convey their ideas due to limited communication facilities, it is likely that the idea will not be implemented to its full potential.
2. Builds an effective team – If open communication within a workplace is encouraged, a more cohesive and effective team will emerge. Good communication within a team also tends to boost employee morale. When employees feel that they are well informed of the company’s direction and vision, they will feel more secure within their role. Regular internal communication can also lead to an improved work ethic if staff are reminded of achievements and feel that they are working towards a common goal.
3. Managing employees – When managers are effective communicators, they are more able to inform staff adequately of their responsibilities and what is expected from them. Good communication skills also help managers to provide constructive feedback to their staff, build better relationships, and understand personal goals that staff may wish to work towards. Traditional performance reviews (i.e. 6 month or 12-month reviews) are a great example of how a lack of more regular communication can have a negative impact on engagement and performance. Over 6-12 months people forget about their objectives and organisational goals and priorities change.
4. Ensures transparency – When regularly communicating both internally and externally, organisations remain more transparent. This is important in building trust in your brand, in your services and also internally when it comes to the trust that employees have in higher management.
Communicating with Millennials
Organisations adopting the above communication practices are highly valued by millennials (born early 80’s to early 2000s). The generation reaching adulthood in the early 21st century, they have been shaped by the technology revolution that saw computers, tablets and the web become central to work and life. Why do millennials matter? Deloitte estimate millennials will comprise 75% of the global workforce by 2025. In the UK, millennials currently form 35% of the UK workforce2 and this figure can only increase, so it is critical firms get to grips with the management and expectations of this generational cohort.
KPMG’s “Meet the Millennials” report3 highlights the methods and style of communication that are vital to today’s organisations if they wish to meet the expectations of the millennial and post-millennial workforce:
- Curiosity made the millennial – Millennials need to know the reason for doing a task before they do it. As the generation of immediate gains, they prefer to understand the value of doing something upfront. Why should they invest their time in this task and how does it fit into the bigger picture?
- Tech-savvy – The World Wide Web was born, ushering in the technology revolution. As such, millennials are considered the ‘Digital Natives’ of the world; history’s first ‘always connected’ generation.
- You don’t ask you don’t get – Millennials are more confident when it comes to challenging the system. They are less afraid to ask questions, make comparisons or question ‘the norm’ of things. If they’re thinking something, they’re most likely to express it.
- They want open and honest communication – Millennials are brutally honest with each other, and they expect the same from their employer. They want to feel as though their opinion matters and that their insights are contributing to a bigger picture that is allowing the company to develop. Companies need to adopt a transparent communication policy. Making 360 feedback the norm means that millennials not only receive honest feedback on a regular basis but are also empowered to dole it out. Millennials want more not less communication (42% expect communication from managers at least once per week – more than twice any previous generation).
Effective communication is critical across all industries. The military is often where technology is pioneered before being transferred to civilian applications – and here, where critical missions affect people’s lives we can also learn the criticality of frequent, clear communication. Nicky Moffat, formerly the most senior woman in the British Army (2009-2012), shared her leadership lessons when speaking at the Balanced Business Forum4. Moffat revealed her top leadership lessons from her time in the armed forces. These included:
- Communicate effectively; be honest and open – “Communication is the most important thing for me as a leader,” she said. “It’s about connecting.” She reminded leaders to think carefully about the medium of communication they use and to make sure the language is appropriate for the demographic or individual they are addressing. She also advocated being “open, honest and transparent” to build trust internally.
- Empower teams and individuals – “A leader can’t be everywhere. Give people context and understanding, then enable them to go away and feel empowered,” Moffat said. When giving instructions she said she always talked about the “what” rather than the “how”: “Tell people what to do, but not how to do it. Empowerment is not an abdication of responsibility; it’s delegation”. The means available for workplace communication are the best they have ever been—the internet, e-mail, radio, television, social media and many more. Paradoxically, these increases in communication capacity can actually diminish the quality of communication between leaders and those led if the medium used isn’t specifically designed and optimised for the purpose.
How can Weekly10 facilitate superior levels of communication within your team/organisation?
- Aligned to the next generations’ methods of communication.
- Works from anywhere… on the go or in the office.
- Empowering managers/employees – a tool which makes communication quick, simple and effective.
- Consistency – all managers/employees have access to the same communication platform.
- Feedback – provides a streamlined method of performance review and goal-setting; easily enables alignment/progress/review/feedback on individual and team goals.
- Transparency – facilitates regular horizontal and vertical (up and down) communication.
- Flexibility – an online “check-in” helps fill the gap between F2F or calls (online “check-in” is regular, asynchronous and non-cancellable). Asynchronous “check-in” also significantly reduces the risk of postponements and cancelled meetings.
Whether your organisation is part of the armed forces, a legal firm, a car dealership, a restaurant, a financial institution, a technology company, whatever its purpose, effective communication is vital to its survival and successful operation. Communication is the heartbeat of your organisation.
- 1 Australian Institute of Business 2014 (https://www.aib.edu.au/blog/communication/6-reasons-effective-communication-focus-business/)
- 2 Raconteur 2016 (https://www.raconteur.net/business-innovation/what-does-gen-y-want)
- 3 KPMG 2017 (https://home.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/uk/pdf/2017/04/Meet-the-Millennials-Secured.pdf)
- 4 HR Magazine 2015 (https://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/leadership-lessons-from-the-british-army-1) </small>