The importance of regular communication for business success: Talk more!
Updated 3rd March 2022
Good communication is an essential tool in achieving productivity and maintaining strong working relationships at all levels of an organisation. The importance of regular communication lies in its ability to build trust among employees and increase 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
There are all sorts of reasons why the importance of regular communication should be a focus in any business. In today's highly-competitive work environment, some of the most vital benefits are:
1: Facilitating innovation
When employees feel comfortable in openly communicating new ideas, cooperation and innovation will be at an all-time high. Staff may be unable to convey their ideas due to limited communication facilities. If so, it's likely that the idea will not be implemented to its full potential. For example, HR directors are missing a trick if they don't involve IT personnel in choosing new tech for the next big rollout.
2. Building 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.
Employees benefit from being well-informed of the company's direction and vision. If you can pull that off, they will feel more secure within their role. Don't forget the importance of regular communication for improving work ethic. Reminding staff of their achievements and those of others reinforces that they are working towards a common goal.
3. Managing employees
Managers need to be effective communicators. They must be able to inform staff adequately of their responsibilities. They also need to be able to realistically set the expectations of staff in turn. 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.
The shortcomings of traditional annual or biannual performance reviews highlight the importance of regular communication. 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.
Managing Millennials and Gen Z
Millennial and Gen Z employees place a lot of value on regular, effective communication that keeps them in the loop. Technology has played a key role in shaping both generations. But why are we harping on about them so much?
Well, they're soon going to compose the majority of modern workforces, for starters. In the UK, the number of Millennials in the population surpassed the Baby Boomer population for the first time in 2020. At the time, there were over 14.2 million Millennials in the UK population, as well as almost 12.7 million members of Gen Z. So, between them, it follows that they're pretty much dominating the modern workplace.
Gen Z especially is having a major impact on workplace cultures. Here are just some of the changes being spearheaded by our youngest innovators:
Contextualising their work
Millennial and Gen Z staff prefer to know the reason for doing a task before they do it. Knowing the upfront value of their work can be an excellent motivator. Why should they invest their time in this task and how does it fit into the bigger picture?
Gen Z sort of inherited the "tech generation" label from Millennials. But it's pushed to the Nth degree by the fact their experience started from a higher baseline. Now, we're not saying every single young person is some underpaid Tony Stark type. But the perk of modern technology being the social norm from a young age is that it can make some things second-nature.
They want ongoing feedback 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.
They see job flexibility as a basic expectation
Millennials and Gen Z place a lot of emphasis on job flexibility, to the point where many would switch jobs for it. Of course, the pandemic played a key role in legitimising remote work.
But the fact that it's here to stay is something we've seen a lot of support for among young employees. And let's not forget that the importance of regular communication is even greater when you have a decentralised employee base.
Effective communication is critical across all industries. And while you might think the importance of regular communication is just common sense, that doesn't always seem to be the case. Three quarters of employers rate collaboration and teamwork as very important.
But almost 40% of staff don't think people communicate enough in their business. So let's look at the five strategies laid out by Sébastien Ricard, CEO of LumApps, for improving communication with your team:
Regular communication is essential, but don't forget that quality beats quantity. If you're going to constantly barrage your employees with inane or unhelpful communications, they'll just start tuning things out.
Before you schedule a meeting about something, Ricard suggests asking yourself a few questions. Who's your potential audience? What is your desired outcome? And is this something you'll need to refer back to later?
Ground rules keep meetings productive
Evidence shows that the vast majority of meetings are a waste of time. But you can take steps to make sure things get done. Set hard time limits. Build a solid agenda and stick to it. Don't drag in people who aren't directly involved with the proceedings. If something else comes up, add it to the next meeting's agenda or catch up with the concerned individual later.
Perhaps something came up in a group meeting, or someone has a personal issue they want to discuss. Either way, 1:1s are your bread and butter for dealing with issues on the micro scale. They're a chance for you to build rapport, get to the root of issues, and show you care about employee concerns.
There's a time and a place for everything. If an employee has a query about booking time off, it's best they don't post it in your channel for idea generation. Fortunately, the modern workplace is spoiled for choice in terms of virtual communication tools.
Whether you've got Microsoft Teams, Asana, email chains or messenger pigeons, keeping all that stuff organised prevents wires from getting crossed. Lots of these tools will even let you create and clearly label your own channels, so employees can see where to go to post about any workplace issue.
Micromanaging is disruptive, but the motivation is understandable. Fortunately, a light-touch progress update can give you all the info you need. But it's also an opportunity for mutual feedback. Updates are just as much about making you aware of problems as it is checking tasks off a list.
How can Weekly10 facilitate superior levels of communication within your organisation?
Our own weekly employee check-in utilises your choice of OKRs or SMART Goals so you can see your objectives succeed in real-time. But it also contains a highly customisable range of questions designed to monitor wellbeing and engagement. Here are just some of the advantages of a weekly employee check-in:
- Supports Gen Z's desire for real-time feedback.
- Feedback itself is highly streamlined but personalised, with accessible documentation for self-reflection.
- It works from anywhere, so it's ideal for remote workers.
- Check-ins empower employees by giving them a voice, and managers by cluing them in on issues.
- Consistency of feedback habits.
- Transparency facilitates more communication and helps to build trust.
- Flexibility makes businesses more efficient and gives employees better work/life balance. Asynchronous communication also reduces the potential for cancelled appointments.
It doesn't matter whether your organisation is part of the armed forces, a legal firm, a car dealership, a restaurant, a financial institution or a technology company. Whatever its purpose, effective communication is vital to its survival and successful operation. Communication is the heartbeat of your organisation.