What are the benefits of effective communication in the workplace?

Written by Daniel Messinger, Consulting Associate

Have you ever heard someone complain about poor communication from their supervisor or senior leadership team? Have you ever been frustrated when someone in another department won’t get back to you? These are just a few examples as to why employees care about having healthy, effective communication in the workplace. But why is communicating effectively in the workplace as important for organizations as it is for employees?

Before you can understand the benefits of effective communication, you have to understand that there are different types of communication. Each of them is important and provides unique benefits to organizations.

What are the different types of communication in the workplace?

Before organizations can fully grasp the advantages of effective communication in the workplace, they must first recognize the different types of communication that occur at work. Each type of communication presents its own unique set of challenges and benefits, making it crucial for businesses to understand the significance of each to ensure effective communication in the workplace.

1. Organizational communication in the workplace

Organizational communication stems from executives and senior leaders and is the process to which information and messages are directed at lower-level employees. This includes updates to employees on business operations, new policies, company successes, and more. Employees want to feel supported and connected to their organizations, but rarely feel this way if executives don’t communicate with them. As a result, companies will likely not reap the benefits of effective communication in the workplace if organizational communication is lacking.

2. Upward communication in the workplace

Upward communication comes from lower-level employees and is directed towards senior leaders or executives. This type of workplace communication often comes in the form of employee feedback on company policy or procedures. If upward communication is absent, it is often because employees don’t feel safe and can result in a lack of effective communication in the workplace. When employees are worried about repercussions – like losing their job or being passed on for promotions – they aren’t eager to provide honest feedback, which is needed to foster a productive work environment.

3. Team and interdepartmental communication in the workplace

Teams achieve goals through collaboration, which requires a lot of organization and healthy communication amongst the team. Team members must be on the same page if they want to accomplish tasks efficiently. This also applies to communication between different departments within an organization. If teams and departments aren’t communicating effectively in the workplace, then tasks and projects can suffer as a result. However, it is worth noting that employees in different departments are generally less familiar with one another and what other departments are working on. Additionally, each department within an organization likely has its own set of priorities, needs, and wants that differ from others. This can make it more difficult and time consuming to foster effective interdepartmental communication.

4. Supervisory communication in the workplace

Supervisors play an active role in the lives of their employees. Employees expect to receive guidance, direction, and praise from their supervisors. From weekly meetings to performance appraisals, supervisors should provide employees with clear feedback and expectations regarding their work.

What are the benefits of effective communication in the workplace?

There are no real disadvantages for organizations communicating effectively in the workplace. With that in mind, we’ve broken down the benefits of effective communication in the workplace based on each type of communication discussed above.

Benefits of organizational communication in the workplace
  • Trust: When companies are open and transparent about business operations, employees can trust that their organizations will be honest with them.
  • Employee engagement: When employees understand the challenges facing the business, they are energized to come together and help overcome those challenges to achieve organizational success. A great example of this is by sharing company success stories and customer reviews. This type of feedback encourages employees and can lead to positive feelings towards the organization, enhancing overall manager and employee engagement.
  • Commitment: Open dialogue from senior leaders increases feelings of commitment through familial bonds and camaraderie.
  • Organizational support: Employees also feel more supported when senior leadership is actively engaging in healthy, effective communication in the workplace.
  • Turnover: When senior leaders are communicating effectively in the workplace, organizations can oftentimes expect lower rates of employee turnover. Additionally, each of the benefits listed above can have a positive effect on reducing turnover.
Benefits of upward communication in the workplace
  • Awareness: Lower-level employees have perspectives, insights, and priorities that are different from those of an organization’s executives. When employees are given opportunities to safely share feedback, organizations have better awareness of the current challenges within their workforce. This allows companies to handle problems more effectively and anticipate issues that may arise in the future.
  • Justice: Everyone wants their voice to be heard and understood. When organizations give everyone an honest chance to speak their mind, it signals that they want to make decisions in a fair and just manner.
  • Trust: When there’s an open line of communication from upper management, employees can trust that their company wants to do things the right way – even if certain decisions don’t fall the employee’s way.
  • Organizational support: Employees feel supported when their comments and concerns are genuinely received and considered.
  • Turnover: Employees are less likely to leave organizations when they feel that their companies are supportive and listen to their concerns.
Benefits of team and interdepartmental communication in the workplace
  • Efficiency: Teams and departments can improve efficiency in a number of ways through effective communication in the workplace, including:
    • Employees are more likely to perform tasks correctly when the correct steps are clearly communicated to them.
    • Projects are less likely to be overlooked or remain unfinished when responsibilities are clearly understood.
    • Time can be used more efficiently when team members are communicating effectively in the workplace. Tasks can be done on the first attempt instead of needing multiple attempts to get it right. Also, time won’t be spent on unnecessary projects or tasks that have already been completed.
    • Project timelines are less likely to be disrupted. Sometimes employees underestimate the time or effort others need to complete certain tasks. However, this can be prevented through proactive communication.
    • The proper resources and time can be allocated to high-priority tasks when other employees or departments clearly understand one another.
  • Knowledge sharing: Sometimes there are only one or two employees who know how to perform a task. Therefore, effective communication in the workplace can help teams recognize those blind spots and take steps to avoid delays if an employee is suddenly unavailable.
  • Job satisfaction: When processes are operating seamlessly, employees are more likely to be proud of their jobs and less prone to frustration at work.
  • Team commitment: Friendly conversations with other employees help team members bond with each other. Conversations about work also remind employees that they are working as a team to achieve their goals. These conversations improve commitment to your team.
  • Turnover: Because of these benefits, effective team and interdepartmental communication can also help reduce turnover rates.
Benefits of supervisory communication in the workplace
  • Development: Supervisors have a unique opportunity to guide employees along their career paths by prioritizing and providing employee development solutions. When supervisors are communicating effectively in the workplace, they can improve employee skills and help them achieve their personal goals.
  • Job performance: Supervisors also play a key role in their employees’ job performance. Providing employees with feedback on what they are doing well and where they can improve can be a huge advantage for employees. Supervisors also set the job expectations for their employees. When communicated well, these expectations motivate employees to be the best version of themselves.
  • Job satisfaction: People are happiest in their jobs when they know what is expected of them, meaning that supervisory communication can drastically improve job satisfaction.
  • Supervisor commitment: Open channels of communication improve the bonds that employees have with their supervisors which can also motivate employees to put in their best effort at work.
  • Turnover: As with the other types of communication, the benefits of supervisory communication can also lead to reduced turnover rates.

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