BUSINESS
07/18/2016 02:22 pm ET Updated Jul 19, 2017

How to Create a Company Culture of Communication

Do people in your company feel heard? Are leaders within the company open to new ideas? Is it acceptable for everyone within the company to come up with ideas, no matter what their position is? Is management transparent, open, and honest with all employees? Workplace communication is the transmission of information from one person or group to another person or group in an organization. It can include face-to-face communication, e-mails, text messages, voicemails, notes, and so on.

Important Advantages:

Workplace communication is vital to an organization's ability to be productive and to operate smoothly. There are at least three major benefits to effective workplace communication. They are as follows:

1.Workplace communication improves worker productivity. Research shows that effective lateral and work group communication leads to an improvement in overall company performance. It has also been discovered that employees who were graded highest in productivity had received the most effective communication from their superiors. Consider the following example.
Gertrude works in engineering for a toy manufacturer, and her prototypes of toys receive accolades. She is effective in communicating the advantages of her designs and how children will play with them in real life. In return, she receives specific guidance from her superiors, allowing her to create designs quickly and efficiently. In this instance, effective communication has led to increased productivity.

2.Workplace communication can increase employee job satisfaction. Employees feel empowered if they are able to communicate with senior management. This type of communication happens when information flows upward in an organization, and it usually consists of employees providing feedback to their superiors. If bosses or managers are able to listen to employees and respond appropriately, this two-way communication usually leads to an increase in employee job satisfaction.

Employees are also happy when there is intense downward communication, when there is information flowing down from superiors or managers. In our previous toy factory example, Gertrude recently sent an e-mail to her boss recommending that her department upgrade its design software. Her upward communication feedback was not just acknowledged--it was acted on, resulting in both a very happy design team and a happy Gertrude, as she felt valued and heard.

3.Workplace communication can also have a positive effect on absenteeism and turnover rates. Communication flow is very important to workers. Employees have to feel confident that they are receiving truthful and updated information from superiors. They also want to have the ability to share ideas, thoughts, and concerns within the company. Studies have shown that even after a layoff, companies with excellent communication are able to retain the surviving employees.

Whether your team is distributed across several offices or is located under one roof, here are four ways that you can create an environment centered on the open, two-way communication that builds cohesion.

1. Transparency:

A common mistake that management teams make is not sharing information throughout the organization. This demonstrates a lack of confidence, and, as a result, it can lead to distrust. The best way to prevent this is to practice open, transparent communication. It's a good idea to share information throughout your organization, as it creates an environment of trust and a feeling of being in it together. Concerns about overwhelming your teams are almost always unfounded. The people you want to hire in a startup are those who are smart and ambitious enough to want this information and those who will use it to make the company better.

2. Inter-departmental collaboration:

Many workplace failures stem from lack of collaboration and poor communication. This secretive, "us versus them" mentality divides people and can lead to interdepartmental friction. When employees aren't communicating across departments, leaders should identify this as soon as possible, and immediately put into place practices that strengthen relationships between different teams. At my company, we have a strong culture of open feedback and communication, but this is something we've built over time by establishing genuine human connections. For instance, we bring together our globally distributed team for a daily video call to celebrate recent successes and to gather support for challenges.
Bringing people together in this way really does work. Always look for ways to build connections between people, especially when there's a lack of common work goals and interests. Open office layouts, group lunches, team outings, and retreats can encourage collaboration and sharing.

3. Clarity regarding roles and rules

Often, a lack of alignment within a team directly diminishes productivity. If employees don't know what their roles are or what the rules are, their productivity levels are bound to suffer. On the other hand, employees who have clear roles, responsibilities, and deadlines are more likely to be held accountable--and they're more likely to hold themselves accountable. In any situation where rules and roles are not completely clear, make sure everything is spelled out. Vagueness is conflict's biggest ally.

4. Diversity awareness in all communications

Cross-cultural communication is imperative for companies that have a diverse workforce and participate in the global economy, so it's important for employees to understand the factors that play a part in an effective, diverse workforce. Cross-cultural communication has become strategically important to companies due to the growth of global business, technology, and the Internet. As a result, understanding cross-cultural communication is important for any company with a diverse workforce or a business plan that entails global operations. This type of communication involves an understanding of how people from different cultures speak or communicate and how they perceive the world around them.