There aren’t many things that can hold a business back quite like poor internal communication. Even if a product is excellent, teams are capable, and individual operations run smoothly, poor internal communication will ultimately lead to problematic inefficiencies. These can vary from dissatisfied employees to incomplete projects, to lost business. But they’re all serious issues.
This is why we believe that businesses should prioritize orderly and clear internal communications. Indeed, it’s why Helpwise’s suite of tools for team messaging and customer interaction is essential in the modern workplace. But even before seeking these kinds of solutions, today’s business leaders need to learn to recognize the problem.
To that end, here are four signs that you might have poor internal communication at work.
1. Internal Communications Occur at Odd Hours
Particularly with so many businesses now operating remotely, the time that’s taken up on remote communication is becoming a significant indicator of efficiency. It’s been assumed by many for a long while that remote work translates to longer days, in part because communication is unorthodox. And according to a paper on remote work co-authored by a Harvard Business School professor, research does now show that remote work translates to nearly an hour of extra work each day on average.
This isn’t entirely due to poor or unusual communication, but these issues certainly factor in. Waiting on messages, having meetings when they may not be needed, and responding to emails at odd hours can all take up time unnecessarily. By extension, we can say that if communications are coming through at strand hours, the workplace may have inefficient internal communications.
2. You Haven’t Consulted an Expert
Another sign that you could have internal communications issues might simply be that you haven’t bothered to consult an expert. This may seem excessive to some until you think about the clear demand for educated communications experts. It’s a popular field of study and has become one of the most in-demand subjects for online education as well. To that point, information about online communication degrees from Maryville University specifically conveys that there is robust growth in both careers and salaries projected for specialists in the field.
This would not be the case if companies weren’t finding value in communications specialists. And while not all of them are trained to consult specifically on internal workplace operations, the size of the field indicates that there are people who can help.
If your business hasn’t hired someone trained to recognize issues and/or implement communication systems, you may be lagging behind.
3. Employees Are Unhappy
When you consider what you typically want when it comes to communication skills, it quickly becomes apparent that most of them are as much about respect and positivity as any vague notion of effectiveness. Case in point, a Fast Company list of communication skills for workplace success focused on things like “showing respect,” “active listening,” and even “displaying positive body language.”
These are ideas that are about social interaction as much as the information being shared.
It stands to reason, then, that if employees are generally unhappy, it may be the result of a communication issue. Lack of respect, poor listening, negative body language, and so on will gradually make employees feel like they’re not being taken seriously. So, if morale seems low, consider if the issue stems from communication.
4. You Don’t Have a Feedback System
Somewhat in line with the idea of ensuring employee happiness, it’s also important to develop a system for the feedback! This was actually the first note in our ‘7 Tips for Improving Internal Communication Among Your Employees’ — encouraging feedback. It’s a means of giving employees space to discuss what may or may not be going well. This in turn can start conversations that benefit the whole team perpetually. Essentially, a feedback system is an invitation to open communications that might otherwise be suppressed or ignored. It makes the whole workplace more open and honest.
Hopefully, these points have given you some ideas as to how to improve communications in your own workplace. Much of it comes down to strategy and management. You can also use some of the tools offered by Helpwise can be of assistance as well. Embracing things like shared inboxes can serve as the infrastructure on which more effective communication can be built.
But first, you have to recognize the issues you’re trying to solve.
Article contributed by Rina Jackson
Exclusively for helpwise.io