When LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner went on CNBC’s Squawk Box in April 2018, he cited communications as being the number one skills gap across 100 major U.S. cities. And just when we thought the deficit couldn’t get any worse, the COVID-19 lockdown happened. Because of the pandemic, the dynamic of interpersonal communications at work has forever changed.
Communication has always been a complex subject with many areas and skills to consider, but it’s even more so now with remote work at an all-time high. According to Buffer, 20% of employees cite communication and collaboration as their biggest struggles with remote work. Thereby, employees at companies of all sizes need communications training now more than ever.
But before diving into the nuts and bolts of communications training, it helps to understand what is meant by effective workplace communications, how it impacts your company’s bottom line, and the various forms of workplace communication.
What Is Effective Workplace Communication?
Communication has a profound impact on workplace culture, productivity, and employee morale. It can essentially make or break a business. According to Salesforce, 86% of executives identify ineffective collaboration and communication as a major cause of business failure.
Effective workplace communication is a two-way street that requires a message to be sent and received accurately. Essentially, it’s an active process where the sender and the receiver are on the same page.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Everything from the context to the delivery of a message needs to be on point. Even voice tone and body language play a role in effective communication.
For example, you may think you’re giving an employee helpful feedback, but they’re receiving it as a reprimand based on your tone of voice. Or maybe your feedback gets misinterpreted because you delivered it via email rather than face-to-face. In the end, everyone processes information differently, so you need to know your audience to engage in effective communication.
The Value of Effective Workplace Communication
Companies that prevent the silo effect from infiltrating their businesses make effective employee communications a priority. As a result, these companies are agile and sustain solid bottom lines by way of:
• High Productivity
• High Workforce Morale
• Low Employee Turnover
• High Customer Retention
According to McKinsey & Company, productivity improves up to 25% in organizations with well-connected employees. Furthermore, businesses with effective communication practices are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, according to Clear Company.
The Cost of Poor Workplace Communication
When employees can’t or don’t communicate effectively, it wreaks havoc on a company’s bottom line. Poor workplace communication generally results in:
• Low Productivity
• Low Workforce Morale
• High Employee Turnover
• Low Customer Retention
According to a global workplace study commissioned by Siemens Communications and SIS International Research, small and medium-sized companies lose an average of $5,246 annually per employee due to ineffective communications. In other words, a business with 100 employees stands to lose $500,000 worth of productivity a year. Even 97% of employees believe communication impacts their task efficacy daily, according to a CMSWire report.
Types of Workplace Communication
Workplace communication doesn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. Nowadays, employees connect in a variety of ways, from direct messaging to email to video conferencing to in-person meetings. Therefore, they must be well-versed in various forms of communication to be effective. Here are four types of communication:
1. Verbal Communication
Effective verbal communication isn’t only about the words you choose; it’s also about how you say those words. Everything from your pitch to the volume of your voice helps shape the meaning and intent of your message.
2. Non-Verbal Communication
Often unintentional, nonverbal communication can reveal how you really feel without saying a word. More than half of a message’s meaning is formed based on body language. Therefore, your body language needs to be consistent with your verbal communication.
3. Written Communication
Sometimes writing communicates your message more clearly than the spoken word. However, your message needs to be clear, concise, and respectful. Also, keep in mind that nothing can ruin your credibility more than poor grammar and punctuation—so always proof your written messages.
Listening isn’t just hearing what someone else says. It’s also about receiving, processing, and responding to a message. In other words, you must decode the sender’s message and attempt to understand it. Yet, despite the importance of listening, it’s often another underdeveloped skill.
Online Communications Training for Employees
If you want to improve the communications inside your company, you need to be willing to invest in employee training. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming process—not if you choose 180 Skills. Our high-quality, low-cost online skills training includes a series of communications courses that include:
• COM-1002 Effective Communication
• COM-1003 Verbal Communication
• COM-1004 Written Communication
• COM-1005 Nonverbal Communication
• COM-1006 Listening Skills
• COM-1007 Workplace Communication
• COM-2001 Understanding Conflict
• COM-2003 Managing Conflict
• COM-2005 Successful Documentation
Because these courses are asynchronous, your employees can complete them at their own pace. Each one has an estimated completion time of an hour or less. We also ensure skills mastery by closing each course with a thorough assessment that requires a perfect score for completion.
Want to bring quality communications training into your company? Contact 180 Skills today to see if our turnkey online skills training platform is right for you.