problem solving workshops

Workplace Communication

Everyone organization can benefit by improving workplace communication

[dropcap]I[/dropcap] have worked with for-profit companies, not-for-profit and government organizations of various sizes. One of the most common problems for all organizations seems to be around workplace communication.

It really is the foundation for any activity that involves human beings.   And as very few organizations can exist without human beings, it makes sense that we need some significant focus.  Without effective communication, information and knowledge cannot flow freely.  Misunderstandings arise, errors are made, conflict first simmers then erupts…..  I am sure everyone has had the experience of things going wrong because of a “communication breakdown”.

So if we can focus on improving communication, imagine the benefits.  Rather than a communication breakdown, we could have a communication break-through!

What do we need to know about workplace communication?

Consider that there are many different forms of communication in business, such as:

  • Information updates – one way communication, such as updating employees on new policies.
  • Transactional communication – two way, but limited interaction.  A request is initiated and a response received.
  • Discussion – two way communication that continues over a period of time, generally until both parties are clear with each others message.
  • Dialogue – the peak of true human communication, whereby participants really try to understand each others perspectives and work towards solutions on complex problems.

Each type of communication has varying degrees of effort, both time and emotional investment.  Therefore it is important to align the form of communication with the needs of the situation.  A communication plan can help you to make sure that communication is appropriately targeted.

How can we improve workplace communication?

While there are many complexities around each situation, I found this simple framework for developing a communication plan from Six Sigma – a leading quality improvement discipline.

When developing your communication plan, consider each of these objectives and categories:

[checklist]

  • To Whom
  • What
  • Why
  • Where
  • When
  • How

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You may find it helpful to involve others in developing your plan.  Rather than try to figure out all the answers yourself, why not ask people what they need for communication?  Maybe some will even be willing to take on a role in implementing your communication plan.  The most important thing is to get started NOW to improve workplace communication.  You can continue to fine tune and adapt as you go along

Where do we start to improve workplace communication?

Like any other workplace problem, it takes a systematic approach to really define the issues, find the root cause of the problem, assess different options and agree upon a plan to move forward.  We facilitate that process with team workshops and coaching.

Learn more about our Problem Solving Workshops for work teams