Is the ability to communicate professionally still a necessity in this digital world? In a world where AI can do all the talking on your behalf, is it important to be able to communicate properly? Apparently, yes!
Communication is of paramount importance in a business context. It’s the common thread that binds all company activity together. Business communications occur in four forms – Internal upward, internal downward, internal lateral, and external communication.
Internal upward refers to the communication originating from the employee or a subordinate and moving up the hierarchy in the organization.
Internal upward refers to the communication originating from the employee, or a sub-ordinate and moving up the hierarchy in the organization.
Internal downward signifies the communication flow from the upper branches of an organization to the lower levels.
Internal lateral communication happens among employees in a workplace; and external communication, as the name suggests happens between the external and internal components of a workplace. Like customer interaction, meetings with investors, etc.
Among these, internal lateral communication is most prevalent and plays a key role in the progress of an organization.
So, why is communication necessary?
In a survey of 500 US businesses, 90% agreed that improved communication skills are necessary for success in the 21st century.
Good communication skills came out on top in a Harvard Business Review study aiming at determining the most important aspect in an executive’s promotability. It received a better ranking compared to attributes like ambition, education, and the ability to work hard.
Several research studies have found similar outcomes over the years. Communication skills influence individual and organizational success. It is a timeless requirement that will never go out of style.
Contrary to common belief, communication skills encompass not just spoken skills but also writing and listening.
We know it’s not really solving anything when there’s less listening and more speaking. Similarly, Bob Kerry, chairman of the National Commission on Writing, believes that “people who are unable to express themselves in writing have limited professional and employment opportunities.”
Consequently, business communication is an activity that encompasses both the formal and informal sides of all the tenets of communication.
So, how does bettering communication skills of your workforce improve your business success?
Improved knowledge sharing
A business is a confluence of several departments and stakeholders. It is a mix of various competencies and perspectives. It is vital to ensure that all of these attitudes are invested for the best of the business properly by ensuring that they function in tandem. Communication is the only way to do this.
The culture of knowledge sharing encourages the exchange of ideas, increases transparency, fosters leadership, teamwork, and shared accountability. Employee involvement and advocacy are also improved as a result of this. All in all, it boosts productivity while lowering costs.
Reduces employee turnover
A workplace with good communication practices makes an employee feel heard and appreciated. It fosters an environment of recognition, constructive criticism, and healthy disagreements. So, an employee feels valued and develops an emotional connection with the management and the business. This leads to better camaraderie among the workforce and improves employee retention rates.
With effective communication skills, work processes and business operations of an organization can be optimized. Innovative approaches are the outcome of better communication initiatives. Consider email, which is one of the most widely used business communication methods. However, because of its widespread use, vital information is lost amid spam and irrelevant clutter.
Communication strategies lay down a clear, focused, roadmap structuring the activities, goals, and relevant stakeholders optimally to reduce turnaround times and achieve innovation.
Focus on problem-solving
Business communication promotes understanding of different perceptions, negative emotions, and unclear perspectives. This type of understanding aids in the quicker resolution of challenges and emphasizes problem–solving. This leads to faster realization of organizational goals.
Responsive remote workforce
Now that remote working has made its way into conventional workplaces, communication skills are more critical than ever. When remote working first entered the scene, managers faced heavy perils trying to manage teams from a distance, many businesses faced huge downtimes owing to the lack of effective communication channels. This crisis led to the understanding of communication as a vital business aspect.
Communication strategies are a must, to draw better results from a remote workforce and to manage the activities of hybrid workplaces.
Help improve customer satisfaction and retention
Though this comes under external communication and occupies significantly less area in the communication pie of businesses, it often has a major effect on the way a business is perceived in the market. The brand image of a business is a direct consequence of a customer’s perception of the business.
So, to effectively maintain positive, trustful relationships with the consumer base, it is important to have support centers that are fast, vigilant, and diligent. A satisfied customer becomes an advocate of the brand, and this appends huge prospects to the business.
Build a better company culture
A workplace with good communication practices fosters an environment that is pleasing to thrive in, and competitive enough to excel in. An organization that adopts this culture experiences better internal development and also cultivates healthy relationships with its peers, rivals, and consumers in the corporate scene.
So, if you’re a business struggling with internal issues and external downtimes, and there’s scope for improvement in your company’s communication systems, here are some strategies for fostering better communication practices.
- Connect your employees with social Intranet software
- Develop internal blogs, podcasts, and content to keep employees informed about new information and developments.
- Inculcate the use of community tools for group messaging and chat. This will also significantly reduce email clutter and overload.
- Train your workforce to communicate properly in alignment with business goals.
- Plan campaigns to establish communication goals and reward top contributors to promote healthy competition.
As a business, invest in communication strategies as generously as you would in other branches of your organization; because without effective communication to hold them together, even the greatest plans fall apart.