One of the core competencies for virtually any job is communication skill. Lack of communication impedes individual employees' achievements as well as overall business success. Enhancing communication skills in the workplace requires classroom training, everyday use of skills learned and examples set by management and leadership. Demonstrating better communication skills is the first responsibility an employer has -- job duties, tasks and functions all begin with clearly communicating company expectations to employees.
Provide training for employees, supervisors and managers on the benefits of communication skills and how to use their communication abilities. The benefits of communication skills include greater awareness of company policies, better understanding of job duties and improved working relationships with peers and managers. Training on communication skills should be conducted in group settings and, ideally, with groups of employees who would not normally interact with one another. Interacting with the same group of employees limits exposure to varied communication styles. This can lead to dysfunction within work groups when communication barriers continually block out interaction with certain employees.
Conduct regular all-staff and department meetings. Enhancing communication skills begins with top-down commitment to open communication. In companies that promote open communication among employees, their first course of action is to engage in the same level of open communication they expect from employees. Business communication is more than letters, emails and memoranda. Scheduling frequent meetings to discuss organizational change, new processes and policies, and introduce new employees to the company are effective ways to build lines of communication throughout the workplace.
Illustrate the importance of different communication styles and techniques. Workplace diversity is a foundation for a variety of work styles and communication styles. Failing to address the diversity in communication styles leaves barriers in place -- barriers that inhibit productivity, access to diverse markets and tension among employees. Communication techniques include written and verbal communication, and within each of those there exist specific techniques such as presenting multimedia information and facilitating group discussion.
Revise your organization's performance management appraisals so they include a separate assessment on communication and interpersonal skills. In the alternative, add a communication skills component to existing areas where employee performance is rated, such as team building. Poor communication skills create performance obstacles. Therefore, it's necessary to hold employees accountable for demonstrating communication skills in performing their job functions. Require supervisors to rate employees' communication skills in connection with team-building exercises or in job responsibilities that require teamwork.
- HR Daily Advisor: Practical Tips to Improve Workplace Communication; Jay Schleifer; September 2007
- "Inc." magazine: A Crash Course in Communication; Jamie Walters, et. al.; August 2000
- "San Antonio Business Journal": Improving Communication Skills Can Transform Your Workplace; Paul A. Parks; August 2004
- Denver University, Electronic Capstones, Theses, & Dissertations: Bridging Generations in the Workplace by Improving Inter-Generational Communication Skills; Thitamorn Sesangthong; November 2009
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