More than an inconvenience, ineffective communication directly impacts an organization’s bottom line. In their 2023 State of Business Communication Report, Grammarly and the Harris Poll reported that ineffective communication in U.S. businesses amounts to a combined loss of $1.2 trillion annually. Poor communication decreases productivity, reduces employee engagement, and frequently leads to missed deadlines and lost business opportunities. The importance of communication is truly paramount.
Another finding in this report was that ineffective communication significantly reduces the quality of collaboration and lowers productivity in the hybrid business environment. For example:
- 82% of business leaders and 59% of employees reported being concerned about ineffective communication in their remote and hybrid environments.
- 75% of business leaders surveyed said they spend too much time and energy resolving miscommunications.
- 38% of business leaders reported that ineffective communication increases the cost of doing business.
Yet, when communication is clear, timely, and directed to the correct parties, it reduces misunderstandings, clarifies priorities, and increases employee engagement. In other words, effective communication drives real business value.
In a recent survey Tercon conducted with its clients, four factors emerged as contributing to the recent decline in the quality of workplace communication:
- A stressful work environment caused by high work demands, tight deadlines, and uncertainty about the future of the business
- Unclear job roles, responsibilities, and boundaries
- Lack of requested information and support from managers and/or colleagues when attempting to solve problems
- A work culture with interpersonal dynamics and unresolved conflict
Leadership’s Role In Communication
One of Leadership’s key roles in any organization is to model and champion, not only the importance of communication, but the importance of effective communication in the workplace. Leaders who are effective communicators demonstrate these five behaviors:
- They are visible, approachable, and willing to listen to employee concerns.
- They send consistent messages intended to build trust and increase employee commitment and engagement.
- They know when to stop talking and start listening.
- They understand the importance of expressing empathy when the situation calls for it.
- They ask for feedback from employees periodically about how things are going and how communication could be improved.
Organizational leaders have a responsibility to monitor the quality of communication across their organizations. They must ensure that communication channels between managers and team members remain open and support the achievement of desired business goals. They use Town Halls to share news, celebrate successes, request input, and strengthen organizational alignment.
Many organizations have learned the value of periodically auditing the quality of their company’s internal and external communications processes. The Communication Quality Audit™ is a practical tool for identifying an organization or team’s communication strengths, weaknesses, and “blind spots.” Information about communication quality can be collected from company leaders and team members through surveys, focus groups, and interviews. The goal is to learn whether the right information is getting to the right people at the right time, to accomplish key business goals – and if not, why not? Contact us at www.terconpartners.com for information about how you can use a simple audit process to identify your organization’s communication strengths and eliminate communication blind spots.