What Research Says About Improving Organizational Communication

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Organizational communication isn’t just about how you and your team members speak to one another. It also requires an understanding of your organization’s purpose and goals.

Practical and emotionally intelligent handling of communication is another requirement. When managers offer insight into the bigger mission at hand, team members gain clarity and feel appreciated. This encourages them to work at full capacity.

In this post I’ll present some research-based tips to follow to improve communication and engagement in your team. While these tips don’t take a day to implement, their impact lasts forever.

Inspire team members with a “why”

Onboarding employees should entail practical training and company logistics. It should also make new employees understand – and feel a part of – the overarching values and beliefs of the company.

Communicating the purpose, or the why, of your organization goes a long way in fostering team collaboration that transcends the ordinary. When people understand why your organization exists, they’re more motivated to complete their tasks.

As Simon Sinek explains, this is how strong leaders inspire action and align a team behind a common purpose. According to a Deloitte study on millennials in the workforce, this sense of purpose is central to making employees feel part of an inspiring workplace.

Simon Sinek’s TED talk on the golden circle and your organization’s why

As well as helping employees understand the big Why, you need to help them understand the Why of their individual work. When they can see how their daily efforts contribute to the team’s target, they’re more productive and inspired.

Be transparent about company plans and individual responsibilities

Clear communication and a high level of visibility are key to building a strong team. But sharing visions and goals isn’t enough. You need to keep people in the loop on how you’re doing as an organization.

You can do this through fostering transparency and an open dialogue. At Hubstaff we take transparency a step further than most companies and reveal our numbers using Baremetrics.

While you don’t have to do this, you should have some system in place that communicates the company’s direction and people’s place in it. This can be accomplished with a monthly “town hall” meeting where the founders, CEO, and managers provide updates.

When team members are updated and involved in your company’s progress and future plans, they get a sense of control.

When people feel a sense of control, they’re 53% more likely to be productive and 86% more likely to enjoy a sense of well-being” — Mars Drinks

By inspiring people to see how their personal duties fit in the goals of the organization, you can get them motivated to do their best. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, the best approach is to provide people with clear definitions of their role and the task at hand.

Individual performance improves when people can get into the flow state. But this is possible only if they know the importance of their work. When they do, they can develop a sense of ownership towards their daily tasks.

Provide communication channels and plan for feedback time

You can foster an open and honest atmosphere in your team by employing work tools that enable effective communication. Make sure to create clear guidelines about the use and purpose of each of them.

At Hubstaff we’ve decided that company updates and official news should go out through email and that day-to-day conversations should be discussed through work chat tools (in our case, Slack). We use our project management tools (Trello and others) to communicate information relevant to specific tasks.

In addition to the right tools, we set aside time for speaking with team members on a regular basis. People aren’t machines. They need a positive loop of feedback to stay engaged with their tasks, as another study by Harvard Business Review notes.

Bar chart by HBR that shows how much praise boosts employee morale

The effect of praise on employee morale (source)

Regular catch-ups and one-on-one meetings promote transparency. They also allow team members to show and receive appreciation for each other’s role in the team.

According to an infographic by OfficeVibe, 65% of employees say they would like to receive more feedback. Another 69% state they would do more at work if they felt appreciated.

It’s best to address important and sensitive matters in private meetings. Recognition of successes, celebrations, and project discussions can take place in a group environment.

How do you improve communication in your team?

Improving the organizational communication in your company starts with embracing transparency, openness, and clarity. This will boost team members’ trust, personal responsibility, and enthusiasm for your shared goals.

What do you do to improve organizational communication on your team? How do you keep everybody on the same page? Go ahead and share with everyone in the comments below.