WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION AND CHANGE

Prosperous business and organizations are well aware of the importance of effective workplace communication. In fact, ‘team communication’ is vital for success, whether we are talking about objectives, safety, operations or leadership. Even so, for communication to be effective it must be genuine, regular, clear and consistent. Not forgetting, communication is a ‘two-way street’ where both sides offer an equal amount of effort to accomplish something.

Recently I supported a multinational organization to implement internally a change management programme. This particular work experience urged me to write this blog on workplace communication. In an effort to improve group safety performance, initially the company decided to roll out an interrelated training programme. Evidently, the learning could bring an important shift on employee thinking in regard to safety. Importantly, it would impel staff to receive smoothly a new business safety culture. Over the years, the organization experienced many challenges and trials. In turn, these episodes stretched and tested the company’s production capabilities, the group’s corporate identity as well as its position in the markets. As result, these circumstances brought significant financial loses, tribulation and a damaged reputation.  After careful analysis, the senior executives realized that they must fix ‘safety’ immediately.

Communication was undermined significantly

It really intrigued me that in their effort to bring about a major cultural change the company undermined significantly communication. Quality communication characterises safety culture therefore, by undermining it the executives put at risk the change management plan. Workplace communication means there is continuous exchange of information, data and ideas. In this sense, I believe that the company should have communicated their strategy before execution. In my opinion, when a change programme starts without advanced notice, the workforce becomes tensed. More so, in such circumstances employees start ‘guessing’ about what is going on.

What also became apparent to me was that over the years, had the company fixed workplace communications they would have simultaneously resolved numerous safety related problems. This is because effective communication mitigates conflict. For instance, a number of the staff’s resentments and irritations that affected group performance required a better handling of relations. Even so, I quickly understood, weak internal communication was more of a serious issue than safety itself.   

Communicating is not just about talking and conversation

I read on a relevant article that by having efficient workplace communication strengthens employee engagement. My extensive professional experience verifies this principle. I would also add that engaged employees understand the company objectives, they are more cooperative and feel more valued. It is also important for everyone to understand that communicating is not just about talking and conversation. Sending out an email, a text message or ‘telling’ someone is not enough. For instance, we know that effective leadership involves transparency, compassion, sharing knowledge and enthusiasm. Likewise, research shows that all successful commerce and flourishing businesses are characterised by healthy organizational communication.    

To conclude, I believe that organizations should concentrate on how to produce a culture in which effective communication is a top priority. For me, this approach together with having the right [proficient] people in place can bring satisfaction, productivity, better performance and direction. As I said earlier, by resolving workplace communication automatically we can generate solutions for several operational problems. Those who fail to generate the right conditions for communication inevitably they will experience commercial and business turmoil.

Author: Nikolas Koukos

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