Tips for Encouraging Open Workplace Communication

Communication tools

Using communication tools in the workplace such as enterprise communication software is in the best interests of your organization. Communication tools come with all the features managers and employees need to share and work on ideas. However, in addition to the right communication tool, you also need the right policies and procedures in place. You need a culture that promotes open and honest communication. This is where many organizations fall short. Even when you are using one of the best enterprise communication software, your policies and procedures can create a communication gap. 

Your employees may be reluctant to share their opinions and ideas. Due to the fear of retribution, employees may not express disagreement with the leadership. This happens when dissenting opinions are discouraged. When something is wrong and employees don’t raise their concerns, this is not good for the business. They may have a better way to suggest but they don’t suggest. This happens because of the following reasons: 

  • Leadership or managers never ask employees to share their opinions and ideas. 
  • Employees provide input but managers don’t act or don’t even listen to the ideas of employees.      
  • Managers or leaders don’t acknowledge what employees say.
  • The leadership condescendingly discounts the ideas of employees.  

However, there is always room for improvement. When you are using one of the best communication tools, follow these tips to encourage open workplace communication. 

Acknowledge the Importance of your Employees’ Views        

First of all, the leadership needs to understand that when an employee has a different viewpoint, it can be better than your viewpoint. Accept this fact. If you don’t, there is no way you can encourage open communication in your workplace. Your employees speak to your customers. They have a better understanding of the current demands and future needs of your customers. When you acknowledge that your employees may know more than you, this can encourage innovation. 

Ask For Input 

From inquiring about your products or services to after-sale services, your customers are in touch with your employees. So, your employees know why some customers end up not buying your product. Customers share their issues with your employees. This is the reason why it is important to listen to what your employees have to say. Input from your employees can help in improving your product or services. It is the leadership’s responsibility to make sure that managers ask employees for feedback. 

Listen Reflectively

The leadership and managers need to show that they are listening to their employees. When an employee is speaking to a manager, the manager should listen, pause and then share his views on the employee’s opinion. As a manager, if you interrupt before the employee even finishes, you are not helping. Show that you have paid attention. Validate their opinion with the right choice of words and body language.   

Engage on a Personal Level

Even when you don’t know the name of the employee you meet in the corridor, always greet them. Simply say “It’s a good sunny day” or “good morning”. This makes your employee feel more confident. They will be more open. You know that each employee has a role to play. However, you should try to learn more than that to engage on a personal level. You can ask about kids or parents or how they spend their weekends.   

Always be Respectful

Pay attention when employees share their suggestions or problems. Don’t keep on running your fingers on your keyboard. Look into your employee’s eyes and listen. Respectfully ask a question if you have any.   

Acknowledge Input 

Not every idea can be realistic. Employees understand this very well. You may not be able to act on that idea. Still, you should acknowledge your employees’ input.

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