A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees cited an average loss of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between the employees.
Miscommunication can be a serious problem if it's overlooked repeatedly. We all feel that miscommunication is obvious or have a casual attitude towards communication gaps and errors.
Yes, to a certain extent, it is obvious and too easy to occur, but in the long run, communication errors can result in some unwanted consequences.
A general observation related to communication errors is that people assume that communication errors can not take place when a small number of people are working or communicating. And it is a myth!
Communication errors can also occur between just two people or among 200 people; it has hardly anything to do with numbers. It is more related to the exchange of information and its interpretation.
Talking about communication errors in companies or among employees, specifically among remote employees, can put the company in danger.
Theoretically, it seems extremely easy to avoid communication errors and follow certain practices, but we all know things don't work that way in practical life.
And that's where the problem starts!
Communication can get complicated in some scenarios, like if the teammates do not meet in person and don't trust each other or are unable to express themselves; things start getting messy, and it will soon give rise to bigger problems.
One side of the story says that hiring remote employees helps the organization to meet the global demands, work faster and get a bigger team easily. On the other hand, when communication error comes into the picture tackling it for remote employees can be painful.
That doesn't mean you have to stop hiring a remote employee. Rather you should start taking up a practical approach & find the solution! To find the solution, the first one needs to address the problem.
Remote and In-house teams can face challenges that give rise to communication problems. So let's quickly list some of the most common reasons for rooting communication issues.
1. Incomplete Information:
"Complete the Report" is one of the highest heard commands in the office, but do you feel this command will form a healthy communication link between employee and employer?
It's a clear no!
Because the communication or order passed is incomplete, it should have sufficient details. Without those details, the other person will start assuming things, and both will not be on the same page. Their consent will be entirely different.
To avoid any clashes, one should start passing clear and complete information. So the better way of putting it can be "Complete the Annual Report by this Friday."
The above-conveyed sentence clearly conveys which report needs to be completed and when. A lot of time, employees assume things as per their understanding or convenience.
This is just an example; there may be more than five orders daily that are communicated without clear information.
Incomplete information gives rise to more than half of our problems, so it must be tackled well. This helps in establishing a smooth communication channel.
Tips to Keep in Mind:
2. One-way communication:
When the flow of communication is just one way, it is tough to understand what the listeners have understood and perceived.
In one way of communication, you are unaware of how they are taking your commands or how they are interpreting the task given by you.
This commonly occurs while conducting a meeting, holding a conference, or giving a presentation. You have no clue whether you have communicated properly or whether they have understood it correctly.
In such cases, the entire communication channel shall get disturbed. You will lose track of what you said, what you meant, what others felt and ultimately, how things are being taken ahead.
This can be dangerous if you say while giving a presentation that the idea of doing the review is good. Some people may take it lightly by assuming the idea is just good and not great, others might take it seriously that the idea is good, and some might not understand the concept of taking review.
So, one needs to be cautious while conducting one-way communication. With every problem, a solution is attached; you can overcome the problems of one-way communication with some tips!
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
3. Preconceived Notions
We often have preconceived notions, assumptions, thoughts, and impressions about certain things, and our entire communication gets influenced by that notion.
It is completely normal to have preconceived notions. Every human has it. It can be for things, persons, actions, words, gestures or anything.
Has it happened that whenever an employee messages you, without even reading the message, you feel he must be asking for leaves or holidays? But when you read the message, he might have asked you something else or randomly messaged you.
We are biased due to our preconceived notions, which widely impact communication. We might think that the boss will always talk rudely or reject the proposal without even proposing or presenting the idea. Yes, we simply assume!
It will not help to communicate independently and clearly. One should avoid catering for notions or assumptions while communicating. Communicate and if you are doing it with a fresh mind, express yourself without predicting how the other person will react or what will be the result. Focus on what you want to express or convey and do it without any biased approach.
This will help to establish an independent communication channel that will be free from any assumptions, predictions, or notions and keep the essence of communication alive.
Things to keep in mind:
We know the communication problem can be solved with a proper solution. The solution should be practical, easily applicable and should be implemented without any hurdles.
The best way to handle the communication error for remote teams is to rely on some applications. There are many applications available in the market, and you can use different applications for different purposes.
If you use apps, the chances of human errors while communicating will reduce to a great extent.
Here's a list of applications & software:
Undiffer: It helps the employees to mention their daily goals, punch in the timings and mention how much time they have taken for each task. This will help the company to communicate about the employee's workload, his timelines and whether he is taking deadlines seriously or not.
Google Hangouts: It can help to take care of internal communication. You can easily communicate with remote employees and know if they are online. Place a video call and conduct meetings. Share the files, images, videos, gifs and vital documents with less effort.
Google Keep: With the help of it, you can make a to-do list or add important points in the notes of each employee. It also has the option of a checklist to strike through the points that are done or not required. You can communicate without any errors.
Review Communication Meetings: Conduct a review meeting from time to time. It will help you to understand if the employee or employer is facing any problem related to communication. Or if they are not comfortable using the existing communication tools or channels. It will help them expose the errors, loopholes, or reasons that are hurdles in the smooth communication channel.
Weekly Communication Review: It can be a casual oral review from each department, whether the entire department is communicating properly or if they are facing any issues.
Monthly Communication Review: You can talk with all the department heads and gather insights about each employee and their communication trait. Also, you can personally talk to department heads about the scope of improvement they expect in the existing communication channel.
Yearly Communication Review: Talk with each employee and understand their reviews about communication, address their difficulties and help solve them. Motivate them to communicate without any fear.
Rely on Written Communication: It's better to communicate in written format. The scope of error and misunderstanding reduces when things are in written format. Also, it becomes easy to understand what a person is trying to communicate and what is conveyed.
Written communication can also overcome the threat of preconceived notions or incomplete information.
In case of any dispute or disagreement, it is easy to refer to the written communication and draw a conclusion.
But, that is not the case with oral communication. Majorly oral communication is considered vague, and it has comparatively more drawbacks.
Communication Training Center: Communication training can be conducted for each employee. Just like other training in the company, it is fair to conduct training for communication.
Here it can be explained how to be confident while communicating, how to initiate conversation, how to present your ideas and the best ways of formal communication.
Also, the joinee can get trained here with the communication pattern and channel of that company, so if they have any queries they can share them.
From the beginning, the employee can understand in detail communication and sharpen their skills to be apt for communication.
We all want to be perfect, and that's why either we overlook the flaws, or we hide them. But is that the correct way to handle the problem?
No, instead, we should accept flaws and try to rectify them. Similarly, if an employee has a problem related to communication or the company is not having an ideal communication channel, don't overlook this problem.
Instead, address this problem and find a solution.
Finding a solution will always help you to grow.
Communication is a strong term, and it needs to be handled wisely. You can win hearts with communication or shatter goals with it.
"Communication is about intentions and timings."
All you need to understand is that communication should be done at the right time, in the right way, at the right place, and with the right person. Missing out on either of these can cause trouble. It can imbalance the essence of communication, and things can get spoiled.
To enjoy the fruits of communication, use it properly and effectively!
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