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6 ways to create better communication in the workplace

Good communication is critical for teams to be cohesive and maintain strong working relationships at all levels of an organization. Businesses that invest time and energy into developing clear lines of communication will build trust and increase productivity, output, and morale. Poor communication in the workplace will inevitably lead to an unmotivated workforce. They may begin to question their own confidence in their abilities and in the organization.

In our everyday lives, communication helps us build relationships by sharing our experiences and needs and helps us connect to others. It's the essence of life, enabling us to express feelings and share information and thoughts.

Good communication in the workplace ensures everyone has the information they need to perform well, builds a positive work environment, and promotes efficiency. Effective communication should accurately convey information while maintaining or improving team relationships. It makes for better team collaboration and cooperation and ultimately helps drive better outcomes for individuals, teams, and organizations.

Effective communication at work has significant organizational benefits, including:

  • Improving team cohesiveness
  • Driving growth
  • Encouraging innovation
  • Improving productivity
  • Enhancing efficiency
  • Mitigating conflict
  • Improved employee engagement
  • Resolving problems

Here are Unit4’s top 6 tips to improve communication in the workplace:

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1. Define goals and expectations

Always make sure that clear goals and expectations are set with team members. If people don’t understand the end goal or what’s expected of them, a communication gap needs to be filled. When talking about projects or assigning tasks, if clear and achievable goals are set that outline exactly what is required, then positive outcomes are more attainable.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Speaking simply and politely when communicating at work will ensure messages come across as plain and unambiguous, leaving no one confused about what is required. Defining goals and expectations will ensure that all team members are on the same page, fostering an engaged and empowered workforce.

2. Listen and be empathetic

When communicating with others at work, make sure you give your full focus and undivided attention to the person or team you are speaking with. Minimize distractions, such as phones, and maintain eye contact. Make the effort to really listen to what your colleagues are saying. This is fundamental to business communication. Listening demonstrates respect and allows a two-way dialogue that may bring issues to light that you were not aware of and that need your attention.

Ask clarifying questions. Asking questions is not a sign of incompetence; far from it, asking questions shows you’re listening attentively and confirms that you’re keen to understand.

There is more to communication than just words, though. Body language and non-verbal cues play a significant role in how effective communication is perceived. When communicating, pay attention to things such as your stance, facial expression, and movements.

3. Use technology

Technology has changed modern organizations in many ways, one of which, and one of the most important, is the way people communicate. More and more companies are adopting online communication tools to join teams and enable them access to a central hub of messages and files.

Technology facilitates communication across distances and utilizes new digital solutions in the workplace. The opportunities provided by technology are endless, and companies have responded to millennials’ expertise and comfort with technology - even email seems to have become outdated with the rise of instant messaging and video conferencing.

Everyone at work now has a smartphone and uses chat apps, and industry-specific social networking sites, which has meant communication in the workplace has become fast, collaborative, more deliberate, and unified.

4. Be clear, explain, and follow up

When delegating tasks, always explain why you are asking someone to do something. To make demands without explaining why or how it fits into the overall picture is guaranteed to frustrate people. Explaining why a task is important means everyone feels valued and will encourage more efficient work.

It is unlikely that everyone will remember every detail said in a meeting or a phone call, so be sure to follow up with them. Putting the main points and actions required in a quick email afterward ensures important information stays top of mind and gives people something to refer back to, ultimately improving workplace efficiency.

5. Keep criticism constructive

Feedback is critical in the workplace as it helps people to understand whether their work is meeting expectations. But, when done wrong, feedback can come across as a personal attack. Occasionally criticism is needed, but - praise in public and criticize in private. This is a good rule of thumb to stick to and a powerful method of communication. It’s important that everyone recognizes a job well done. But it’s not important for the rest of the team to know when someone has missed the mark. It’s more respectful and professional to give any individual criticism in private.

Constructive feedback is most effectively delivered face to face, and where that can’t be done, through a video call to make it as personal as possible. Ensuring that all feedback is constructive will help employees understand which areas they are doing well in and how to improve in others.

6. Have regular 1-2-1s, townhalls, and cross-functional check-ins

One way to improve communications is to schedule regular 1-2-1 meetings. Yes, they can be time-consuming, but avoiding them is a mistake. This time with team members is more than worthwhile because it creates open communication pathways and transparency. It’s an opportunity to improve employee engagement and to get to know colleagues on a personal level.

There is more to communication than effectively distributing information and delegating tasks. Getting to know your teams and co-workers on a personal level can help to develop genuine friendships, ultimately resulting in more honest communication and a more supportive and happy work environment. With strengthened relationships and communication comes higher employee satisfaction and higher performance.

Holding town hall meetings that the entire company attends, including senior management, allows employees to interact with people they don’t often get to work with. And it’s an excellent opportunity for leaders to share critical outcomes and company-wide updates and to celebrate achievements. Similarly, cross-functional or cross-team check-ins bring together groups of people who don’t typically work together to update one another to get everyone on the same page. This fosters effective workplace communication and brings teams closer together.

A final word…

Effective workplace communication is essential to the successful functioning of any organization, and it’s important to be self-aware and mindful of how you choose to communicate. A good communicator is thoughtful and speaks with intent. Often, we can tell when a message is well received and when it isn’t. In those instances, pay attention to other people’s reactions and non-verbal communication cues.

How can Unit4 help your organization?

Unit4’s next-generation, smart, cloud-based solutions for nonprofit organizations focus on People Experience to help free your teams to do more of what matters: making a positive impact in the world. Our purpose-built solutions transform work, so your people gain the time and flexibility to focus on achieving your mission.

To see what our tools can do for you, click here to book a demo and see how our ERP, FP&A, and HCM solutions can support your organization.


How can you build employee communication skills?

Communications training should be designed to equip your team of employees with best practice techniques to build better working relationships, better understand behavior traits and get your message across with clarity. You can use training days, workshops, and regular 1-2-1 meetings, along with immediate feedback to achieve this. 

What roles require good communication skills?

Good management communication is essential for the overall success of a team. While all team members need to be able to communicate well, if managers are poor communicators, employees can feel undervalued in their roles. 

Management must understand that the best way to grow and develop an organization is by investing in staff members; therefore, they will need to excel in the areas of public speaking, communications, relationship-building, strategic planning, delegation, budget allocation, and problem-solving – all of which require excellent communication skills.

What are the main characteristics of good communicators?

Here are the main traits that make people good communicators:

  • Good listeners
  • Empathetic
  • Confident
  • Concise
  • Friendly
  • Observant
  • Attentive
  • Appreciative
  • Polite

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