Ways to encourage communication in your office
The first and most important aspect of encouraging communication in the workplace is making respect a priority. It is normal and usually okay for coworkers to joke around with each other, but it is vital that everyone understands the difference between respectful playfulness and bullying. Post your company’s policies regarding employee conduct in a public place, like the break room, to make sure everyone has access to the information.
Establish an open-door policy
Call a meeting in your office and announce that you are instituting an open door policy. An open door policy lets your colleagues know you are always available to talk if they need to and encourages them to bring new ideas to you. Another method of promoting open communication is to pair your co-workers up with communication partners. This gives employees a specific individual on their team or in their department to turn to with their immediate needs. It also demonstrates that the organization values interoffice communication. Regularly audit this system to see if it is effective in your specific business.
Don’t react, respond
Think about the last time you communicated with someone in business. Were they actively listening or were they simply reacting as they thought they should? Most people can tell when someone is listening based on their responses. Active listeners wait and take in what the person is saying before reacting and formulating a reply. Responding instead of reacting can also defuse tension in the workplace. Instead of allowing emotion to determine your reply, you respond with carefully thought out words and points.
Designate office hours
Not everyone is comfortable speaking, but that does not mean these individuals do not have emotions or opinions. They also have the right to express their thoughts about projects or policies. However, they may not want to do so in a meeting or other group settings. Managers can make sure everyone has a chance to communicate by implementing office hours in their workday. It is a segment where individual employees can schedule a time to stop by and express their thoughts and concerns one-on-one.
Host trust-building and communication training
Training is always beneficial to workplaces, especially when it involves improving communication skills. Whether you choose to conduct online learning sessions or just have a few lunch-and-learn meetings, make sure your employees are actively engaged. If they seem uncomfortable with the gatherings, consider organizing some trust-building exercises. If your coworkers trust each other, they are more likely to feel at ease communicating. Company retreats or social gatherings are excellent ways to promote trust and communication.
Few businesses can operate without communication. Thus, the argument could be made that workplaces with poor communication will suffer. Managers and company leaders should dedicate time to developing strong communicators and fostering an environment where it is encouraged. This can be achieved through following the tips above, but you can take an even more progressive approach by actively engaging employees in training.
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