To be an effective business leader, you must be able to communicate effectively and strategically.
Poor communication impacts the bottom line. A study of 400 companies exceeding 100,000 employees calculated the cost of poor communication as an average of $62.4 million per year, per company. Companies with less than 100 employees report a lost opportunity cost of $420,000 annually.
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Strategic communication sets the tone and vision for your organization. It sets the agenda for what needs to be done and how to do it. And, it impacts companies in a variety of ways.
The Impact of Bad Business Communication
A lack of strategic communication hurts businesses in several ways, including motivation, morale, productivity, mistakes, and employee retention.
Motivation and Morale
When employees don’t feel connected to the company or see the value of their role, it’s easy for morale to take a hit. There can be a decided lack of motivation if employees don’t understand the impact they make.
When employees aren’t actively engaged, work can suffer. Employers need to connect the dots for employees so they understand clearly how the work they do helps achieve company goals.
When communication breaks down, so does productivity. Whether it’s communication from manager to employee, employee to manager, or employee to employee, if there isn’t active communication within an organization, it may result in poor productivity and an increase in errors.
When employees don’t understand the mission and what is expected of them, it leads to increased mistakes in the workplace. Errors hurt productivity. In many cases, mistakes hurt the delivery of customer service.
Poor workplace communication leads to increased turnover. When business leaders don’t communicate effectively with team members, employees tend to look elsewhere for employment.
6 Tips for Improving Communication in the Workplace
Poor communication is more common than you might think in business. 95% of employees say they do not fully understand company goals or what they need to do to help achieve them.
Changing that starts by taking proactive steps to manage your communication. Here are six things you can do to help improve your internal communications.
- Assess your current internal communication plan
If you don’t have a plan, that’s a sign you might need to improve your communication. Evaluate the messaging you’re using and how you are communicating your message.
- Use the right communication channels
In large companies, it may be difficult to communicate with every employee in a face-to-face setting. Use a mix of company-wide video meetings and other communication platforms to carry the message. Use emails, short videos, infographics, bulletin boards, small group meetings, and other venues to reach every employee.
- Make sure everyone knows the bigger picture
People like to meet goals but they can’t do it if they don’t know what the goals are. Remember to take the strategic mission beyond the board room or executive leadership. Every employee in the organization should know your company’s strategic goals and how to achieve them.
- Simplify the message
If you’re listing off 20 things, people likely won’t remember most of them. Break down communications to 1-2 things at a time. Keep your messaging short and consistent.
- Make your communication available
Even in small businesses, it may be impossible to get everybody together at one time to discuss issues. Provide a way for those that can’t attend your meetings to access the information in a centralized, available way.
- Encourage two-way communication
Don’t forget that communication goes both ways. After all, it’s not what employers say but what employees hear that’s important. Encourage feedback and two-way communication to ensure the message is coming across. Soliciting questions and maintaining an open dialogue help keep employees engaged.
When everyone knows what they are supposed to do, understands their roles, and sees how their job aligns with company goals, companies prosper.
Highly-aligned companies grow revenue 58 percent quicker than their peers and report profits 72 percent higher. These companies retain more customers, achieve higher customer satisfaction ratings, and have consistently more engaged employees.
Companies with documented and highly effective communication strategies also tend to see higher returns for shareholders and stakeholders by as much as 47%.
It all starts with effective communication.
Improving your Strategic Communication Skills
Executives that are looking to improve their strategic communication skills may want to look into taking this online strategic communication course.
This course covers:
- Communication goals and audience
- Persuasion and influence
- Framing and agenda-setting
- Media strategies
- Reputation and crisis management
- Data-driven insights for communication
- Strategic visual communication
- Compiling a strategic communication plan
Implementing an effective strategic communication plan in your organization can make a significant difference in business outcomes. The more employees understand the mission and connect their job with company goals, the more engaged they will be.