Everyone is struggling to make sense of this “new normal”, especially when it comes to running a business. Here are some reasons why your employees may mot be communicating, and how to get ahead of it while you can.
Communication is important to the smooth running of every business. If your employees aren’t talking to each other, it could result in problems not being addressed or mistakes being made as a result of information not getting through to the right people. Ultimately, it’s your job as a business owner to work out why your employees aren’t communicating properly. Below are a few possible reasons.
With the right technology, it’s much easier to communicate information quickly and clearly. This is particularly the case in large workplaces such as construction sites and hotels – instead of having to shout information or walk long distances to find the right person, it could make sense to give everyone a Motorola radio to make communication easier.
When it comes to using multiple forms of technology, you should make sure that employees are using the right form of technology in the right situation. An email is not a good option when it comes to providing urgent information – in these cases, employees should be encouraged to use instant messaging or phone calls. Similarly, a phone call may not be appropriate when communicating large amounts of information – putting such information in text makes it easier to digest in one’s own time and refer back to in the future.
A lack of communication can also develop if employees do not know who they should be passing information to. In a large workplace with multiple departments, it’s important to make sure that employees have a clear idea as to who to report to so that employees aren’t left in the dark.
Sometimes it’s worth having a large meeting just to clarify everyone’s roles. It’s worth also having a document or program that lists all your employees and their contact details so that employees know exactly who to email or transfer a call to.
Fear of negative reaction
One of the biggest reasons for a lack of communication is a fear of a negative reaction. Employees may avoid expressing ideas with superiors if they are constantly shut down. They may also avoid admitting to mistakes or bringing up problems if there is a ‘blame culture’ or tendency to criticise rather than help.
Ultimately, employees should feel that they can express their concerns without a negative reaction. Make sure that all employees feel empowered and that there is a focus on finding solutions to problems rather than reprimanding those responsible. It may be worth talking privately with employees that struggle with accountability or who are eager to criticise. You should also assess the way that you deal with problems – if you tend to be dismissive or overly critical, this behaviour could be rubbing off on all your employees.
Individual employees may find it hard to get along for personal reasons. This may result in them limiting communication with one another or even withholding information in order to make the other employee’s life more difficult.
It’s important that you solve these conflicts. This may involve talking to all parties involved privately via individual meetings and then working out how to create peace. If one employee is not getting along with the rest of the team, you may have to talk to them and then talk to other employees to work out why this is. Unless you confront these conflicts they will only get worse.