The pandemic changed the way we work. Even before the pandemic, though, internal communication techniques and efforts were a key signifier of a company’s success.
2020’s accelerated digital shift was a major disruptor to almost every industry. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It allowed us to rethink how we do things.
As we enter a new era of work, how we understand one another in the workplace will fundamentally change. Successful companies will adapt to new ways of communicating. Leaders must be willing to experiment with communication styles in the workplace.
Strong communication is key for business. But how can you achieve effective workplace communication? And what aspects of your company is it actually going to affect?
What is workplace communication?
Workplace communication is how employees exchange information and ideas within an organization. It can be two-way communication, virtual collaborations, face-to-face communication, or video conferencing.
Workplace communication is
Chats on coffee breaks
Project management tools
Any other way your employees communicate.
Good communication in the workplace is crucial for achieving organizational objectives, creating a welcoming company culture, and generally getting the job done. Whether your team works in person or virtually, effective workplace communication is the difference between a productive, loyal staff and high turnover rates that lose you time and money.
Why is effective workplace communication important?
For starters, communication in the workplace is important right now because our world has never worked quite like this before. The mass shift to distributed digital teams requires us to be better communicators.
Unlike ever before, we need effective communication in the workplace just to do our jobs daily. Not to mention onboarding new employees virtually, achieving goals as a dispersed team, and creating a company culture virtually.
Let’s look at the numbers. Over 90% of employees surveyed by Loom have had digital messages misunderstood and/or misinterpreted at work. As found in a Dynamic Signal study, 80% of U.S. employees confessed to feeling stressed because of incompetent employee communication.
Poor communication has a ripple effect that goes beyond your team's productivity. According to Loom’s Modern Work Communication Report, 20% of survey participants say miscommunication and/or misinterpretation caused them to get reprimanded, demoted, or even fired.
Aside from productivity, turnover rates, and employee stress, ineffective communication techniques cost your company money. It’s estimated that U.S. businesses lose at least $128 billion yearly due to employees wasting time trying to communicate effectively. So, let’s find out how you can implement effective communication strategies.
Examples of effective workplace communication
Effective business communication shows up in myriad ways. It saves time, improves employee and leader engagement, and solves problems more easily. But how is effective communication done?
Teams are switching to modern tools, time-saving techniques, and channels with maximum personality. Using body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice in business communications can reduce misinterpretations and revolutionize business team’s communication.
Top companies across the U.S. describe how good communication helps people in the workplace. Here’s how five top companies save their employees time and communicate effectively – asynchronously.
TED’s 18 Minute Meetings
TED is known for inspiring audiences and holding their attention. How? They limit their signature “talks” to just 18 minutes. That’s about the average attention span of an audience.
Internally, they employ the same strategies. TED’s meetings are 18 minutes or less. Short meetings give employees more time to focus on deep work instead of meetings.
Want to make more deep work happen for your team too? It’s possible! Try using Loom to create asynchronous video messages. Stay in touch without scheduling a meeting.
3M’s 15% Rule
3M’s employees are required to spend 15% or more of their day seeking innovation. 3M employees innovate through teamwork with colleagues. Management knows that innovation can only happen when employees have time for it.
To make this policy happen, 3M’s team must be conscientious of both their time and how they communicate. How can you be like them? Take a moment to evaluate where your employees are inefficiently communicating and give them tools to improve.
Amazon’s Narrative Memos
Amazon banned slide deck presentations, large group meetings, and even bullet pointed memos. Instead, they use narrative-style memos that can be up to six pages long. Outside of these long memos, employees share bite-sized 150-character messages wherever possible.
Amazon knows that people pay better attention to storytelling than they do to boring, bullet-pointed, formalized memos. Because 28% of office workers report digging through old messages to find the necessary information. Memos can save time while engaging both employees and leaders.
Netflix’s Living Memos
Netflix is taking a radical approach to internal communication: living memos. Just like Amazon, Netflix employs narrative memos in its upper-level internal communications. Sometimes these memos are up to 30 pages.
Regular communication between the board and senior management happens in a short online memo. Directors can ask their questions and comment inside the memo document. Then, executives can amend the memo and answer any questions.
Beyond that, they have condensed, categorized meetings for staff, executive staff, and quarterly business reviews to avoid wasting employees’ time. Consider how you can condense your communications, make them more compelling, and avoid unnecessary meetings with asynchronous video communication.
Microsoft’s Ralph the Chicken
One team at Microsoft has become notorious for passing around a rubber chicken. Whoever has the floor, the speaker of the moment, holds the chicken – dubbed Ralph. If you’re not holding the chicken, you’re actively listening. How can you make sure each person on your team gets uninterrupted air time?
How to improve workplace communication
Now that you’ve seen how a few top companies are revolutionizing internal workplace communications, it’s your turn. It’s time to reevaluate your workplace's strategies. Here are three ways to improve your workplace’s communication across the board.
Define your strategy
Before improving your workplace communication, it’s important to outline a specific internal communication strategy. Consider how you want your communication to change and why. Then, decide which tools, methods, and channels will best facilitate those strategies.
Are you looking to save your employees time? Implement strategies to reduce the time they spend in meetings or limit the length of the communications they can send. Want more precise and personalized messages that employees will pay attention to instead of an email? Try out memos or asynchronous video messages.
Lead the way
First, let your employees know how your internal communications will change and why in a detailed, clear explanation. Then, get your leaders to engage with the strategies you’ve laid out. Company leaders make it happen when they model the behavior you want your employees to have.
Use specific channels intentionally
Be clear about how your employees should be communicating. Which channels are for informal messages and which are for formal communications? Maybe you want them to send memos for formal information, but you want them to rely on a messenger like Teams or Slack for informal messages.
Across all of these channels, define what format you want these messages to take. You get to decide! Just make sure your guide is clear for your employees. Sometimes voice memos or short videos can be quicker and easier than written messages. Maybe long-form narrative memos or living documents could be better for some formal settings.
Helpful tips and tools to facilitate effective workplace communication
The best way to communicate effectively is using a tool that puts your full personality, tone of voice, and meaning on display – giving you a greater chance to be understood.
You and your team can use Loom to send quick video messages to your team, your boss, or external agencies faster than you could type out a message. Our Chrome Screen Recorder is the perfect companion to enable you to record anything with the click of a button.
Top companies have shown us that narrative storytelling, uninterrupted airtime, and good records are important aspects of engaged workplace communication. Video messages are one of the best ways to achieve that.
What does good workplace communication look like?
Effective workplace communications can manifest in positive ways within a company. From happy employees to increased productivity – all the good stuff. Let’s look at some of the ways your team might improve when you enhance how your team connects.
Better engagement is crucial for a strong, sustainable company. Engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave an organization than disengaged workers. That means less turnover and less money to spend on hiring someone new.
Great workplace communication can help your employees feel better both on the job and off. 62% of office workers say that miscommunication and/or misinterpretation of digital messages at work affects their mental health. You can improve this by giving them a way to feel understood.
Better communication tools and strategies can lead to better productivity. One study found that productivity rose by 25% when employees used online tools to collaborate. The biggest factor? Reduced context switching. But more than that you’ll see time saved and a better understanding of each other. That creates more time for the deep work that employees need to make results happen.
When your team is at the top of their game, your product is too. From onboarding emails to user experience, reducing churn starts with how your employees interact with your customers. Every way your customers interact with your product and company is a form of communication. When your team has mastered internal communications, it only makes sense that they’ll be better communicators with your customers too.
There’s nothing more valuable than loyalty. Loyalty contributes to the bottom line and fosters a more productive work environment. Excellent communication and a sense of belonging among employees reduces turnover rates by up to 50%. Not having to hire and onboard new employees frequently saves time and money while allowing your team to build a welcoming company culture.
87% of office workers can identify ways that remote work and using digital comms tools have improved their job. Notably, they love having the flexibility to plan out their days, they feel more comfortable participating in conversations through virtual tools, and they’re able to build relationships with coworkers they might not have met in person!
Fewer workplace conflicts
According to McKinsey, building community, cohesion, and a sense of belonging at work is even more important than the physical work environment. Belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance and a 50% reduction in turnover risk. When people feel like they belong, there are less conflicts and less turnover. It’s about community.
Using the right digital communications tools empowers employees to thrive and show their personality more than in traditional office settings. Over 58% of surveyed office workers say that showcasing their personality at work helps them stay engaged and motivated.
We know it can be hard to communicate at work. There’s a reason 47% of office workers overthink what they write to their coworkers. That’s why so many of us waste time writing, rewriting, editing, and otherwise attempting to craft communication that prevents misunderstandings.
But this wasted time and hand-wringing can be avoided. With the right tools, strategies, and a little bit of creativity, your company can find a way to communicate effectively. Improving workplace communication is building a path to the company culture you desire.
From time, stress, and turnover saved, your company is sure to see a return on investment when you put effort into bettering your communications.