Communication is the heartbeat of an organization. A communication which is ineffective or even absent within an organization can cause a communication gap at the workplace.
By definition, a communication gap at workplace is the misinterpretation of information or the complete lack of communication within the company. Such a phenomenon can occur between employers and employees or between employees of different ranks. Let’s see which could be the reasons that cause communication gap between employees, and which – between employers and employees, and how the management can address these issues.
Reasons for communication gap at workplace between employees
The communication gap between employees may eventually sabotage the growth of a company, so such a company issue should be addressed very carefully and seriously. The causes of employees not being able to communicate qualitatively or not communicate at all might be:
Whether a certain employee is afraid to speak with an employee of a higher rank, has concerns for the reactions they’ll receive, is worried that will be accused of something, or even has personal issues of expressing their opinions, they will most likely prefer to keep the information to themselves. Also, when experiencing fear employees can’t concentrate and process what they are being told.
Employees at work usually interact with each other during the day but are they confident enough to discuss company-related topics? Often, employees might be unsure if company information should be shared with their colleagues or they simply believe that such information is not within their colleagues’ concerns. In reality, employees would love to be informed about projects and news related to their own company. Knowing such information would boost their motivation and engagement.
Wrong attitude and body language
Besides speech, the tone of voice, the facial expressions and the body language also participate in the communication between individuals. All these factors can impact the way a piece of information is perceived. A single sentence can mean different things only by the voice tone it’s being said. This may often cause misunderstandings or misinterpretations for the person who listens, therefore creating a communication gap at workplace.
Inappropriate channels or timing
When not talking directly, using channels that some employees are unable to use or not trained to use may cause a communication gap at workplace. Also, sending essential information too late might not be very useful for some employees. All these factors increase the communication gap and slow down the company processes.
What can employers do?
Flawless information and informed employees certainly have a positive impact on the growth of a company. Luckily, there are tested steps that can help the management bridge the communication gap at work between employees.
1. Recognize the causes.
Once you realize there is a communication gap between your staff members, you need to identify the factors that caused this communication gap to emerge. Which employees are responsible for not transmitting the information? What are the reasons they failed? Which are the ineffective channels involved? Explore all possible factors that could lead to the existent communication gap and then move on to resolving.
2. Analyze different solutions
Depending on the scope of the communication gap and the factors that caused it, analyze different approaches that can help resolve the issue. Dig deeper into the problem so you can evaluate the resources necessary for fixing it. Organizing training seminars and consulting professionals in the field could be of great help.
3. Follow up
Making sure the problem no longer exists requires that you continuously follow up with your employees to see how communication goes after the measures you’ve taken. If the problem still exists, readjust your strategy and test out other approaches to address the issue.
Communication gap at workplace between employers and employees
Communication gap at workplace between employees and employers occur even more often than communication gap among employees but the reasons are similar. On the one hand, the fear of the superior figure in the company hierarchy might stop employees from addressing a company issue which needs attention. On the other hand, the employer might feel that sharing company information with his employees is unnecessary or they can misuse this information. Keeping sensitive company information to yourself is wise – it might save unpleasant consequences but keeping company news, projects and campaigns from your workforce would do you more harm than good. Here is what you can do when you identify communication gap between your workforce and yourself.
Encourage employees to speak up
Eliminating fear and mistrust is an important prerequisite for a smooth communication between your employees and you. Assuring employees that their voice will be heard will motivate them to express their opinions, speak up when they identify a problem, share their own ideas for improvements, suggest strategies for increased productivity, and give feedback for company-related matters.
When encouraging your employees to speak up, you need to actively listen and take under consideration their concerns, ideas, and feedback. If you can, establish an open-door policy which will break the barriers between your employees and you. Mind that there might be differences in the way young employees and older employees might want to speak with you. While young employees are okay with using technology, older employees would usually prefer to speak face-to-face.
It’s important to be open to your employees. Being transparent and honest about all that’s happening in the company builds trust and boosts the loyalty of your employees. When sharing information and news, encourage your employees to ask questions and answer them in a calm, friendly manner. Transparency within the company is a key factor to bridge the communication gap at workplace and to make employees feel respected.
To sum up,
Communication gap at workplace is an issue that can be solved once you identify the factors that cause it. If you find it hard to understand what were the reasons for the communication gap, you can always consult a professional in the field who will also help you come up with a strategy to solve the issue. We hope we’ve been helpful with this guide.