Improving communication skills in your organization

June 17, 2024

Improving communication skills in your organization

Communication in the workplace fosters a collaborative environment where team members can share ideas, provide feedback, and work towards common goals. It helps in building trust, resolving conflicts, and ensuring that all members are aligned with the organization’s objectives.

In fact, communication is so important it can improve turnover rates at your organization. According to Holmes Report, companies with good communication practices are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover rates.

And that’s not all. Gallup reported that engaged employees are 21% more productive than their disengaged colleagues. McKinsey Company also indicated that productivity increased 20-25% in organizations where employees are highly connected.

While many of you understand the importance of effective communication, implementing it can be the true challenge—but also the turning point for your workplace culture.

So, how do you improve communication skills in your organization? How can you leverage effective communication to solve some of the most prevalent problems you’re currently facing? This article will answer both questions and more.

What are some indicators of poor communication in your organization?

Poor communication can drastically impact corporate culture and employee workflow.

Here are some of the most common indicators we see:

  • Missed deadlines: Important deadlines are missed due to lack of clarity or miscommunication
  • Conflict avoidance: Team members avoid addressing conflicts, leading to unresolved issues
  • Low morale: Employees feel undervalued or ignored, resulting in low engagement and morale
  • Ambiguity: Messages are unclear, leading to confusion about roles, responsibilities, and goals
  • Defensive behavior: Employees feel attacked or criticized, leading to defensive responses and lack of openness

What communication challenges can this cause?

The indicators listed are often a by-product of communication challenges that affect how team members work together, independently, and with external partners.

Some of these challenges include:

  • Absence of trust: Team members do not feel safe to be open and vulnerable, leading to a lack of genuine communication
  • Fear of conflict: Avoiding necessary debates and discussions to maintain artificial harmony
  • Lack of commitment: Without clear communication and buy-in, team members do not fully commit to decisions
  • Avoidance of accountability: Reluctance to hold peers accountable for their performance and behavior
  • Inattention to results: Team members focus on personal or departmental goals rather than the overall team objective

As we can see from this list, ineffective communication can trickle down into many facets of your organization. But what are the root causes of these challenges, and how do they manifest?

Root causes of common communication challenges

There are many root causes that can lead to communication challenges in your organization. These can include:

  • Cultural differences: Team members with diverse backgrounds may be accustomed to different communication styles, and misunderstandings may occur when they are not provided with the necessary support and channels
  • Power dynamics: Organizational hierarchies can make employees fearful of speaking up to superiors or colleagues if these power dynamics do not provide open, transparent, and safe spaces for team members to bring ideas and opinions
  • Personal insecurities: Some team members may have personal insecurities that make it difficult for them to communicate effectively, such as fear of judgement or criticism
  • Lack of leading by example: If leadership is not modelling effective communication behaviours or setting an example for their team, this can quickly lead to communication challenges/disconnect

These root causes can manifest for several reasons:

  • Lack of clear processes, which means there are no established methods of regular communication
  • A high stress environment can exacerbate breakdowns in communication
  • Rapid change, with no notice or preparation, can lead to confusion which, in turn, also leads to communication challenges

Solutions to these communication challenges

Now that we’ve identified some of the root causes of communication challenges, how can you solve them using practical techniques?

Building trust

Engage in trust-building activities, such as personal histories exercises and team effectiveness exercises to develop deeper connections.

Encouraging healthy conflict

Leaders should create an environment where conflicts can be aired constructively without fear of personal attacks.

Ensuring commitment

Leaders should facilitate open discussions and ensure each team member’s opinions are heard and considered.

Fostering accountability

Develop a culture where team members hold each other accountable in a supportive manner.

Behavioural profiling

Use personality tests and behavioural profiling to understand each team member’s personality and working style to foster better interactions.

Softened start-ups

Begin difficult conversations with “I” statements and non-judgmental language to reduce defensiveness.

Regular check-ins

Schedule frequent, informal meetings to discuss progress, challenges, and provide feedback.

Indicators of effective communication

So far, we’ve covered why communication in the workplace is important, indicators of poor communication, and common challenges, root causes, and solutions. But how do you know your new communication practices are successful?

Some indicators of effective communication include:

  • Clarity and transparency: Information is conveyed clearly and without ambiguity
  • Active listening: Team members listen to each other attentively and provide feedback
  • Open and honest dialogue: Employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns
  • Regular updates: Consistent updates about projects and company changes. Employees feel “in the loop”
  • Constructive feedback: Feedback is given in a helpful way aimed at improvement.
  • Empathy and respect: Communication is conducted with respect for each person's perspective and feelings

Do you need help with solving your communication challenges?

If you’ve identified that your organization has poor communication and you’re struggling to introduce strategies and techniques to improve your workplace culture and team morale, NorQuest College’s Custom Training services can help.

We provide customized, tailored, and responsive workplace skills training—including communication—to help all employees succeed in their roles. Our inclusive learning experiences and interactive sessions help fill in the gaps your team is missing while providing an opportunity for growth and expansion.

If you’re interested in learning more about our custom training services or booking a consultation, visit our website or contact Michelle Naylor, Business Development Manager, at