The modern-day workforce looks a lot different than it did a few decades ago. Aside from the fact that entire businesses can now be run online, workplace culture has also evolved into something that might have been unrecognizable 20 years ago. Such changes mean that effective communication is needed more than ever for a cohesive workforce, otherwise a business is likely to run into speed bumps along the way to growth. With the many changes that have occurred, how can business owners ensure that communication, of all things, isn’t negatively affected?
One way is by hiring employees who are particularly strong in that department. While communication has always been a desirable skill, it’s arguably even more valuable in the modern workforce thanks to the advancement of technology and the nuances that come with navigating professional relationships through it.
How Has the Workplace Changed?
One of the biggest changes in the workplace is that communication is now more technologically driven. This is evident in the use of various tools within the workplace to facilitate seamless communication among employees, no matter the location or time zone. Some of these tools include messaging apps as well as other collaboration dashboards such as Slack, Trello, and Flowdock, meaning people are having to adopt new ways of communicating while remaining capable of adapting to ever-changing trends in technology.
Aside from people using more technology in the workplace, tech has also made it possible for an increasing number of people to work from home — and that number is reaching almost 42 million employees who aren’t tied to desks in an office. One of the effects of this is that office hours are no longer set and one can work effectively from any time zone. Gone are the days of traditional 9-5 hours, as many people find themselves replying to emails at the dinner table or interviewing candidates from different countries over Skype. There even exist businesses that don’t have physical buildings at all and are run with entirely remote staff. While meetings once only took place in the boardroom, now they can be held digitally using a range of video conference tools.
Why Employers Value Soft Skills
Seeing as communication is an integral part of a functioning workplace, employers value soft skills. Communication is a soft skill sought out by employers because when you can effectively communicate with co-workers, it can make everyone involved more productive and more effective. You’re also likely to get work done more efficiently if you can communicate and build relationships with the people you’re working with. However, if you can’t communicate clearly, you may struggle when it comes to carrying out group work and executing projects. The bottom line is that teamwork is a necessary ingredient for success, and communication is at the heart of it.
Not only is verbal communication valued by employers, so is written communication, especially in such a text-based technological world. If the workplace has truly become more digital, so has texting, writing emails, and communicating through messaging tools. The National Association of Colleges and Employers even found that 73.4% of employers want a candidate who possesses strong written communication skills.
The Importance of Communication
Communication is needed in the workplace to ensure core business goals can be achieved. Without effective communication, a business may be more susceptible to a less productive workforce. In addition to this, they could find that employees aren’t performing at their optimum level.
Poor communication can also be costly for businesses and result in major losses. A study found that inadequate communication between employees can set a company back $62.4 million annually. With that said, here are several more reasons communication in the workplace is vital:
Collaboration: A major reason communication is such a necessity in the workplace is because of the need for collaboration. Every successful business is likely to have some form of effective collaboration in the workplace, no matter the project or the department. Collaboration happens in a myriad of settings whether it be remote or in brick and mortar buildings — and the reality is that a group of people can achieve more than a single individual can, so being able to communicate and collaborate with others is essential.
Changes: Businesses are ever-evolving, and if they want to grow, employees need to be able to adapt. However, it can be hard to get everyone on board with major changes if communication isn’t fluid. When introducing new business processes, you need to be able to remove uncertainty, give clarity, and share your vision in a way employees understand. Without effective communication, you could experience a great deal of resistance and pushback.
Remote Work: People who may not be physically present in the workplace can play just as an integral role as those who are, but that’s only if everyone communicates as they should. Some ways to enhance communication would be to ensure remote workers have good internet that is high-speed, reliable, and mobile, in case they’re on the go. They should also have access to tools that will allow messages to be passed on clearly and in a timely manner. You want to be sure they’re aware of everything that takes place in-house so that they can be an effective part of the work team out-of-house.
Communicating is not only important in the workplace, but it’s needed across all facets of work life. If you can develop stronger communications as a leader or employee, you’re likely to find success anywhere you go in this technologically driven world.
Written by: Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor