By David Ingram
Communication skills are an essential component of a productive workplace, allowing employees to work together cohesively and professionally. Small business owners can do well to hire employees with solid communication skills, and there are also ways to improve communications skills in the workplace to boost employee productivity. Improving employee communication skills through training exercises and behavior modeling can give your company a competitive edge.
Include communication skills in employee training programs. Some people are inherently more social than others, but anyone can learn and practice effective communication skills to increase personal effectiveness on the job. Teach new employees the fundamentals of good communication, including listening skills, the concept of encoding and online communication challenges.
Model excellent communication skills to leverage the social learning theory. The individual personalities of small business owners can have a large impact on the culture that develops in their companies. Employees who spend a lot of time working alongside company owners may begin to model the communication style of their bosses. Take an inventory of your personal communication habits to gain insight into any communication problems your employees are having. If you consistently provide a model of professional, respectful communication, your employees will take notice.
Promote your most effective communicators into supervisory positions to set the tone in the company. Your managers set the bar for employee performance just as you do as the business owner. Make sure all your managers understand your commitment to modeling effective communication skills. Your managers should be confident and develop their own communication styles as they gain experience on the job.
Include communication skills in performance appraisals. Tying company objectives into performance appraisals is a proven way to motivate employees to achieve organizational goals. If communication is a significant issue in your workplace, consider setting personal goals for improving communication skills for each employee, and giving incentive awards to employees who meet these goals.
Develop team-building exercises to strengthen intra-office communication. High-performance teams become more cohesive over time as they gain experience working and communicating with each other. Exciting activities that require employees to work together can speed up the team-building process, allowing team members to learn the best ways to communicate with others in the team through experience.