The overall impact to the business world due to poor communication skills is steep. In a survey taken of 400 companies that each employed upwards of 100,000 employees, it was found that each of these companies was losing an average of $62.4 million every year due to faulty communications between staff.
It has been noted by Debra Hamilton that smaller companies, even those having as few as 100 employees, lose an average of $420,000 per annum. A survey from the Hay Group has found that 83% of HR managers surveyed have said that the inability to interact with others smoothly will keep a person from becoming a ‘high performer’ at their job.
Some Signs that Poor Communications are Affecting Your Career
1) Lowered Efficiency
Every day, you need to transmit data or instructions to and from other departments, staff, and management. Garbled emails, bungled speech, and sloppy presentations can confuse the recipients of the information about the meaning of what is being said. The result can often be that a team member goes to carry out directives and actually completes the wrong task or executes the proper task in an incorrect fashion. Then, when their work is brought to their supervisor, it has to be corrected, and this takes more time to accomplish.
Depending on the number of times it takes for the one assigning the work to get his or her message across in an accurate way and how large the project is that they are working on, the total process could take a lot longer than it should. This wastes company time, and it costs money in wasted potential.
2) Morale Has Taken a Hit
When things are unclear, people feel as if they are on shaky ground, and this can lead to a dip in employee morale. Staff will often feel as if they have to guess what it is their superiors want, and it can cause their stress levels to rise. This will also lead to a disruption to the employer/employee relationship, as most employees want to work hard towards a goal with the expectation that they will receive praise when they are through.
Having goals that aren’t clearly defined means the employee has no idea throughout the day if they should anticipate a positive or negative reaction from management. It also can cause them to feel hopeless after they’ve completed a task and have been told that they were doing it all wrong in the first place. Over time, they may begin to doubt their competence, and they may feel undervalued, all of which can lead to them under-performing.
3) Improvement is Possible
Like many things in life, there are ways to improve your situation. While it may seem overwhelming, the payoff is more than worth it. Your company can revitalize its effectiveness, and you can use your resources to their best possible end. Ideas can flow freely from one person to another, one team to another, and from one department to another. You will maximize your ability to bring innovation and creativity to the forefront. Communication can be the oil to make your dealings go much more smoothly, and we will discuss some tips to bring this forth.
4) Commit to Making a Change
It may sound obvious, but often, the first step is making the commitment that you want to improve. This will give you the drive to stay the course when things get difficult and when frustration sets in. Additionally, your level of dedication will determine the time and resources you are willing to allocate to this cause. Doing things differently is a process, and it is something you must do consistently over a period of time for it to become a habit.
5) Get Outside Help
You may require the assistance of courses specifically designed to help you optimize your speaking skills (e.g a public speaking class). Participate in communication coaching sessions to help your staff express yourself in the best possible way. They can also help you to prepare in a way that will stave off the common distractions that lead to self-sabotage when speaking.
6) Know Your Audience
To get to the bottom line, sometimes you have to focus on more than the bottom line or the dollar impact of your job. You, ultimately, are dealing with people with a variety of likes and dislikes, preferences, and personality styles.
You will want to speak to them in their language and reach them in a manner that speaks to them where they are. You will want to be culturally appropriate, and you need to take into account the age, education, and gender of your group. If you can connect to them on a deeper level, your message has a greater chance of getting through.
Poor communication in the workplace can be detrimental in more ways than one. Not only will it create a bad environment for you and your colleagues, but it may lead to declines in the quality and delivery of your work, which could result in clients not wanting to do business with you or your company. Make improving communication skills a top priority.