Workplace communication concerns between Managers, Supervisors, Employees, and Unions. The information employees need or may want to have. When we talk on this topic the following questions come to our mind: Why good workplace communication? Who is responsible for communication?  What kind of information is required? What are the principal methods for effective workplace communication?
Workplace communication should ensure the involvement of Unions, Managers, and Supervisors. They should establish suitable arrangements for both communication and feedback in co-operation with each other. There must be an Employees involvement statement which should include arrangements for providing details in a systematic manner to the employees for the matters concerning them. It may also have information for achieving a common awareness on the part of all employees regarding financial and economic factors affecting the performance of the Organization. 

Good communication is not only important but essential also:
  • Workplace communication is a two-way process that requires flow of information up as well as down. The communicator should try to ensure that message is understood. He must listen to and take account of any reaction to the communication.
  • Workplace communication mainly covers the information of all kinds having a direct bearing on the day-to-day operation of the Organization. The channels it passes and the means of passing it. 
  • Communication at the workplace should never be an end in itself, but if used properly it can play an important role in ensuring the efficiency and success of the Organization.  The managers have the responsibility to communicate with their subordinates.  Good communication can help managers to be better managers, enable employees to work effectively to create greater trust with the management and its employees.
  • Employees need to be informed of their duties, obligations, and rights to communicate with Managers& Supervisors.  Many employees  want more information than the basic instructions needed to carry out their work such as :
  • What is happening and why? The way their jobs can contribute and  future   prospects in the Organization 
  • Employees are also Communicators.  They need to pass job-related information to others as part of their daily work on the basis of their own experience. They wish to contribute to the areas of the working environment of their job and the policies which may affect them. Managers & Supervisors should know and encourage the expressions of employees’ views in order to make better and more understandable decisions.  They have to exchange information with colleagues as a part of their work.  This necessitates lateral or inter-departmental as well as vertical line communication.  Failure to recognize this need may result in inconsistency of approach and application.
  • Workplace communication can help the employees to perform better and become more committed to the Organization’s success. It can also help to create greater trust between Managers, Supervisors, Unions, and employees.  
Who is responsible for Effective Communication?
  • Work Place Communication involves everyone in the organization but to be effective it needs to be organized in a systematic manner like any other activity.  Successful workplace communication needs a positive lead from the Top Management. It is  necessary that  Senior managers are  made responsible to ensure that : 
    • The policy is put into practice.
    • The practice is properly maintained.
    • The policies and practices are regularly reviewed.
    • The chain of communication is clearly understood by all those involved. 
  • The principal link in any communication system is Line Managers & Supervisors because ineffective communication by them causes poor performance.  First-Line Supervisors play a key role in any communication system.  Direct communication is sometimes desirable but, when short cuts are adopted the Line Managers & supervisors must be kept equally well informed. 
  • Union Officials also have communication responsibilities as well as information needs since one of their main tasks is to ensure that their views and opinions are properly conveyed to the Management. 
What should be communicated?
  • The Management needs to communicate information to the employees regarding their pay conditions of employment and also a wide range of job-related information including Operating & Technical instructions, Health & Safety information, General Information about the organization such as background, objectives, and also about who is who? Where they are? And what they do?
  • Sometimes employees are interested to know as to what is happening in the Organization? Therefore, management should inform all employees about important events such as objectives & policies,  past & present performance, progress,  future plans and prospects of the Organization .
  • The information such as financial performance, Manpower changes, technological developments, state of the market, and investment plans may be covered in the upward and downward communication process.  This information should be provided as a part of the regular program.  The employees tend to distrust the Managers who communicate only when there is bad news because job security is the major concern of all employees.
  • The workplace communication must be clear, concise, and easily understood, It should be presented objectively in a regular and systematic manner so as  to avoid rejection.  Communication must be relevant and timely.  As far as possible, it should be open to questions being asked and answered. 
  • A variety of methods, will be needed both spoken and written, direct and indirect to have Effective Communication.  The mix of methods may be adopted on need basis. It starts from face to face.
Team briefing is important because when the leader of the group provides up-to-date information the group members can ask questions.  However, in team briefing, we need to observe that : 
  • It should be  held at regular intervals and not just in crisis. 
  • It should be brief lasting   20-30 minutes only.
  • Led by the immediate first Line Managers of the workgroup.
  • Face to face and not reduced to a series of circulars and memos.
  • Key focus area must be covered.
Now the care should be taken to consider the following:
    • Progress  : How are we doing?
    • Employees  : Who is coming and going?
    • Policy         : Any change affecting the team.
    • Points         : For further action.
    • Monitor       : success or failure. 
Let us see how team briefing Works:
The briefer collects information relating to progress, people, policy and points for action in preparation for the meeting. It is ensured that he has the clearance of his Manager.  Managers meet with their Teams and any question which cannot be answered immediately are noted and answered later on.   In addition to operational information, the briefer should explain the items passed down from top management. This process continues down the line ensuring that there is a local brief and the management points have been included. After the meeting, briefer should find the feedback to respond to unanswered questions.  Absentees should be briefed on their return. Interdepartmental meetings are conducted with the aim to reduce the scope for inconsistent decision making. Large Scale Meetings should also be there involving the whole workforce with a presentation by the Chief Executive.  Frequency should be once in six months or year.
In addition to the above Conferences and Seminars should be organized to study a particular problem with the emphasis on questioning and group discussion at least once in a year. 
Now comes the Written Methods:
  • The Introduction of Employee Handbook brings together employment and job-related information which does not change very often. 
  • Performance Report keeps employees informed about the activities of the Organization with the main emphasis on their contribution and achievements.  
  • House Journal and  News Letters provide information about the Organization on a regular basis to the employees.   It contains large elements of social and personal information. 
  • Bulletin is useful for giving information on a wider basis about specific items of general interest i.e. Safety, Production, and targets, etc. 
  • Notices are aimed to bring the attention of the audience, the matter of general information, and specific interest.  Care needs to be taken over location, use of notice boards, and keeping them up-to-date.
  • Individual Letters to Employees lay emphasis on the subject matters and ensure that the information has been received and understood by the targeted group.
Communication policy of the organization and practices need regular monitoring and review.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that : 
  • Communicators know their roles.
  • Appropriate information is made available. 
  • Information reaches all who need or want.  
  • It is accepted and understood. 
Sometimes monitoring exposes weaknesses therefore, it is essential that remedial action is taken.  Monitoring is largely dependent on feedback from the employees through formal and informal channels.  Effectiveness of workplace communication can also be assessed by:-
  • The extent of employee co-operation.
  • The quality of decision making by managers. 
  • The level of involvement by Senior Management 
  • The Industrial Relations climate. 
Lastly, it can be said that good and effective workplace communication is the key to success for which the following basic requirements are essential:-
  • Lead from top management.
  • Involvement of all Manager’ supervisors and Unions.
  • Awareness needs and wants of the employees.
  • Systematic, regular, and two-way communication.
Prof. (Dr.) Dewakar Goel 
Chairman, Aero Academy of Aviation Science & Management Executive Director (HR) 
Learn, Practice and continuously Improve Communication Skills with a full range of PHI Learning’s Communication Series e-books.
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