Importance of Two-way Communication in the Workplace
Internal communication is shifting towards two-way communication. It influences employee engagement and performance within a company.
Often companies underestimate how essential it’s to establish two-way connections with employees. Two-way communication builds trust within a company and increases job satisfaction, productivity, and engagement. How companies communicate with their employees directly impacts employee performance, thus, company success.
In addition, process improvement guidelines or critics about its inefficiency can save a lot of money for an organization. Ideas and initiatives sharing can lead to new product development or substantial quality improvement.
The article will discuss how to define two-way communication, its benefits, channels, essential steps to build strong connections with employees, and what Microsoft or Office 365 customers have at their disposal to make this happen.
What is two-way communication?
Two-way communication is usually defined as communication shared back and forth between parties. It’s a process of sharing information and feedback between a sender and a receiver. Two-way communication can be verbal or non-verbal and done in different formats, but it’s never a monologue.
We can imagine two-way communication as a tennis match. A game happens when a ball is served, and the other player throws it back. A tennis match is possible only when a ball is thrown forth and back. Playing alone on a tennis court doesn’t make a game and wouldn’t attract any audience to watch.
In a workplace, two-way communication is considered when a company or an organization enables its employees to join the conversation and listens to their feedback, opinion, and thoughts. So, the same metaphor of a tennis game can be applied here with the only difference that communication takes place in a workplace.
What are the benefits of two-way communication?
Two-way communication is all about trust and empowerment. Building this type of communication can bring many benefits to your workplace. Built trust within a workforce, improved job satisfaction, leading to employee retention and a better position in the talent marketplace, increased employee engagement, statistically proved greater job productivity, and bonding teams. Here are some of the main advantages to keep in mind:
Building trust between the employees
Two-way communication builds trust. When employees are assured that their input is welcomed, they feel comfortable sharing their opinions. This allows them to align more with the company’s goals and sustain motivation.
Usually, companies deal with “sent and forgotten” communication issues. A message is sent to the employee and sometimes left even unread. Two-way communication aims to ask and encourage employees to share their thoughts and insights. This allows ideas to flow in the workplace. It gives a chance for companies to get inspiration and a new point of view on internal/external processes, products, service improvements, or creation.
Improved job satisfaction
Two-way communication helps with employee retention. A recent report shows 96% of employees agree that empathy is essential to employee retention. The more heard and appreciated employees feel, the more they’re likely to stick with their job. For companies, happy employees = retaining professionals = being successful.
Furthermore, two-way communication can influence employee recruitment. Employees are your best brand ambassadors sharing with others how good or bad your company’s culture and internal communication are. How employees value your company as an employer builds a brand image in the talent marketplace. Thus, satisfied employees mean that the company can attract talents easier.
Increased employee engagement
Two-way communication prevents disconnection and drives employees’ engagement. When employees understand their contribution to the company and feel that their voice is heard, they’re more likely to feel motivated to do their best at work.
Employees are what make or break business success. According to the recent Global Human Capital Trends research, 93% of respondents agreed that a sense of belonging drives the performance of an organization. It follows that a highly motivated workforce makes a company successful.
Greater job productivity
Clear communication leads to a better understanding of the roles, tasks, and projects. As a result, there are fewer misunderstandings and obstacles to getting the job done, which leads to increased productivity. According to McKinsey research, organizations with connected employees increase productivity by 25%.
Free-flowing two-way communication allows employees to converse on various channels, get clarifications, inform others, and provide feedback. This also helps managers to direct and train employees easier boosting their productivity rates.
Better teamwork and collaboration
Collaboration is a natural process in two-way communication. Connection, including a dialogue, immediately makes the team bond and work together easier, reaching results more effectively. Even if the teams always work remotely, on a hybrid model, or in-office, communication pushes all team members to stay connected.
Connection drives company culture and office atmosphere in general. How employees feel on the work floor determines their well-being and, thus, their results on tasks and projects.
How to create two-way communication with employees?
There are many ways to handle two-way communication in the workplace. From instant messaging and blogs to newsletters and surveys. We’ll cover some of the communication channels here:
Team chats are used to pass the information fast and get a quick response. Messaging allows employees to discuss, share and connect instantly; however, important information can be missed in the chat flow.
The intranet newsfeed is another way to keep employees informed quickly. Regarding two-way communication, with feedback mechanisms, employees can be encouraged to react, comment, and share their opinions directly on the newsfeed.
Blogs and articles
Important news, changes, and updates are often presented as blog posts or news articles. Employees can get detailed information, read the news in their own time, and comment, like and share the content with their peers empowering two-way communication.
Newsletters and surveys
Usually, employees are updated via internal newsletters. Emails are nothing new, but they can be a perfect way to enable a two-way connection. Integrating surveys and polls into your newsletters is the most convenient way to ask employees for feedback and insights. Embedded surveys can make a robust two-way communication channel as they’re easy to create, get answers and check results.
How to process two-way communication?
There are different methods and tips for making two-way communication effective in the workplace. We recommend firstly focusing on the four following steps.
Step #1: Pick communication channels and tools
Choose the proper channels and tools for your communication. They can help build two-way communication or bring even more frustration to you and your employees. Connection on different channels with many tools can cause a headache to get around, confusion, and difficulty in finding the correct information and a place to provide feedback.
Step #2: Make it about your employees
Make your communication spin around each employee. It’ll make them feel connected and heard. It means including personalization in your messages and asking about their preferences. You might want to ask your employees on what channels they would like to receive the news, how often those channels should be used, and what forms are best for sharing feedback.
Step #3: Gather and encourage feedback
Ask employees for their feedback when you’re ready with your channels. Finding the right tools is crucial because feedback must be easy to provide. Feedback forms should be inspiring and encourage employees to share their opinion. Most importantly, received input should be used to frame future communications.
Step #4: Be responsive and act
Two-way communication only happens if there’s a dialogue. Make sure that employees get follow-ups on their responses. We’re usually so focused on taking and receiving feedback that the part of evaluating and sharing feedback results gets forgotten. In JungleMail 365, we’re creating an easy way to share survey results from the previously answered survey with your responders.
Main key takeaways about two-way communication with employees in the workplace:
- Two-way communication can be discussed by referring to a tennis match – the conversation flows back and forth.
- Employees’ trust is built when they’re given a chance to share their feedback and insights and feel heard and valued.
- Two-way communication brings many benefits to your workplace, including job satisfaction and productivity, increased engagement, and better teamwork.
- There are different channels to make your communication effective: instant messaging, newsfeeds, blogs and articles, newsletters, surveys, and more.
- Two-way communication should be done in steps: find your channels, focus on employees and feedback and be responsive.
In the next blog posts, we’ll cover how to make the most of your internal newsletters and enable a two-way connection using this channel.
Engage employees with newsletters and surveys
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