Tackling the Top 3 Communication Issues in the Workplace

Tackling the Top 3 Communication Issues in the Workplace

Last updated on August 23, 2021 at 08:16 pm

There are a lot of different challenges facing the modern workplace. Depending on your type of organization, your industry, what kinds of workers you have, what tech you’re using. I could go on! But we are seeing trends about what some of the top communication issues in the workplace are right now. And they are big challenges with no simple solution. So, we wanted to dive in and tackle them head on and give you a roadmap for overcoming them.

Issue 1: The Communication Isn’t Driven by Objectives (or data)

measurement and analytics icons

In the words of the very wise analytics and communications expert Sean Williams: “Objectives are everything!” 

If you don’t have a goal or “why” behind a message, are you ready to send it? The same goes for campaigns. What’s the end-goal? How will you be measuring the impact? What’s the behavior change that you expect to see? 

If you can’t answer these questions, go back to the drawing board. Not only will it be impossible to prove success to your stakeholders, it will fall flat with employees and not have the impact you intend.

Okay, but how? 

Start with a Do, Say, Think, Feel exercise and try to define at least one clearly:

  • DO: What action do you want your employees to take? 
  • SAY: What do you want employees to be able to say about it? Or what do you want your managers to be able to say to their direct reports on a topic?
  • THINK: What do you want your employees to think after receiving the message(s)? Are you trying to change or reinforce a way of thinking?
  • FEEL: How do you want them to feel? 

And for all of these, try to define your own why behind each objective. It’s not enough to know you want employees to feel supported by your wellness campaign. Do you want them to feel that way to reduce turnover? Or to improve morale? Or because it’s part of a living your values campaign that will help your company mission?

Issue 2: We’re Out of Touch With the Employee Voice and Their Needs

burnt out employee

Another big communication issue in the workplace is being too removed from your target audience. And, honestly, cut yourself some slack here. With the pandemic making it harder than ever to reach your teams, this has become really hard. But it’s time to start getting back to this priority.

So, why does this matter? For one, a thorough understanding of your audience is fundamental in both internal and external communication. But, for whatever reason, Marketing is putting us internal folks to shame. If you ask me, it’s because marketers have better budgets to do things like social listening. But that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach for internal comms teams

Issue 3: Not Using the Right Communication Channels (or not having access in the first place)

frontline worker using a mobile communication channel

The final big communication issue in the workplace is a reliance on outdated tools and channels. But teams aren’t using the right comms channels. And this can be for a variety of reasons:

  1. Lack of budget to invest in new communications channels.
  2. Not enough staff to scope and implement a new channel.
  3. Uncertainty about what tools they really need.
  4. Resistance to new tools and technology at the organization. 

But we understand that internal comms teams are often stretched thin and don’t always have the budget to buy the right tools. Not to mention, it can be hard to convince leadership that “the way it’s always been done” isn’t cutting it anymore. 

The best thing you can do is conduct an internal communications audit at least once a year (aligning this with next year budget planning is helpful!). These audits help you map out your existing channels, audiences, and messages and write down what you’d like to be able to do or will need to communicate in the future. You can then see any gaps that exist. And then this is a great report to show to leadership. They’re going to want to see your business case and rationale for any new channel, and your audit is a great part of telling that story.

With Great Challenges, Come Great Opportunities 

At theEMPLOYEEapp, we don’t like to linger on the negative. These communication issues in the workplace are a huge opportunity for change and progress. Like we say in marketing, quality is better than quantity. Don’t stretch yourself too thin by taking on all the biggest comms challenges in your company at the same time. Start with one that will have the biggest impact to address and really get it right. Focus on change management best practices, getting employee input, and, as always, get executive sponsorship to help lead the change.

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