From high staff turnover to low client satisfaction ratings, businesses have a lot to lose from fostering an environment of poor communication. The financial cost can be overwhelming: according to a Holmes report, poor communication and misunderstandings have led to a staggering $37 billion in losses. Communication is a fundamental building block for a successful business, and placing a focus on improving this aspect of your company could shield you from contributing to that $37 billion. Despite the monetary risks that go along with improper communication, many corporations neglect to pay attention to improving company-wide communication practices and often suffer the consequences. If you’re interested in enhancing your business’ communication in 2020, a productive place to start is identifying the biggest challenges and learning how to overcome them. If you’re able to successfully improve internal communication practices, your business will be on its way to having the best year yet.
Presence of communication barriers
One major issue that so many businesses have, and choose to ignore, is the presence of communication barriers in their current structure. From jargon and taboos to cultural and language differences, barriers often result in messages becoming distorted and lead to confusion, misunderstanding, or wasted time and/or money for your business. To best work around these obstacles, you first must identify and recognize that they exist. If your establishment conducts international business—and therefore your communication suffers most from language barriers—bigger steps may need to be taken.
First, identify any and all languages your employees encounter in their work. From there, poll employees to determine who speaks these languages and ask for their assistance, and finally bring in a reliable translation agency to bridge any gaps that exist. Remember that a bilingual employee is not the same as a professional translator and relying on them can lead to mistranslations and further misunderstandings. Outsourcing translation services can be daunting, and it’s important you take time to find the right provider for your needs. Consider choosing an agency that conducts work remotely, or that is specialized in your field.
Lack of proper tools
When it comes to communicating effectively, your team needs access to the very best and most appropriate tools for your sector and efficient training on how to properly use them. Finding the most suitable tools for your business takes careful consideration and analysis, starting with identifying the specific needs of your employees and clients. Take a few weeks to monitor how your teams are communicating both with each other and with clients. Are they consistently on video calls, or do they spend more time crafting emails to one another?
Many businesses find that their teams are communicating over various channels at all times, most commonly through instant message, email, phone, and video conferencing. Beyond using different methods, many groups use different versions of the same tools as well.
If you find that this is the case for your employee base, implementing a unified communications solution could help streamline all of those channels into one united package for everyone. Unified communications boast the benefit of centralized channels, so your teams can easily continue the same conversation across multiple channels without the fear of losing track of emails or chats. This will ensure your team use only one variety of each tool as well, which can help with training and unifying the knowledge base for the tools you decide to use.
Poor listening skills
Sharing information is only half of the communication process. The other half is listening to and interpreting what your counterpart is saying. Unfortunately, this is where so much of communication fails as there are many different types of barriers that interrupt active listening. These barriers include lack of interest, noise, sympathizing rather than empathizing, preoccupation, distraction, and selective listening. Even if we’re not knowingly getting distracted, our minds often subconsciously wander elsewhere and interrupt the listening process. These practices are extremely harmful to business teams as they cause instructions, important messages and learning programs to be misinterpreted or unheard altogether.
This ultimately costs businesses time and resources in repeated conversations or meetings. Luckily, honing your active listening is one of the simpler skills for professionals to improve upon with just a little bit of care and attention. For example, you can host a seminar to teach your employees how to host effective meetings and have efficient conversations. Some of the most important points to drive home are making eye contact, asking clarifying questions, and choosing appropriate locations for different types of conversations.
When communication is efficient and effective in your workplace, both employees and customers will have a more rewarding experience with your company. Why wouldn’t you want to reap the benefits of increased employee satisfaction and client retention by making some simple changes to your communication practices?
Is your company dealing with communicative misunderstandings due to language barriers? Perhaps you need help with communicating with your German associates or targetting Italian customers, whatever your translation needs, BeTranslated can help. Contact us today for more information or a free quote.