They say talk is cheap, but when it comes to corporations, lack of communication may actually be very costly. When communication isn’t clear, employees aren’t sure as to how they should best be spending their time. This can cause confusion and can cost the company money in lost time and productivity. Avoid these pitfalls by keeping communication clear and consistent.
When managers don’t clearly communicate the company’s values and policies, the company pays for it in behavior that’s contrary to what they’ve deemed appropriate. Unsure what the boundaries are for company resources, employees can mistakenly misuse them, costing the company additional money. For example, using the company copier to make flyers for your yard sale means the company has to pay for additional paper and toner. This lack of communication can also lead to personal behavior issues costing the company in both legal and human resource expenses. Whether it’s resolving conflicts between team members or needing to pay fees to avoid or participate in a lawsuit, these expenses can be avoided by clearly communicating company policies and values at orientation time.
Employees not being clear about whose role it is to perform certain work tasks -- such as keeping meeting notes or managing clients -- or understanding changes in the details of a project, can be costly, as well. Multiple team members may take on the same tasks, duplicating efforts and costing the company time and money. This lack of communication can also result in employees having power struggles, leaving important tasks undone and not meeting deadlines. And thenm there is the risk of clients choosing to take their business elsewhere. Get everyone on the same page about roles up-front to maximize everyone’s time and ensure the best results.
When companies don’t clearly communicate corporate, department or project goals, employees often aren’t sure how their job fits into the whole. Without this understanding, they can lack a sense of purpose and priorities, and they wind up spend time on tasks that are incidental to, or even derail them from, the goals. This lack of clarity also makes employees unsure what their job priorities are, and they replace higher priority tasks with lower ones, or spend more time than needed on less important tasks, derailing them from the goals. Clearly communicating goals will increase efficiency and save the company time and money -- not to mention frustration -- in both the short and long terms.
Employees want to do a good job and feel as if their work counts. Not keeping them in the loop can be a big de-motivator and can zap their morale. Then, their focus, productivity and strong morale gets replaced with uncertainty, gossip and general unhappiness. Happy employees are more productive employees. Ensuring and identifying an established, clear method of communication for everyone -- such as an employee bulletin board or the company e-mail system -- will ensure all employees get the same information so they can do their jobs successfully and feel good about it.
Jennafer Martin has more than 14 years of experience in writing, editing and brand management for literary, business-to-business and consumer publications. She is a writer for Zoe Soul Spa and "Pets in the City" magazine.