Common Workplace Communication Problems & How to Fix Them: A Full Guide

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

Isabel de Jong-Fatal

Isabel is a passionate content writer at Connecteam with two degrees in Foreign Relations and Diplomacy and a professional background in research and writing.

Updated on July 5, 2022

Guides HR Management

Good workplace communication is key to running a successful business, but it’s easier said than done. Let’s take a look at some of the main internal communication stumbling blocks, followed by 10 lifesaving tips to triumph over them while enjoying increased employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.


Why is effective communication in the workplace so critical , 10 common internal communication problems , 10 ways to overcome communication problems in the workplace, the final word on how to solve communication issues in the workplace.

It’s no secret that productivity, working relationships, and morale will take a hard hit if you have communication problems in the workplace. And if the communication problems aren’t addressed, profit loss, higher turnover, mistakes, and a negative public image are commonplace. 

It’s vital that you recognize and address communication problems in the workplace before the situation gets out of control. And when you tackle workplace communication challenges immediately, you avoid misunderstandings or something slipping through the cracks. 

That’s all easier said than done without the right guidance. Lucky for you, we have listed 10 lifesaving and yet easy-to-implement tips that will help you achieve excellent workplace communication and enjoy its sweet side effects. 

Not to exaggerate – good communication is key to the success of your business.

In a nutshell, it enables your teams to be more productive, cooperate better, and work more effectively. As a matter of fact, employees are 20 to 25% more productive in businesses that have an effective internal communication strategy in place. This means that you can keep the $62.4 million lost by companies every year due to workplace communication issues in your pocket.

On top of that, being able to communicate up and down an organization’s communication chain has proven to give employees a boost in morale and a sense of commitment to the company. This, in turn, improves job satisfaction and reduces employee turnover.

If you’re interested in creating a communication strategy from scratch, then download our free eBook on how to build an effective internal communication strategy.

However, success doesn’t happen overnight, so make communication a daily task, and you will reap numerous benefits in the long run. 

Poor communication costs businesses breakdown by Connecteam

Before getting to the good part, let’s first take a look at where workplace communication typically goes south.

Communication Barriers

While communication barriers come in many shapes and sizes, they all form obstacles to sharing or receiving information. They can, for instance, include:  

Communication barriers are particularly common amongst remote working teams, which have become a new norm since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a staggering 71% of remote employees are not actively engaged in their organization, and 85% said that the communication they receive just isn’t enough. 

When you have a lack of internal communication with your remote team, they can easily feel isolated, undervalued, and unmotivated.

No Clear Line of Communication

Without a clear communication chain or understanding of who is in charge of what and who answers to whom, your employees are uncertain who they should turn to with any questions or concerns. This creates a general lack of accountability and confusion. 

Not having a clear line of communication also makes effectively communicate top-level information to your workers a challenge.  

False Assumptions and One-Way Communication

Workplace misunderstandings often come from managers or team members assuming that their coworkers are approaching a task or project in the same way that they would, rather than clearly defining how each step should be done and by which team member. 

This goes hand in hand with the assumption that your employees fully understand all of the information they are given and don’t have any questions, comments, or feedback.

All of this can lead to confusion and tasks being completed insufficiently. 

Using the Wrong Communication Tools

Nowadays, modern employee communication management tools have changed the name of the game, making maintaining good communication in the workplace simple and easy.

Using the wrong tools can cause miscommunication, information loss, delayed response times, and distractions. For instance, that one email containing important information can get lost at the bottom of your inbox, or frequent work calls can disrupt productivity and cost employees precious time to get back into what they were doing.

Particularly companies with r emote employees experience difficulties without a good employee communication management tool.

Employee using Connecteam's employee communication app to communicate with her team

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Giving Infrequent or No Feedback

Without giving your employees feedback on how they are performing on a regular basis – especially if they need to wait an entire year for their annual performance review – your staff will feel left in the dark. 

The same goes for hearing them out and asking for their feedback on their experiences in the workplace and suggestions for improvement. By not giving them this opportunity, your team will feel like their voices aren’t valued or heard.

This leads to a lack of employee development, repeated mistakes, growing frustration, poor work morale, and eventually increased employee turnover.

Missing Positive Feedback

Giving your employees feedback on their performance and pointing out areas that need improvement is key to helping them grow and become better at their job. However, it will have the opposite effect without a healthy dose of praise and positive feedback. The result: a demoralized and unmotivated workforce . 

Asking for Input Without Following Up

Conducting monthly pulse surveys and asking your employees for regular feedback on their well-being or job satisfaction is great. But if you don’t follow back or let them know how their answers impacted decisions within the company, they are left wondering why you consulted them in the first place. If you repeatedly ask for employee input but never get back to them about it, don’t be surprised when they lose motivation. 

Information Overload

Companies can overshare information with their entire workforce that is only relevant to specific departments, job locations, or seniority levels. This can overwhelm your employees and makes it harder for them to catch or filter out information that is relevant to their day-to-day.

Not Measuring Communication

It’s not enough to just communicate with your employees, you need to measure your communication efforts. All too often companies aren’t measuring or collecting data on these efforts to see if they are succeeding or failing in the communication department. Without this insight, companies are often not able to improve their internal communication or make an effective decision regarding it. 

Budget Issues

Developing your own internal communications can be very expensive , resources can be lacking, and it might just not seem worth it. And maybe you looked into workplace communication tools as a solution, but nothing was in your price range.

Spoiler alert – it doesn’t have to be that way. 

And now for the good part! There are quite a few ways in which you can improve workplace communication that doesn’t cost a lot of money or time to implement. Let’s dive into it.

Use the Right Communication Tools

The first step to overcoming communication problems in the workplace is to make sure that you are using the right tools for healthy communication. 

While popular communication tools such as WhatsApp can come in handy, they are not meant for professional use, have limited capabilities, and cause distractions by mixing personal and professional communication. 

Instead, we recommend using modern employee communication management software , which is specifically designed to help you streamline, simplify, and optimize internal communication. 

While most internal communication software includes the basic feature of one-on-one and team chats, a good workplace communication tool should also allow you to:

An example of an excellent and affordable employee communication management tool is Connecteam . It’s easy-to-use platform lets you engage and communicate with your employees no matter where they are working from. It includes all the features mentioned above as well as the ability to send your employees some well-deserved recognition and rewards . 

Having Communication Problems?

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Create a Clear Line of Communication 

Having a clear line of communication structure within your company and for your projects, your workers will know who to turn to for all the information and guidance they need to perform their tasks well. 

Defining who is in charge of what and who answers to whom creates accountability and eliminates confusion. It also makes it easier to effectively communicate top-level information to your entire workforce.  

Communication Is A Two-Way Street

The manager should not be the one to do all the talking. 

It is vital to build and foster two-way relationships with your team. Engage in an active dialogue and do it on a regular basis. After all, it is the job of the manager to do so.

It’s vital that you remember that most employees will leave their company if they have a poor relationship with their manager. In fact, 12% of employees who quit their jobs did so for higher salaries, whereas 75% left their company because of a bad relationship with their direct manager.

Create a Safe Space for Open Communication

For workplace communication to actually be effective and honest, you will first need to make sure that you have a positive work environment in which each employee feels comfortable enough to express their ideas, ask questions, make suggestions, and raise concerns. In other words, they should be able to openly communicate without fearing negative consequences to their self-image, status, or career. 

One of the best ways to do this is to lead by example. You can, for instance, do this by asking if something is unclear and admitting when you don’t have the answer to someone’s question. Also, manage the flow of a conversation when someone is constantly interrupting to create a space for others to communicate as well.

Research also shows that by having an open-door policy, you are able to gain “accessibility as a manager, to encourage an open flow of communication, to gain fast access to important or just happening situations or information and to maintain closer working relationships with employees.”

Hold Regular Meetings

Don’t wait for a year to go by to sit down with your employees and go over their performance and hear how they are getting on with their job, coworkers, and managers. Instead, make it a regular practice.

If you have remote working teams or employees that don’t share the same workspace, you also don’t necessarily have to wait for the opportunity to sit down together. Instead, you can schedule regular meetings via videoconference calls. Your team will appreciate having this flexibility.

Schedule Weekly Team Meetings

Weekly team meetings are the perfect way to make sure that your workers stay on the same page regarding planned and ongoing projects, expectations, and courses of action. It also helps everyone see the larger picture and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. 

Weekly team meetings are the perfect time for each employee to share what they are currently working on, their goals for the week, and any challenges they encountered. It’s also the perfect platform for managers to announce any updates, new projects, progress on team goals, and answer any questions.

This results in more transparency, better communication, and increased opportunities for collaboration.

Hold Regular One-on-Ones

Having regular one-on-one meetings with your employees allows you to communicate in a more private setting in which some employees feel more comfortable expressing themselves. Weekly or monthly one-on-ones are a good opportunity to touch base with each employee individually and talk about priorities, set goals, and find out if your team has enough time, resources, and information to perform well. 

Note that it is important to create a safe space for each employee to raise any concerns and share ideas that could benefit the team.

Regular one-on-ones make employees feel heard and reduce voluntary turnover by about 30% .

Follow up with Effective Notes and Clear Job Expectations

Take notes of the main points and any deadlines and responsibilities discussed during your meetings and share these with your team members for them to refer back to. You can also share these with anyone who wasn’t able to attend the meeting.

This way, you can make sure that everyone is on the same page, understands what is expected of them, and has the information they need to perform and prioritize their tasks .

Give an Explanation When Asking Your Team to Do Something

Giving an explanation or information on a task’s importance or how it fits into the bigger picture will make their work more meaningful and give them the feeling that they are valued and contributing to a larger cause. 

Even if the task is less glamorous or meaningful, admitting that it just needs to be done will show you’re committed to meaningful and transparent communication. This will help build trust and makes your employees more likely to engage and perform their best.

And remember the common mistake of assuming that your employees understand a task and how to perform it? Take the time to touch base with your employee and ensure that you are on the same page regarding how it should be done. This will cost you relatively little compared to the amount of time, money, and effort required to fix a poorly performed task. 

Ask for Feedback

It’s time to hear back from your employees!

Regularly collecting their feedback will help you understand in which areas your business is running smoothly and which ones could use some extra love. With these insights, you can make better decisions for your company and team. This also gives you the opportunity to learn about issues before they escalate.

The same counts for gathering feedback on your company’s internal communication. Employee feedback on the topic will give management a better understanding of what can be done to improve internal communication and how to solve communication issues. 

At the same time, it’s crucial to show your employees that you value their input and that their voices are heard. And you might just find that creative solution you were looking for!

There are different ways to collect feedback, such as one-on-one or group meetings, employee surveys , or by setting up a suggestion box or poll.

Employee using Connecteam's employee communication app to give feedback

Give Some Well-Deserved Recognition

Happy employees equal a healthy company. 

The simple act of showing employees that they are valued and that their hard work is recognized and appreciated performs miracles. It boosts their motivation, job satisfaction, and engagement while reducing employee turnover. It also helps build trust between employees and managers – a crucial ingredient for healthy workplace communication. 

You can show recognition, for example, by celebrating birthdays, giving a shout-out for a job well done, and electing exceptional employees as ‘employee of the month.’ 

And just like recognition can be contagious, so can the positivity that comes with it. 

By driving positivity and recognition, you bring in better productivity from your team and lower stress levels. Additionally, the happier your employees are, the more involved they are in their job role and helping the company to succeed.

Set Communication Standards

Another solution to communication problems is to make sure your company policies cover internal communication practices and standards. Make sure employees have 24/7 access to the company policies so that they may refer to them at any time. 

By having a clear company communication policy in place, you reduce the likelihood of inappropriate or distracting communication problems in the workplace. PR expert Kim Harrison notes, “it’s important to set policies that facilitate meaningful and necessary communication needed for employee productivity and their confidence in the future. Having a good communication policy in place reduces conflicts and misunderstandings, and eases uncertainties.” 

By setting clear and concise company policies regarding internal communication, employees can easily understand what type of communication is appropriate and acceptable and what is not. You may also want to include what sort of disciplinary action will be taken if employees disregard these policies. 

We’ve discussed several ways in which you can solve internal communication challenges. The most important is to use the right communication tools and technology that will assist in overcoming these challenges and help you go above and beyond. On top of that, the secret formula is to stay consistent in your communication efforts, hold regular meetings, ensure that communication flows in both directions, and make your employees feel valued. 

With these tools and tips, you will easily be able to improve your company’s internal communication, increase employee engagement, boost employee morale , and drive employee productivity. 

Introducing: The Modern Employee Communication App

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How to Deal With Poor Communication In the Workplace: 10 Tips

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

Effective communication is the fountain from which great work springs. Read on for tips on dealing with poor team communication.

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

A melding of great minds can often achieve a goal in a more innovative, exciting way than just one person. In some cases, though, communication problems can put a big damper on a team’s work. That falls on you to solve: Sharing ideas is how you build team collaboration , but what if it’s just not happening? Below, learn how to deal with poor communication in the workplace and keep everyone engaged, productive, and thinking out of the box. 

How to deal with poor communication in the workplace

What are the factors that cause workplace communication issues.

Teams are a collection of differing thoughts, opinions, and experiences – and that all can help you overcome obstacles in creative ways. But it just won’t happen if your team isn’t communicating. Or maybe they are communicating but their viewpoints are so different that your meetings spiral into heated arguments. You can solve these problems before they even start with the below tips.

1 Come up with a communication strategy

Some teams can brainstorm without any formal sort of communication rules. Other teams might be full of people who talk over each other rather than with each other. In that case, it’s time to set some ground rules. Your goal isn’t to control what people say and how they say it – it’s instead to give everyone space to air their thoughts. For example, a communication strategy can be as simple as sticking firmly to your meeting agenda or only allowing questions once someone has finished talking. 

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

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how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

2 Create a safe space for communication

Some team members might struggle with face-to-face communication due to some sort of anxiety. Maybe they’re worried you’ll just ignore their thoughts, or maybe they think their ideas won’t mean much.  You can counter these feelings if you create an emotionally safe work environment. That means clearly welcoming all team members’ ideas. The more, the merrier – that’s how you get more team members participating, engaged, and communicating.

During your team meetings, try to give everyone a chance to speak. You can also directly ask a team member for their opinions when it seems like they have something on the tip of their tongue. Another way to help them feel comfortable sharing : Keep an open-door policy and be open to feedback.

3 Use consistent communication channels

Effective communication should be consistent. That’s especially true if you communicate through multiple channels – email, project management tools, meetings. For example, let’s say a team member expects task instructions in your project management tool but you email them instead. They could entirely miss that email and not start the project. Being consistent with where and how you communicate solves this problem.

You should also update your team on some sort of predictable schedule. If you only reach out when there’s a big issue, your team can start to associate hearing from you with bad news. As a result, they might start to dread it when your name pops up in their inbox or on their caller ID. They might become hesitant to communicate with you in general. 

4 Be open to feedback

An excellent way to improve communication between you and your team is to show them that you’re open to it in the first place. You can easily ask for peer feedback through group surveys or during one-on-one meetings . 

Effective communication is a two-way street, especially when you’re asking for feedback. If you simply talk at your team without listening to what they’re saying, it can cause them to think their voice doesn’t matter. If that bad habit continues for long enough, your team could come to think of proper communication as part and parcel of your workplace culture. At that point, you might see employee engagement start to fall, which typically means your productivity and retention rates will also drop. 

5 Use the right technology for your organization

It’s important to use a consistent communication platform , and it’s just as important to use the right channels. Tech plays a big part here. It’s easy to default to email – it’s fast and cost-effective – but not every team member uses email the same way. Some team members check emails as part of their day-to-day routine, but others might focus so much on work they miss emails.

In cases like this where email doesn’t quite work, try finding a communication platform that’s more connected to your work. Project management systems with tags, notifications, and comments are a great example. It’s where your team will go to see what’s on their plate – so why not also have everyone communicate there too?

6 Hold regular meetings

It’s an obvious but important tip: Hold regular meetings with your team. They’re a great way to get everyone communicating since there will be no tasks and no screens to focus on – just people and conversation. 

Meetings are also a great place to get differing opinions out in the open. Somewhere among all these ideas is the best way to work toward team goals while getting the best results and making everyone happy. Plus, if your team is having trouble effectively communicating with email and the like, getting everyone in the same room can potentially fix the problem.

That said, you need to run your meetings well for great communication – badly run meetings can make your communication worse . To make your meetings as productive as possible, invite only the people who need to be there. Keep things short, but still long enough to be meaningful. Limit tangents and stay on-topic as much as possible. Everyone should walk out of the room with clear meeting action items and an equally clear mind.

7 Set communication standards for remote team members

Although working from home can be better for some team members than in-person work, it can make communication a good deal tougher. Without everyone gathered together in person and easily accessible, important information can more easily slip through the cracks. Remote communication standards can bridge the gap. 

Your standards can include daily updates via private Slack messages and weekly one-on-one phone calls. It can also mean clear guidance on when something is complex or urgent enough to call you instead of emailing you. Think of your standards as the digital version of swinging by a team member’s desk for updates. 

8 Make all your files easily accessible

Communication is more than what your team members say to one another. It also includes written communications that people look at well after they’re created, such as employee handbooks. Great communication includes making these items easily accessible. There’s only so much time in the workday, so your team shouldn’t have to dig too much to find the files they need. A digital file and folder naming and storage system is a great start.

9 Create an accountability system

Proper communication within your organization means holding your team members accountable for their work. Your project management system can help here – you can use it to put faces and deadlines to tasks. This way, your team members know what’s due when – and they also know to communicate with you if there’s an issue with hitting the deadline. You’ll leave less room for misinterpretation, which makes for better communication. 

10 Keep your conversations professional

Fun banter between team members is great, but it can cross a line. You should be clear on what is and isn’t appropriate for the workplace. A negative or disturbing personal story can linger on your team’s mind too long and lead to a drop in productivity. Mixing too much of one’s personal life with their professional one can often lead to the same outcome. 

Most of the time, the more personal workplace communication gets, the less professional it becomes. While this openness can be great for some types of company culture,  team members who are more like friends might not openly share negative feedback. That lack of communication can eventually lead to workplace conflict. Try to encourage a gentle boundary between everyone’s work and personal lives to avoid this outcome. 

It’s one thing to fix workplace communication issues. It’s another to prevent them in the first place – that’s how you avoid workplace conflict before it can happen. Watch for the below factors that can cause workplace communication issues to be proactive instead of reactive.

1 Tone of voice

In-person communication is more than just the words you say; it’s how you say them. Even if you don’t mean for something to hurt someone, sometimes, your tone of voice will come off that way. If you put work into keeping a consistently affirming, patient tone, you can make yourself seem approachable and kind even if you’re delivering negative feedback.

2 Body language

Body language plays a key role in nonverbal communication. We all interpret facial expressions and gestures without even trying – it’s hardwired in our brains. But it’s so hard-coded into our brains that we interpret some cues a certain way when that’s just not right at all. To avoid body language miscommunication, look at their whole context. For example, slouching in a meeting is way different than lounging out at home. Meeting slouchers might be bored, but home lounging is just having a good time.

3 Faulty listening 

It should come as no surprise that a lack of careful listening is the cause of so many communication issues in the workplace. Effective conversation is a two-way street, and when one side is blocked, what’s being said has nowhere to go. 

Active listening is the solution – it benefits everyone at your organization. Paying attention to your team members as they speak shows them you’re willing to open the floor to them and seriously consider their ideas. Team members who actively listen also hear most, if not all, of what they need to do great work. 

4 Missing information 

Sometimes, key information for a task or project simply isn’t shared with the people who need it. That’s rarely intentional, and it can be hard to control until well afterward. In fact, a team member might have no idea they’re working with incomplete information until you notice it. You might not find out either until the team member gets confused enough to ask for help or does poor work. Sharing all the necessary information from the get-go is your best way to solve the problem here.

5 Assumptions of previous knowledge

It’s always best not to assume that every team member brings the same knowledge to the table. For example, let’s say someone misses a meeting, so you email them the meeting notes . But what if they’re one of those people that misses emails because they’re so focused on work? In that case, they’re at a higher risk of getting something wrong. So don’t assume they have that previous knowledge – check in with them another way to make sure you’re on the same page.

6 Misaligned expectations 

Lofty goals – especially SMART goals – can help your team check all its boxes more efficiently and effectively. They can also sink the ship if you aren’t clear on them. Maybe a team member thinks you’re expecting them to hit a certain mark when you actually expect them to go further. You can’t just go back and make up all that lost time when they submit work that isn’t fully there. Be clear on your expectations from the start to avoid this miscommunication.

7 Insufficient leadership 

This factor in poor communication can be the root of all your other communication issues. For example, your team depends on your organization’s leadership to deliver company updates and additional important information. When that leadership is absent, most teams are left without information and motivation. That’s a recipe for flawed work – but you can avoid it. 

Communication is the key to success

The larger your organization grows, the more important clear, consistent communication becomes. Think about it like this: The seeds for many of your favorite products came from meetings, where communication got them out on the table. Continued communication also grew these seeds into the products you love.  For similarly productive meetings, turn to Fellow . With Fellow, you can collaborate on meeting agendas and note-taking while keeping track of action items. You can also seek feedback to help you communicate more effectively. No matter what you’re working on, Fellow can help start – and continue – the conversation.

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13 ways to fix poor communication in the workplace

When there’s poor communication in the workplace, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of corporate compliance and other workplace issues.

December 22, 2020

two businessmen talking

Article highlights

It can feel overwhelming to not only stay on top of corporate compliance issues but also effectively communicate relevant information to employees. And when there’s poor communication in the workplace, that only compounds the difficulty.

Imagine this:   you’ve recently updated an important policy and you need to get the word out to all of your employees. Depending on the situation and size of your organization, you might hold an in-person staff meeting, send an email, hold a phone conference, or conduct a video meeting.

Regardless of how you communicate, the goal is to ensure that all employees understand the policy change and how it impacts their jobs.

But effective communication in the workplace can be tricky, including both casual, one-on-one conversations and formal, corporate communications. While they are both intertwined, the way to think about each of them is unique and issues that arise from poor communication are different for each.

Of course, if the people conveying information on behalf of the organization have poor communication skills, the efforts are doomed to fail (this might make a good training session for employees needing to boost their interpersonal skills.)

But what about the more formal, organizational communication efforts? How can you improve communication at work?

Before you can look at solving communication problems at work, it helps to first look at the problems that get in the way of effective communication.

Why is organizational communication so difficult?

If you’ve ever had a misunderstanding with a friend or family member because of a   communication misfire , you’ve seen first-hand how situations can quickly unravel.

One person conveys one message but the other person receives a completely different message.

A variety of issues come into play on all sides (sender, receiver, and message), including tone of voice, faulty listening, missing information, assumptions of previous knowledge, and unclear explanations. And that’s just person-to-person communication.

Factor in a one-to-many communication effort and you can just imagine the fallout that might occur from a poorly executed effort.

Team communication (like a top-down attempt to convey a policy change to all employees) is anything but simple.

How to fix poor organizational communication in your workplace

With a broad understanding of the issues at play, you can learn how to improve communication at work by following the guidelines below.

1. Establish baseline communication standards

Create a set of standards by which your company communicates both internally and externally. This will build a solid foundation on which future communication efforts can be built.

Depending on your organization’s needs, you might create brand guidelines, conduct communication training, or something else.

Consider, for example, when you order a meal at Chick-Fil-A. Every time, employees end their customer interaction with the phrase “my pleasure.” That’s no coincidence – it’s a communication standard set by the company for how it wants the business to be perceived.

This doesn’t just apply to customer-facing communication. How do you want employees, team members, direct reports, or your board of directors to perceive you, your work, and your communication effort?


2. Create a safe space for communication

Employees need to feel comfortable voicing their opinions, offering ideas, reporting issues, asking questions, and sharing criticism.

Whether you look at this from a top-down perspective (both to and from direct reports and leadership) or horizontal (colleagues and team members), your organization needs to create a safe communication environment on all levels and in all directions.

For direct reports, they need to feel comfortable bringing issues to you, knowing they’re in a safe space when communicating within the set standards mentioned above.

For your leadership, you need to feel comfortable approaching them with issues. If not, gently force the issue to uncover the reasons why it isn’t a safe space for broaching problems with them.

While horizontal communication focuses more on personal communication skills, it’s important to recognize issues that could arise from poor communication at this level. Plus, it underscores the need to support each other in fostering a safe space to share questions and concerns.

3. Must be consistent and constant

When it comes to communication in the workplace, employees should be able to rely on consistent efforts. By setting standards as mentioned above, communication should sound consistent.

But it goes beyond that. Effective communication in the workplace should come through consistent channels and vehicles and people.

Don’t keep people guessing, and don’t overwhelm them with too many channels. Employees should be able to expect when changes or big announcements are coming and know the go-to source for getting updates. Thus, they should realize that if they miss one team meeting or email, they’ll be left behind.

This requires constant communication, not a one-and-done effort. If the only time employees hear from leadership is when a major problem or change crops up, they will begin to fear communication from those leaders.

That’s the exact opposite of what you’re striving for – a safe environment. Instead, they should be accustomed to hearing what’s going on and getting some warning (when appropriate) that change is afoot.


4. Set clear norms and expectations

While this resembles the advice to set standards, it’s more about the “how” of workplace communication in terms of the channel, the frequency, and the expectations.

Does it happen through email, in face-to-face meetings, via employee surveys, or some other mode of communication? What is the expectation for checking email after hours or on weekends? What is the norm for answering phone calls or text outside of the office?

For teams that work together over long periods of time, these norms develop naturally.

However, the business landscape changes at rapid speed, and what once worked a few years ago might no longer be effective.

Plus, although new technology makes communication easier, it often doesn’t convey body language, tone of voice, and other nuances of face-to-face discussions.

Therefore, it’s good to regularly address the “how” of effective communication at work.

5. Proactively seek feedback

Alarmingly, research from Gallup shows that more than 50% of American employees aren’t engaged at work. That could result in high turnover, decreased productivity, and dissatisfied staff.

Rather than wait for employees to approach higher-ups with issues, the company should be taking the initiative to seek their input.

Good workplace communication needs to be a two-way street if you want engaged employees who feel valued and motivated.

An obvious first step could be to conduct   employee engagement surveys   to get feedback. By regularly surveying employees, leadership can collect feedback and drill down into the data needed to monitor issues, improve workplace culture, and boost employee engagement.

However, surveys aren’t the only way to seek employee input.

Other feedback-gathering methods range from informal, one-on-one discussions to adding a Q&A component to weekly staff meetings.

The key is to integrate two-way communication efforts throughout the business to regularly collect authentic employee input.

6. Leverage technology the right way

Everyone agrees that email saves time, reduces paper costs, and is an environmentally friendly business practice.

But it’s not always an effective way to communicate. Just because you send an email doesn’t mean all recipients comprehend the contents or are able to adjust their day-to-day jobs in the way you want.

This especially holds true for official communication that requires action. Furthermore, assuming that employees will   read and comply with important emails   can put your business at risk.


7. Master your meetings

Meetings are the mainstay for most companies, especially businesses wondering how to improve communication in the workplace.

They can be both a blessing and a curse.

On the one hand, they can be a productive way to get multiple people aligned and working toward the same goals. However, if run poorly or have too many extraneous people involved, meetings can have the opposite impact.

If you’re seeing communication issues in their workplace, meetings can be a quick win and easy adjustment.

Simple but effective strategies here include keeping meetings short, sending an agenda ahead of time, staying on topic, inviting only those people whose presence is truly needed and outlining clear action steps you want participants to take after the meeting.

8. Get control of mobile communication

Mobile technology isn’t going anywhere, but it presents unique communication opportunities and challenges.

It’s crucial to get control of how your organization communicates and how it expects others to   communicate while mobile .

Again, this is part expectation-setting and part adapting to the changing landscape in a proactive, positive way.

9. Communication with remote employees

Remote employees are no longer an anomaly – they’re commonplace in businesses of every size.

If you have remote employees, you’ve got some means to bridge the location gap, including chat apps, video conferencing, and cloud tools. However, it’s easy for communication with remote employees to fall through the cracks, even if it’s not intentional.

According to research on “the deskless workforce” by   Zogby Analytics , 38% of remote workers cited a lack of information and 39% cited the timeliness of information as the most common obstacles to their efficiency.

That’s why it’s incumbent upon the onsite team to include remote workers in informal conversations and ad-hoc discussions.

This can prove difficult at times, but it’s key to making them a part of the team. It might even take extra effort by the manager and leadership to keep remote employees abreast of what’s happening with both the team and the company.

10. Collaboration in the cloud

Cloud-based tools can be a godsend in getting work done and offer new ways to communicate within the organization.

However, they are fraught with landmines as digital communication doesn’t provide an opportunity to convey context or nuance or tone. What you think is a harmless comment or suggestion may not always be received that way.

This is especially true for leaders who might feel they are making helpful suggestions, but instead, employees take these “suggestions” as direct orders.

11. Make internal documents easily accessible

Employees are busy enough without having to spend a lot of time looking for internal documents. This is especially true for having to ask around for basic information like holiday schedules or vacation policies.

Besides wasting time and draining productivity, it frustrates employees to not even know where to find important documents and key information they need to do their jobs. Help employees   easily access policies , procedures, guidelines, and other crucial information, making everything readily available and easy to find.

Not only will this improve communication in the workplace, but it will also empower employees to stay informed.

12. Break down communication silos

Silos exist in many organizations, even small businesses. When employees only focus on their own roles, departments, or objectives, they’re not collaborating with others.

Sometimes this means missed communication, where one department doesn’t know what the other is doing or worse, inadvertently undermines what another department is trying to accomplish. Other times, this means they lose out on the fresh perspective that comes with collaborative efforts – crucial for understanding the “big picture.”

But to improve communication in the workplace, you must be committed to breaking down silos when they are discovered. Include employees in the decision-making processes.

Let those who need to know be a part of the conversation. And be as transparent as you can be.

13. Accountability

By taking the above steps (and doing them well), it gives you the freedom to hold employees accountable to the expectations you set. It also allows you to track who is and isn’t doing what’s being asked.

If you get this out of order and attempt to hold people accountable without fixing the other communication issues, it won’t work and employees will resist the changes being made.

Policy management tools like   PowerDMS help you streamline how you manage your crucial documents. PowerDMS condenses cabinets full of paper into a central, secure, searchable online system – easy for employees to find, access, and use. Plus, it automatically disseminates, collects signatures on, and tracks your organization’s important policies and procedures so you know who has received and acknowledged each communication. Get key information on policy management and how it can help your organization here .

Admittedly, it can feel daunting to solve communication issues in the workplace. But understanding the internal roadblocks and following the guidelines above should empower you to improve communication at work.

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how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

11 Major Communication Problems in the Workplace

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

Communication is a core leadership function. Besides giving and receiving information it also creates a culture, allows employees to discuss and give feedback, boosts engagement, lessens turnover, helps your employees to get an idea of the company vision and values, supports change, manages crisis, and much more. Leave the communications without your attention – and major problems in various fields are likely to arise.

This article will guide you through 11 key characteristics of poor communication, and give you a solution for each problem. In addition to describing those serious communication concerns, we will be going through some industry specific communication issues in this article, too.

Let’s have a look at eleven major internal communication concerns and why they matter so much.

11 Communication Problems in the Workplace

Manufacturing workers and an internal communication problem quote that says "Lack of information leads to gossip, which could add another crisis on top of the challenges you are already dealing with".

1. Reactivity Instead of Proactivity

The need for proactive behavior usually rises during the times of changes, such as mergers, acquisitions or crises. The word “reactive” in itself implies that the control of the events are in someone else’s hands and you are already dealing with a communication emergency.

On the other hand, being proactive allows you to plan and make choices beforehand and adjust your next messages based on the employee feedback. Lack of information leads to gossip, which could add another crisis on top of the challenges you are already dealing with.

Effective communication means communicating before, during and after change, not just updating staff members after everything has already happened. When you expect a change to happen or see a crisis coming, ask your communication team to participate in the strategy or project planning from the very first meeting.

Female worker in safety clothing using a smart phone and an internal communication quote saying "Information that is not accessible to HR or IC staff is extremely difficult to discredit."

2. Shadow Communications

Private messages and calls do have their time and place in business communication, however the regular use of social media for business communication is a possible threat. If the company’s management sets an example by sharing information via Facebook or WhatsApp chats, private conversations between employees arise that are no longer controlled by the management. This creates something called shadow communications.

However, conversations that happen in the shadow are ideal for the emergence of misinformation and gossip. Sadly, information that is not accessible to HR or communications staff is also extremely difficult to discredit.

Shadow communications can also rise when the tools given out to employees are unfit for the job. Therefore, the solution here is very straightforward: establish official communication channels and give out tools that actually cater for your employees’ needs.

3. Using the Wrong Tool

A large group email with no option for targeting, a notice board in the other side of the town that needs to be manually updated, information screens with no option for two-way communication and a non-anonymous suggestion box are just a few painful examples.

Right tools get you the result you want and do it in a timely manner. Use communication tools that allow detailed targeting and create as little noise as possible. Choose modern solutions that do not require physical presence. Enable two-way communication and guarantee everyone’s privacy and security by providing anonymous ways to let you know of important problems. Cater to the needs of those with no computer access, too.

4. Leaving Everything on Front Line Managers

Front line managers shouldn’t be responsible for being the sole messengers for their team members, however, they often are. Rather, the company’s internal communication strategy should support their already highly complicated role.

Instead of encouraging staff members to post their questions and worries through their direct manager, provide them with a direct channel to reach the employee they need. Asking important questions out in the public can help other employees, too, who might have had the same questions, and will enable teamwork to get problems solved.

Healthcare workers using smart phones and an internal communication problem quote that says "Passive listening means hearing someone, not listening to them."

5. Not Listening Actively = Listening Passively

Some of put on background music for our workout sessions or play Netflix on the background when hanging with friends. That’s passive listening, and it ain’t all bad in itself. But there is little room for being passive in workplace communications.

Simply put: passive listening means hearing someone, not listening to them. Active listening encompasses providing feedback on what you just heard and mirroring each other’s thoughts to validate that you understood the other person correctly. It takes much more awareness of one’s behavior and some actual listening skills.

Instead of preparing your argument in your head while the other person is talking, develop your listening skills by being completely present and mirroring back. This way, you’ll remember the content better, too.

6. Leaving Someone Out of the Loop

This often happens in front line and first line employee communication, where differences between individual employees are huge, but are frequently looked past. Team members who have no corporate emails or devices, who are situated in a remote location or happen to have a toxic or passive manager become simply left out.

Although such employees might be just a phone call away, no internal communication manager in a 500-strong company should ever waste their the time to inform the employees in such a time-consuming manner.

How to invite every employee to the loop and avoid workplace communication problems? Choose a mobile-first communication tool that provides access via both computers as well as smartphones and tablets. Make sure that registering is possible via multiple ways: email, phone number, QR code or PIN code. Only choose a provider that caters for all of your company languages. Set up a few public tablet stands or allow people computer access. “Everyone” goes further than “everyone in the office”.

7. Communicating One-Way Only

Workplace communication problems start with a naive assumption that employees understand every piece of the information they are given and never have anything to ask. Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet, some managers still go for a communication solution that offers no option for questions, comments or feedback.

When choosing the right tools for communication in the workplace, go for solutions that boost employee engagement. Give them a voice: via comments section, report form, suggestion box, group discussions, post creation, feedback form, chat or pulse surveys. And leave some time for questions at the end of the meetings, too.

8. Lacking Communication Standards

It’s okay not to have perfectly designed visuals with your communication. But try to avoid sending out a big chunk of text and disregarding all the formatting options available. Same goes for body language and eye contact: the main communicators in your work team should be familiarized with the basics “Dos and Don’ts” at least.

If you notice that your CEO or another person might need some help with their email, written communication skills or communication ideas, gently nudge them to the right direction – it’s your unique skills that they have hired you for. Creating a standard for people in your business to follow might be a good idea, but make it simple so it doesn’t kill someone’s initiative or put them in a strict box.

Courier delivering a big parcel and an internal communication problem quote saying "If there ain't an easy way for the first line workers to share the positive customer feedback, they aren't gonna do it."

9. Letting Positive Feedback Go Missing

Imagine a pastry factory worker who never receives the excellent feedback for the special order he made. If there ain’t an easy way for the first line workers to share the positive customer feedback with other employees ASAP, they won’t do it. Or the feedback will get lost in the many emails between the multiple departments between those two people.

Create a channel in your internal communication channel that is meant for praise and good feedback only. The benefits of that are threefold: the message will actually reach the person it is intended to reach, all members in the team will get a boost of energy, and your business values will clearly stand out.

10. Irregular or Seldom Communication

There is no such thing as not communicating. Staying silent or being inconsistent is communication too, and it sends your people two clear messages: that you don’t know what you are doing, and that your employees aren’t your priority.

If your schedule is tight, establish a strategic approach: plan internal communication ahead using an Excel planner, schedule posts, engage other content creators and look into your IC analytics for how your communication patterns affect those of your employees. If you keep your employee relationships intact and active, chances are that when you really need to inform them ASAP, they are there to listen.

Construction workers on site, and an internal communication problem quote that says "If you repeatedly ask for employee input, but never provide feedback, expect employee motivation to die out."

11. Asking for Input & Not Following Up

Pulse surveys that ask employees to report on their well-being or satisfaction on a weekly basis are great. But neither following back nor telling them what decisions their answers have impacted leaves them wondering why you turned to them in the first hand. If you repeatedly ask for employee input, but never provide feedback, expect their motivation to die out.

Rather, make sure to do a monthly overview of employee-raised issues and their impact and provide overviews for eNPS, pulse or satisfaction survey results. This enhances business transparency and boosts engagement.

Industry-Specific Communication Problems

When it comes to communication challenges in an organization, much depends on the specific industry, too. For example, poor communication in a company with scattered workforce, such as in logistics, vs in a company with a complicated reporting line, such as in retail, have its differences. Let’s look at the main industries and its workplace communication challenges one by one.

Logistics & Warehousing

Logistics companies face a great selection of communication challenges, as couriers or drivers are on the road most of the time. Employees in such companies to be provided with mobile-first solutions.

Back in the warehouse, different communication challenges arise, such as how to report urgent safety concerns and getting feedback on how the fixing process is going.


An average manufacturing company usually has several factories in various locations. And if workplace communication means that news are distributed on leaflets or through front line managers, it is safe to assume that different employees receive information at very different times.

Another major issue that hinders productivity and employee engagement is knowing nothing about the end-user of the product you make. Positive customer feedback is often published on company social media or web page, but seldom sent back to its original creators.


Construction workers are scattered around various construction sites, meaning that they only see their direct colleagues, but have no picture of the organization as a whole. Mobile internal communication channels offer those employees an option to get to know the business as a whole, whereas email or a written message on a printed leaflet simply enlarge the gap between them and the organization.


Workplace communications in hospitality come with challenges encompassing both specific units and day-to-day messages as well as bigger, company-wide troubles. First of all, issues don’t reach the HQ or the senior management. Secondly, things are disorderly inside a hotel or restaurant, too. Housekeeping and reception employees are out of sync and rooms that need to be clean by 2 PM are untidy, whereas those of late arrivals are prepared first.

Retail & Wholesale

Mistakes in workplace communication often become evident in customer communications. Stores might be missing information on discount deals or be not up do date with the rules of the sales games launched by partners or brands. Or it could be prices or product info that are missing.

Sadly, it’s vice versa, too: issues with clients or products reach HQ with huge delays, as emails or static mobile-last intranets just won’t do the work for the hyper mobile retail employees.

Energy & Utilities

Scattered workforce in the energy and utilities sector makes developing working relationships extremely difficult. Such employees might have never been to your office, and therefore, are difficult to reach to brief on work tasks or hear back from. Information is delivered to them via one-on-one conversations, so getting to know the staff never really happens.

How to Turn from Problems into Effective Communication?

As you probably already know by now, it all starts with the right tool: the one that’s inclusive, mobile-first and affordable for a company with front line workers. The right tool will make it much easier for you to avoid the aforementioned 11 problems, too.

There are a lot of different communication tools available to aid the HR and IC departments in their pursuit of spreading and collecting information in the workplace. Dedicated HR tools such as GuavaHR act as a springboard for information sharing, group initiatives, project discussion and more to assist with lifted spirits and morale. Start communicating today!

Britt Velling

Customer Success Manager & Cofounder of GuavaHR

Britt is a psychology professional & communication fan with a background from journalism.

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12 tips for effective communication in the workplace

Julia Martins contributor headshot

Today, we’re in almost constant contact with our coworkers. You might not put a lot of thought into saying “hi” to your coworker, grabbing virtual coffee with a remote team member, or sending a gif of a cat wearing pajamas to your team—and that’s ok. Even though you’re communicating at work, there’s a difference between these types of messages and communication in the workplace.

Communication in the workplace refers to communication you do at work about work. Knowing when and how to effectively communicate at work can help you reduce miscommunication, increase team happiness, bolster collaboration, and foster trust. Teams that know how to communicate effectively about work are better prepared for difficult situations. But building good communication habits takes time and effort—and that’s where we come in. Here are 12 ways to take your workplace communication skills to the next level.

What does “workplace communication” mean?

Communication in the workplace can happen face-to-face, in writing, over a video conferencing platform, or in a group meeting. It can also happen in real time or asynchronously , which happens when you’re communicating about work over email, with recorded video, or in a platform like a  project management tool . Some examples of workplace communication include:

Team meetings

1:1 feedback sessions

Receiving information

Communicating about project status or progress

Collaboration on cross-functional tasks

Nonverbal communication

What makes communication good?

Now that you know what type of communication can be included in workplace communication, how do you start getting better at it? There are a few key tenets of good communication that you can use no matter the type of communication it is. In particular, good communication:

Aims for clarity. Whether you’re sending a Slack message, drafting an email, or giving an off-the-cuff reply, aim to clearly communicate your message.

Seeks to solve conflicts, not create them. The reason you’re communicating is to solve a problem or promote effective collaboration on a project or task. Good communication in the workplace can bring up blockers or provide feedback—but make sure the goal is to get to a better place than where you are now.

Goes both ways. Every instance of communication in the workplace is an exchange of information—even if one person is only communicating nonverbally.

The benefits of open workplace communication

Clear, effective workplace communication can:

Boost employee engagement and belonging

Encourage team buy-in

Increase productivity

Build a healthy workplace and organizational culture

Reduce conflict

Increase retention

7 tips for more effective communication in the workplace

Effective communication in the workplace is all about where, how, and when you’re communicating. Try these seven tips to become a stronger communicator.

1. Know where to communicate—and about what

Communication happens in many different forms—face-to-face, over email, via instant messages, and in work management platforms. To be most effective, make sure you’re following communication guidelines and messaging about the right things in the right places.

Sometimes, knowing where to communicate is half the battle. Your company may have different communication tools —which makes knowing which tool to use all the more important. Which tool is appropriate for your question or comment? Do you need to communicate in real time, or is it ok to send an asynchronous message? If you’re not sure, ask a team member or manager where you should be sending different types of messages. It is important for everyone to be on the same page. For example, at Asana, we use:

2. Build collaboration skills

Collaboration is the bedrock of effective teamwork. In order to build strong team collaboration skills , you need to practice open and honest communication. This doesn’t necessarily mean always agreeing on things—knowing how to disagree and work through those differences is a key part of collaboration, too.

Collaboration and communication skills are kind of a “chicken and egg” scenario. You can build good collaboration by communicating effectively—but knowing how to collaborate is a key component of strong communication. Essentially, this just means you’ll have to practice improving both collaboration and communication skills over time. As you improve team collaboration, you’ll get better at conveying information and opinions in a work environment—and as a result, that honest communication will make collaboration feel more effortless.

3. Talk face-to-face when you can

Perhaps the most tried-and-true way to avoid miscommunication is to talk face-to-face. If your team is virtual, speaking via video conferencing also works. Face-to-face communication is particularly important if you know a conversation is going to be hard. Tone can be difficult to communicate through writing so ideally, you want your team member to be able to see your facial expressions and body language.

If your team is remote or distributed, communicating via a phone call instead of a video conference could work as well.  Video conferencing fatigue  is real, and it can make collaboration and communication particularly difficult for remote teams. Communicating over the phone reduces some of the visual strain, while still giving you the ability to hear your team member’s voice and tone.

4. Watch your body language and tone of voice

Communication isn’t just about what you say—it’s also about how you say it. Make sure you aren’t crossing your arms or coming off as curt. Oftentimes, your body language may have nothing to do with the current situation—maybe you’re tired or stressed about something in your personal life. But your team members, who might not have that context, could see your actions and assume you’re angry or upset about something. Particularly for hard conversations, try to relax your body language and facial expressions to avoid giving off any unintentional cues.

5. Prioritize two-way communication

Listening is just as important to communication in the workplace as talking. Part of being a collaborative team member is listening to other people’s ideas instead of just trying to put your own ideas out there.

There are two common  types of listening : listening to reply and listening to understand. When you listen to reply, you’re focusing on what you’re going to say next, rather than what the other person is saying. With this type of listening, you risk missing key information or even repeating what the other person just said.

Instead, try to listen to understand—that is, listen to what the other person has to say without thinking about how you’re going to reply. If you do think of something you want to say, jot it down so you can go back to listening to understand , instead of trying to remember the thing you want to say next.

6. Stick to facts, not stories

“Facts vs. stories”  is a technique recommended by the co-founder of the Conscious Leadership Group, Diana Chapman. In this case, “facts” are things that have actually happened—things that everyone in the room would easily agree on. A “story,” on the other hand, is your interpretation of the situation.

For example, say your manager gives you live feedback during a small team meeting. That is a fact. You weren’t expecting the feedback, and you feel like your manager shared the feedback—instead of saving it for your 1:1—because they’re dissatisfied with your work. This is a “story” because you have no way of knowing if this is true or not.

Stories are inevitable—we all create stories from facts. But try to separate stories from facts, and avoid acting on stories until you’re able to validate them. For example in this case, you might want to talk to your manager during your next 1:1 and ask why they shared feedback in a team meeting.

7. Make sure you’re speaking to the right person

Effective workplace communication is as much about who you’re talking to as it is about what you’re saying. Poor communication often occurs when you’re talking to the wrong people, or trying to share information in the wrong setting.

To avoid this, make sure the right people are in the room or receiving the message. If you aren’t sure who that would be, go through an exercise to identify any important  project stakeholders  who might be missing.

5 tips to build leadership communication skills

If you’re a leader, you have the power to set and establish communication conventions on your team. Strong communication can build healthy company culture , trust among your employees, and break down silos between cross-functional teams. Here’s how:

1. Address any underlying changes

Before you start improving your team’s communication skills, ensure there are no underlying issues that keep everyone from communicating honestly. Does everyone feel comfortable talking openly? Is there anything that might make a team member feel like they can’t be their full selves?

One of the most valuable things you can do as a leader is to make sure your employees feel comfortable showing up to work as their whole selves (or as much of themselves as they want to bring). Whether that means voicing disagreements, talking about their passions outside of work, or being honest about what type of communication works best for them—make sure to understand each team member’s needs, and ensure they’re being met in the team environment.

quotation mark

One theme that kept coming up in our employee engagement surveys was that we could improve information sharing and communication across the organization, so we looked for a way to do that.”

2. Frequently ask for feedback

If you don’t ask for feedback on your communication style, you may never get it. Even though communication in the workplace impacts every other interaction, team members might not immediately think of it as something to provide feedback on. By asking your employees for feedback on your communication style, you can continue to improve and develop clear communication strategies for your team.

3. Understand team communication styles

Another effective way to communicate with your team is to ask them how they want to communicate. Communication preferences shouldn’t be a secret—or a guessing game—and knowing off the bat if your team members prefer video conferences or phone calls, early morning meetings or afternoon jam sessions, can help you create an environment where they can thrive.

Important questions to ask include:

Are they an early bird or a night owl?

Do they like structured meetings or prefer free-flow brainstorming sessions?

Do they do their best thinking out loud, on the spot, or on paper?

What personality type do they identify with: introvert, extrovert, or ambivert?

Do they feel like they know their team members, or would they prefer more team bonding activities?

What type of meetings or tasks are most energizing for them?

4. Make time for team building or icebreakers

Getting to know your team is a critical part in knowing how to communicate with them. It’s particularly important to make time to get to know your team outside of a workplace setting. Icebreaker questions can help bring an element of personality and fun to every meeting, so consider starting with a light chat before diving into your meeting agenda.

5. Set the tone

Remember: the way you communicate and collaborate will impact your entire team. It’s up to you to set the standard for open and clear communication in the workplace. Once you set and communicate this standard, your team will follow suit.

Every few months, make a note to check back in on how everyone is feeling about team communication. Are there any habits that have cropped up in the last few months that you want to cull or encourage? Regularly thinking about how your team communicates—instead of “setting and forgetting” your team practices—can help you be more intentional about your communication methods.

As an organization grows, communication starts to bottleneck. At Hope for Haiti, we’ve seen those inefficiencies hurt us: when we can’t run like a well-oiled machine, we’re not serving as many people as we could be—and it’s our responsibility to improve upon that.”

More types of workplace communication

Most discussions about communication in the workplace assume the “workplace” is in person. But there are a variety of ways to communicate across different locations—from global offices to remote teams. Most communication best practices still apply to any type of team, but there are a few additional considerations and best practices you can use to help team members truly connect.

Distributed teams

Distributed teams work across multiple national or global offices. These teams might span different time zones and languages, and each office will have its own culture and habits. Don’t expect each distributed team to communicate in the same way—in fact, one of the advantages of distributed teams is the variety of thought you’re exposed to by working with teammates from all over the world.

If you work on a distributed team, it’s critical to over-communicate so that team members in different time zones and offices stay in the loop. Make sure to document everything in a central source of truth that team members can access when they’re online, and look for a tool that updates in real-time so no one has to slow down due to information lag.

Keep in mind that time zones might affect how people come to a conversation. Try to schedule meetings when everyone is available, or offer recordings and notes if team members can’t make it. It’s also critical to double check that the right people are in the loop, and that they aren’t just being left out because they’re in a different office than the majority of your team.

Online coworkers

If you’re working with a virtual team, it’s critical to establish where you’re going to communicate and how frequently. Knowing exactly what each communication tool should be used for can help team members feel connected—even while they’re remote.

While working remotely, we’ve had to re-learn how to communicate in many ways. Slack, Asana, and integrations between these tools has replaced or supplemented a lot of in-person ways we used to communicate.”

Remote team members can feel siloed and disconnected from one another, so consider doing an exercise with your entire team about preferred communication habits. Some team members might love cold calls, while others might prefer scheduled meetings with clear agendas. Because team members have fewer chances to interact in person, it’s critical to establish these preferences as a team, so you can keep the communication channels open.

Finally, make sure to bring team members in for regular team bonding events. Whether you’re doing  icebreaker activities  at the beginning of every meeting or scheduling some time to just chat at the end of each week, dedicated team time can help team members connect no matter where they’re dialing in from.

The cherry on top of effective workplace communication

The last component of clear communication is having a central source of truth for all of your communication and work information. Using a centralized system like a  work management tool  can help you coordinate work across all levels of your team. Learn more about how work management makes project coordination and communication easier in our  introduction to work management article .

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Last updated on: December 16, 2022

Quality communication is the lifeblood of collaboration and productivity. Good communication ensures that we understand our professional surroundings and our individual responsibilities, and provides all the necessary information to perform our tasks effectively. Furthermore, we interact with our colleagues through different forms of communication, thus not only strengthening interpersonal relationships but also fueling collaboration and knowledge exchange. 

Team communication involves a varying number of participants, performs a variety of functions, and takes place in a variety of directions. With so many moving parts, there is a nearly infinite number of potential challenges that can cause communication breakdowns and disruptions . 

In this article, we will examine some of the most common communication challenges in the workplace and provide suggestions on how to overcome them.  

How to overcome 14 common communication challenges in the workplace - cover

Table of Contents

Challenge #1: Lack of communication

This one seems obvious, doesn’t it? Many organizations, however, struggle with providing a sufficient amount of information, whether it’s work-related info, available knowledge resources, news updates, or simply room for active discussion. 

🔸 Why is the lack of communication a problem in the workplace?

Lack of communication creates a sense of isolation which, over time, can lead to a sense of disassociation from the organization and decrease the engagement and the emotional investment into their work. Furthermore, lack of communication can lead to important information being lost or delayed and create a vacuum in which rumors and hearsay can further disrupt the environment. Most critically, lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and breakdowns in individual and collaborative work. 

🔸 How to overcome lack of communication: 

Primarily, organizations need to provide a comprehensive communication platform that enables both active discussion and effective distribution of information. The role of organizations, however, is not limited to providing the means of communication. Instead, organizations need to make communication a habit , keeping everyone in the loop through company-wide emails and messages, newsletters, intranet updates, all-hands meetings, etc. 

Challenge #2: Information overload

Contemporary workplace communication requires a substantial body of information. However, organizations can easily cross the line between providing team members with all the necessary information and overwhelming them with excessive information. This leads to information overload — more emails, more company-wide memos, more meetings, more shared files, and questionably useful links. 

🔸 Why is information overload a problem in the workplace?

Team members need space for focused work, and constant distractions disrupt the individual work process. Requiring team members to process more information than is necessary is not only wasteful to their time and mental capacities but also leads to disengagement and demotivation, which in turn result in decreased productivity and general disconnection.

🔸 How to overcome information overload:

Finding the right balance between enough and too much information is an empirical process that’s different for every team. As organizations strive to establish the optimal communication and information flow, they should prioritize quality over quantity, limit their content distribution channels, filter information for increased clarity, and continually assess the ratio of time spent on processing information and the value it provides. 

💡 Information overload and overcommunication are often considered synonymous, but the practices are quite different. Read on to learn more about the importance of overcommunication !

Challenge #3: Lack of formal communication structure

Professional communication includes not only active discussion but also effective distribution of information. A clear structure of communication and information channels ensures that everyone has quick and efficient access to all relevant information. This includes everything from news and updates, across policies, work tools, and knowledge resources, all the way to direct communication lines. The absence of structure leads to confusion and ineffectiveness. 

🔸 Why is the lack of formal communication structure a problem in the workplace? 

Unstructured communication can create a variety of communication breakdowns. Important information gets lost, delayed, or overlooked, time is wasted seeking information, relevant connections aren’t established, and so on. All of these issues impact not only the quality of communication but the performance itself. 

🔸 How to overcome the lack of formal communication structure:

The organization of clear and efficient communication and information lines needs to be one of the top communication priorities for all organizations. 

The goal is to provide access to all relevant information, resources, and people as practically and efficiently as possible. This can be achieved by any combination of team chat apps, Intranets, newsletters, bulletin boards, cross-department workgroups, open-door policies, and other means and resources. 

The choice of these means and resources will depend on the preferences of an organization, and it is important to note that organizations don’t need to utilize all of them. Instead, they need to focus on covering all the necessities with as few tools as possible, in order to avoid information and technology overload.

Challenge #4: Self-censoring due to social status

Status consciousness represents the awareness of team members of their status within the organization’s hierarchy, which dictates their behavior towards those in lower or higher positions.

🔸 Why is self-censoring due to social status a problem in the workplace?

Status consciousness can discourage team members from expressing their concerns, discussing the issues they experience, and communicating negative information to their superiors. Conversely, it can also prevent team leaders and upper management from considering the input of their subordinates. Both scenarios represent a strong communication barrier . 

🔸 How to overcome self-censoring due to social status: 

In order to prevent the negative manifestations of status consciousness, organizations need to encourage open and honest communication on all levels. This is achieved systematically, by installing open and transparent channels of communication that enable upward communication , as well as individually, by seeking and encouraging input from subordinates. 

Challenge #5: Concealing or softening negative information

The practice of concealing or softening negative information is called message filtering . This practice arises from fear of repercussions or a desire to present oneself more favorably. Message filtering can take place both upwards, from subordinates reporting to their superiors, and in downwards communication from the management to the employees .

🔸 Why is concealing or softening negative information a problem in the workplace?

Filtering messages in order to conceal negative information can result in greater damages further down the road, as existing issues remain unresolved and critical information that can help identify and correct those issues is withheld. 

🔸 How to overcome concealing or softening negative information:

Message filtering can be decreased or eliminated by fostering an open and safe environment where team members can address negative situations and admit mistakes without fear of punishment.

Challenge #6: Lack of cross-team coordination

Communication and coordination are the two essential elements of collaboration . 

Lack of coordination takes place when different parties involved in a collaboration fail to fully communicate all relevant aspects of their shared work. 

Whether between members of the same team, between different teams, or different organizations, poor coordination results in a lack of understanding of how the collaboration is supposed to work and how the individual pieces fit together in this plan. 

🔸 Why is the lack of cross-team coordination a problem in the workplace? 

Poor coordination can have damaging effects on the collaborative process. Different parties work in varying degrees of isolation without fully understanding what the other sides are doing and how it all comes together. This leads to ineffective work, repeat activities, and can cause dissatisfaction and conflicts. Coordination is necessary to maximize the time and skills of individual collaborators.

🔸 How to overcome the lack of cross-team coordination:

Lack of coordination essentially represents a failure to communicate. Coordination starts by clearly communicating the purpose and the mechanics of the collaboration from its very inception. This includes clearly defining the team goals, the individual roles and responsibilities, and the plan that binds the individual contributions into a team effort. 

Furthermore, organizations need to establish clear lines of communication between the collaborators and maintain them throughout the course of the collaboration. 

If coordination breakdowns do take place, organizations need to identify the root cause in team communication and adjust the communication lines. 

Challenge #7: Information silos

An information silo is a situation in which important information is not shared between all relevant parties. Instead, it remains exclusive to certain teams or individuals within the organization. It is caused by a combination of poor communication practices, absence of trust, lack of transparency, and low collaboration between different parts of an organization. 

🔸 Why are information silos a problem in the workplace? 

Information silos can have many damaging effects on the work process. They lead to wasting time, as relevant information is not readily available. Furthermore, they can result in duplicate work, ineffectiveness, and delays. Additionally, they cause mistrust, friction, and rivalry between different teams. 

🔸 How to overcome information silos:

There are no quick-fix solutions for breaking down information silos . It requires a comprehensive approach that includes improving cross-team communication, increasing transparency and visibility of the efforts of teams and individuals, encouraging an open culture of knowledge-sharing, and establishing and promoting collaboration between different parts of an organization. 

Challenge #8: Lack of feedback

Effective two-way communication is one of the pillars of modern collaborative work. Two-way feedback is one of the most important aspects of work communication, as it not only informs team members of their work, but also helps identify any emerging issues, increases employee engagement, and helps shape and improve the work process. The lack of feedback robs organizations of these valuable insights. 

🔸 Why is the lack of feedback a problem in the workplace?

Irregular and inadequate feedback can cause both immediate and long-term issues. Without feedback, team members lack clarity and directions regarding their work, which can negatively impact their performance. Feedback can provide team members with a sense of visibility and recognition of their work, while lack of feedback can lead to demotivation and disengagement with the work and the organization. Lack of employee feedback prevents organizations from recognizing existing internal challenges and thus improving the processes. 

🔸 How to overcome the lack of feedback:

Lack of feedback is resolved by systematically providing and seeking out feedback. It starts with establishing channels that enable and encourage upward communication. Furthermore, team leaders and managers need to regularly provide and encourage feedback through 1-on-1 interviews, team meetings, and employee surveys. In this process, it is important that organizations don’t stop at providing and gathering information, but to follow through and act upon it when necessary.

Challenge #9: Lack of knowledge-sharing

Collective knowledge is the greatest resource of any organization. However, the knowledge of individuals and teams is not always made accessible to whole organizations, thus limiting their collective potential. Effective knowledge management is one of the most important tasks for organizations.

🔸 Why is the lack of knowledge-sharing a problem in the workplace?

Lack of knowledge-sharing significantly limits the overall potential of an organization. When valuable know-how isn’t shared effectively on an organization level, organizations run the risk of losing that know-how when individuals leave a company. This requires additional time and resources to recruit and train employees and provide them with the necessary experience that enriches their skill set. Furthermore, active knowledge-sharing increases the sense of recognition of individual team members, thus improving employee engagement and retention.

🔸 How to overcome the lack of knowledge-sharing:

In order to improve knowledge-sharing, organizations should strive to build and maintain a dedicated knowledge base that gathers its specialized know-how. Additionally, organizations need to actively incentivize knowledge-sharing by providing a platform, recognizing and rewarding individual efforts, and encouraging collaboration between disparate individuals and teams.  

Challenge #10: Lack of engagement

In the context of internal communications, organizations are essentially content hubs. If team members don’t engage with and respond to the content that the company produces, if they feel disassociated from its proclaimed vision and values, it can be a symptom of faulty communication practices. 

🔸 Why is the lack of engagement a problem in the workplace? 

Employees that are responsive to the organization’s messages and engaged with its guiding principles are more driven and motivated to contribute to the success of the whole. Conversely, disengaged employees are less motivated and invested in the shared work, which hinders their performance and their commitment. 

🔸 How to overcome the lack of engagement:

Lack of engagement is usually the result of a number of factors, not all of which are rooted in poor communication practices. However, communication is certainly a contributing factor. When formulating and distributing messages, organizations should consider the following aspects: the relevance of the message to the receiver, the optimal amount of information, clarity of information, the optimal channels of distribution, and the possibility of feedback. 

Challenge #11: Poor written communication

In a modern work setting, a large volume of communication takes place in writing. The quality of business writing represents the organization. While poor grammar, weak sentence structure, and general disregard for tidiness is acceptable in informal work communication, it has no place in company-wide communication and distribution of information. Poorly written communication also includes heavy use of professional jargon and slang, as well as disregard for language barriers. 

🔸 Why is poorly written communication a problem in the workplace? 

Official written communication, in its many forms, is a reflection of an organization. Grammatical errors, lack of clarity, structure, and order in written communication damages the perception of the organization in the eyes of employees, suggesting a lack of professionality and attention to detail. More importantly, it can also have practical consequences, as poorly worded messages (such as unclear directions, jargon-filled text, complex wording, etc.) can create confusion and uncertainty, which can have a negative effect on both employee performance and satisfaction.

🔸 How to overcome poorly written communication: 

The primary purpose of company-wide communication is to be clearly understood. Many organizations hire communications specialists to handle the creation and distribution of company-wide content. If that is not the case, content creators should at the very least use different grammar tools and involve others in the process to ensure the quality, clarity, and relevance of written communication. The language needs to be plain and easily understandable

Challenge #12: Negative attitudes

Workplace communication is often impeded by attitudinal barriers , defined as behaviors or perceptions that prevent people from communicating effectively. Negative attitudes are primarily influenced by common variables such as age, gender, education, experience, upbringing, lifestyle, or race, and are commonly expressed through behaviors such as prejudice, stereotyping, or emotionality.

🔸 Why are negative attitudes a problem in the workplace? 

Negative attitudes are divisive by nature, meaning that they tend to sow misunderstanding, disagreement, and conflict. They not only hinder effective communication but also disrupt team cohesion and collaboration.

🔸 How to overcome negative attitudes: 

Negative attitudes are rarely rooted in communication, but they can be either exacerbated or managed through communication. While negative attitudes are quite varied and (if needed) should be addressed by team leaders and HR professionals, organizations should tailor their communication to prevent the emergence or nourishment of negative attitudes by being respectful and inclusive to all team members, using affirmative tone and language that focuses on positives, and encouraging feedback. Negative attitudes can be further minimized by encouraging collaboration and eliminating team hierarchies to ensure that everyone has an equal say. 

Challenge #13: Time zones

This challenge is specific to organizations and teams distributed across distant geographical locations. However, as remote work continues to gain a stronger foothold in the professional market, this challenge also continues to grow in importance. 

🔸 Why are different time zones a problem in the workplace? 

Team members working in different time zones present a specific set of practical operational challenges. As overlapping work hours between geographically dispersed team members are limited or non-existent, the communication unavoidably takes on a different shape. The primary challenge is inconsistent communication and collaboration which can result in unnecessary delays, overlooked messages, and productivity drops. Additional challenges include narrow meeting windows, lack of social interaction, and lack of opportunities for individual recognition. 

🔸 How to overcome different time zones: 

Organizations can overcome this communicational challenge by adhering to the best practices of working across time zones . These practices include prioritizing clear and effective written communication, embracing asynchronous communication rooted in clearly defined team roles and clear processes and guidelines, collective adoption of communication tools, and the respect of both professional boundaries and cultural differences. 

Challenge #14: Technology

In today’s day and age, communication is increasingly fueled by technology. For organizations with multiple offices, as well as the ever-growing number of organizations opting for a remote or a hybrid work model, technology is the only way to keep their disparate parts connected and engaged in shared work.

🔸 Why is technology a problem in the workplace? 

Organizations that struggle to accept digital communication tools provide their competitors with a clear competitive edge. Not only do they fail to capitalize on the obvious benefits of modern communication technology (immediacy, cost-effectiveness, bridging of geographies, etc.), but they also run the risk of missing out on talents now expecting a more flexible work environment.

🔸 How to overcome technology challenges: 

Organizations need to carefully consider their technological infrastructure for communication. Today’s work landscape requires a comprehensive communication platform that handles all communication needs of an organization — from direct communication to information and knowledge sharing. Properly assessing the communicational needs is the first step towards choosing the best team communication tools for their specific setting.  

In conclusion: A challenge is an opportunity to communicate better 

As the global workforce grows more physically distant and reliant on technology, effective internal communication becomes one of the crucial aspects of organizational structure. The emergence of different communication challenges needs to be perceived not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to reassess the communication structure and improve the information flow and professional interactions.

The scenarios highlighted in this blog post represent common occurrences in many workplaces. They are here to help you identify similar challenges in your own professional surroundings and manage them constructively. Rather than causing stress and dissatisfaction, identifying communication challenges should be seen as an opportunity to improve the way we interact with fellow professionals and communicate better for a more fulfilling and productive workplace.

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Dunja Jovanovic is a content manager at Pumble, leading a team of communication authors and researchers. She has been researching and writing about communication and psychology, especially in a professional setting, since her university days. As she has been working remotely since the beginning of her career, she likes helping others not only survive but also thrive in a virtual work environment.

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how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

Handling Communication Problems in the Workplace

Current issue

Miscommunication in the workplace is a common issue in many companies. Employees struggle with communication on all levels. From daily face-to-face communication to email communications, there are many examples of bad messages and bad understanding of the communication signs. 

There are ways to overcome these issues and the employees should give their best to maintain good communication . It is very important for the company to avoid communication problems in the workplace. That is why we reveal more about this subject. Keep reading to find out more. 

communication in the workplace

The most common communication problems

We can speak about the most common communication problems, and these are the result of the following issues:

Cultural differences

Lack of motivation, listening skills, written communication quality.

Many workplaces are full of international workers who come from different parts of the world. They all bring their cultural and national habits and customs. In this kind of atmosphere, miscommunication can occur very easily. Managers can struggle with bringing all the differences together, and that is the main role of the managers in the company. Their approach should be building blocks for diversity acceptance and cultural cohesion . 

At some point, there might be a lack of motivation that can be the single biggest problem in communication in the company. Employees can lose their interest in working on daily tasks and the lack of motivation can be present each day. 

To avoid this kind of problem, the employers must find the source of the bad motivation and they should try to reveal the reasons for this problem. Most of the employees will feel better if they see that the management tries to resolve the issues in the company. As a result, the communication will be better. 

A bad attitude of some employees can be a source of big communication issues, and this is all visible if an employee has ego issues that are overwhelming. Sometimes, the employees think they are better than others, and their approach can be very bad. As a result, there are communication problems in the workplace that occur very often. 

To make this problem disappear, an HR manager should point out what the main problem is. There might be a bad position of an employee that results in bad behavior. A good management system will reveal the main cause of the negative attitude within the company. 

You should have good listening skills in order to solve the problems with communication in the company. With listening skills, you can approach the employee with more concerns and with a positive attitude. If you are motivated to resolve the issues, that will be visible in your approach. 

You can use your listening skills to reveal more about the dynamics of the relationships in the company. It will be easier to find out the source of the problem. 

There are many emails, newsletters, and other written communication solutions that you use every day at work. These solutions can be perceived as inefficient and these can be a source of miscommunication in the workplace. 

Poor communication in the workplace example could be a bad email that is sent from an employee to other employees or clients. This can create big problems and it can create a bad atmosphere between workers. To avoid these problems, you should check each email before sending it to the relevant people. 

The single biggest problem with communication could be diverse and it could be a result of different situations. Each company can face communication problems in the workplace, but, fortunately, there are ways to avoid these problems and create a long-lasting positive atmosphere at work . 

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6 Ways to Tackle Communication Problems in Your Workplace

By laura birch.

how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

Good communication skills are essential—not only in our personal lives but also in our working lives. In order for work to flow smoothly and have good collaboration and teamwork to take place, there needs to be strong communication. With that in mind, below are 6 ways to tackle communication problems in your workplace.

Establish baseline communication standards

This means consciously taking a moment to decide how you want your message to come across. It is important for all employees to have standards of communication they expect to be upheld. Establishing and following a style will help you identify problems more easily and resolve them with less conflict later on. This is particularly important when dealing with difficult people . 

A lot of miscommunication happens because two people don't realize they're not on the same page. Don't be afraid to say you feel like you might be unclear or that it seems like someone doesn't understand what you're trying to communicate. A small comment can go a long way towards shifting your dynamics and resolving any problems before they turn into struggles and issues

Create a safe space for communication

In order for good communication to become the norm in an office, you have to establish a safe space wherein people feel comfortable speaking up if they are uncomfortable, need clarification or disagree with something. This is another way of helping each other out.

Just saying 'I might be wrong here, but it seems like…' will invite people to engage in conversation without feeling that either of you is accusing or aggressive. Passive aggressiveness only creates hostility and leaves people feeling unheard.

For instance, if you are in a meeting where things are not going the way you intended them to go, don't just sit there silently hoping for something to happen. If it is clear that no one is willing to take the lead or address your concerns, then be proactive. Acknowledge that you are feeling uncomfortable, that you want to raise the issue, but that it's hard for you to express your thoughts in this kind of atmosphere. Then try breaking the ice by asking if anyone wants to give their opinion before proposing something better.

Must be consistent and constant

Create a work environment where people are encouraged to be open. If someone asks you if they can speak to you about something, don't brush it off! Tell them that now is not the right time but that they can schedule it for some other time. Don't leave them hanging; be respectful of their time and of your own by reserving a block specifically to talk. Make sure you always follow through on these appointments.

Be aware of nonverbal communication

Non-verbals account for a lot of miscommunication between colleagues and the reason is that people often underestimate their importance– especially now . Not only does it work as a feedback system, allowing employees to know if they're being understood or completely missed, but it can even work to resolve problems.

For example, if there's something that needs to be resolved between two people then they can schedule a meeting in which one of them comes in with positive non-verbals (smiling, good eye contact, relaxed posture) while the other person comes dressed in negative ones (crossed arms, avoiding eye contact, tense shoulders).

Set clear norms and expectations

Setting clear norms and expectations is essential. This doesn't just mean being clear about your own paths but asking others for theirs as well. When you ask people what they want out of their job, what they like doing or don't like doing, it's a way of saying that their opinion matters to you, which in turn motivates them to do their best.

The most important thing is to be considerate of other people's feelings and thinking, but don't beat yourself up if you make mistakes. Most importantly, always keep the lines of communication open. You don’t want people to feel like you can’t be approached. 

Proactively seek feedback

Proactively seeking feedback is crucial in order to avoid any misunderstandings. If you encounter someone who isn't clear with you or seems to be misunderstanding your actions, ask them what they think is happening instead of assuming. You can also initiate a conversation by saying something along the lines of 'I just want to make sure I'm not coming off as bossy or anything, but I've noticed that you're not doing what I asked. Is there something else you'd rather be doing?'

Communication is key in any workplace. It has to be done carefully, tactfully and mindfully, or else it can lead to trouble. You don't want your employees hating their jobs; you want them to enjoy work as much as they enjoy life outside of work. Part of that equation is invariably strong and positive workplace communication.

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how to deal with communication problems in the workplace

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4 ways to combat workplace communication breakdowns.

Spend a day in any office, and you’ll quickly observe the multitude of different communication styles present in the workplace. Some people like to stick to facts and figures; others love to ask about your latest family vacation. Some people’s eyes glaze over if you start by diving into nitty-gritty details; others panic if you don’t start a project with a robust timeline in place.

What’s not quite so readily apparent is the impact these differences can have on the workplace.

A recent report by The Economist Intelligence Unit and Lucidchart examines different communication styles in the workplace and the effects they have on organizations. The report looks at four different communication styles, based on research from Mark Murphy :

What I found particularly interesting is that when you break down the distribution of communication styles by role, you find a fairly even spread across all job functions. (Sales is the exception, as they lean towards the “personal” communication style, but that probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.)

What’s the takeaway? Communication styles aren’t packaged nicely by department. All types of communicators are scattered throughout your workplace.

That variety is a good thing—your team wouldn’t function very effectively without it, and it’s these differences that drive innovation. What’s problematic is that 42% of survey respondents cited different communication styles as a leading cause of miscommunication at work.

It’s not as if we only want to work with people who are just like us— 54% of respondents report enjoying communicating with people of different communication styles. The problem is that we don’t know how to do so effectively.

If left unaddressed, the communication breakdowns can take a toll on your organization—increased stress, decreased productivity, low morale, and even sales losses.

So how do you make sure this diversity in communication styles works for your bottom line rather than against it?

Pay attention to how people communicate

Make an effort to understand your co-worker’s communication style. This point might seem obvious, but it takes conscious effort. If you simply spout off information the way you like to hear it, you’ve only got a one-in-four chance of getting a positive response.

It’s especially important that managers understand how each member of their team communicates. They need to know how best to present information and feedback in order for an individual to receive the information well and act upon it. If you work with a functional communicator, they are likely to be very stressed about a new project unless you provide a detailed and clearly defined process. If you’re announcing changes to a team process, your analytical communicators will want the numbers behind that decision before they buy in. Taking the time to understand what makes a person tick will make your interactions with them more effective.

Provide the right tools

According to the Economist report, 63% of respondents believe communication could be improved by using a wider range of tools. Just as different types of learners in the classroom are more receptive to certain teaching methods, different communication styles lend themselves to certain tools.

Defaulting to email just won’t cut it. People need to be able to choose the tool that allows them to share their ideas and feedback effectively—while also taking into account what avenue will resonate most with their audience.

Many workplace communication tools revolve around the written word. This is the optimal method for certain instances; however, there are also times when taking a visual approach will paint a clearer picture. When explaining a new process, it is much easier to look at a picture mapping out the steps and assigning responsible parties than it is to read a page of text.

Be transparent

A culture of transparency opens the door for frequent and honest dialogue, regardless of communication style. Be transparent about your company goals and progress towards those goals—this practice keeps everyone on the same page so they know how their individual contributions impact the larger company vision.

I don’t filter what my employees know about our organization. Transparency has been a staple of our culture from the get-go. We have two company updates per month—one led by executives covering the previous month’s and year-to-date performance and one led by employees highlighting their department’s current projects. Once a quarter, the executive team walks through the presentation they gave to our board of directors and relays the feedback they received. Twice a year, we have an Executive AMA session in which employees ask the executives any questions they have regarding the business.

Provide the resources

Just like any skill, communicating can get easier with practice. We recently started offering company-wide trainings as part of our learning and development program. Many of these trainings are designed to help employees communicate with their colleagues, regardless of differing communication styles. For example, we’ve had trainings on how to overcome your fear of public speaking, how to collaborate effectively as a team, and how to provide feedback.

I already mentioned making a variety of tools accessible to employees—in order to encourage people to branch out and actually use these new tools, you’ll want to provide training so people across generations understand how to best use them.

In addition, our managers have weekly 1:1s with each member of their team. These intimate meetings provide an ideal setting for managers to talk with their direct reports to understand their communication styles and how they personally like to receive feedback and instruction. In addition, managers can coach employees on how to better communicate with team members who have communication styles different from their own.

Take the time to figure out how those around you communicate. Make your goals clear. And give employees the tools and trainings they need to communicate across styles. Because every style has its strengths, and it’s through building an inclusive environment where team members can effectively share and communicate their different perspectives that you’re able to create that powerful synergy that really gets things done.

Follow the flowchart to discover your colleague's preferred communication style.

Karl Sun

Northeastern University Graduate Programs

How to Improve Cross-Cultural Communication in the Workplace

How to Improve Cross-Cultural Communication in the Workplace

Industry Advice Communications & Digital Media

It’s no secret that effective communication is central to the success of any organization, regardless of industry. But in order to truly understand what it takes to communicate effectively, you must first understand the different cultural factors that influence the way people interact with one another.

Our world is more interconnected than ever before, a fact that has given rise to many changes in the ways that businesses and organizations operate. Workplaces are more diverse, remote teams are scattered across the country or around the world, and businesses that once sold products to a single demographic might now sell to a global market. All of these factors have converged to make cross-cultural communication a vital part of organizational success.

Here’s a look at why cross-cultural communication is important in the workplace, and the steps you can take to overcome cultural barriers and improve communication within your organization.

What is Cross-Cultural Communication?

Cross-cultural communication is the process of recognizing both differences and similarities among cultural groups in order to effectively engage within a given context. In other words, cross-cultural communication refers to the ways in which people from different cultural backgrounds adjust to improve communication with one another. 

In today’s rapidly changing professional world, it’s critical to gain an understanding of how cultural elements influence communication between individuals and groups in the workplace. Developing strong cross-cultural communication skills is the first step in creating a successful work environment that brings out the best in all of an organization’s team members. 

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Why is Cross-Cultural Communication Important?

To be successful in any industry, organizations need to understand the communication patterns of employees, customers, investors, and other audiences. Awareness and willingness to adjust allow for the exchange of information regardless of cultural values, norms, and behaviors that may vary between audiences. 

Given the different backgrounds that each audience comes from, it is critical to understand how culture influences communication, and how this can impact organizational processes. Patty Goodman, PhD, the faculty lead for cross-cultural communication in Northeastern’s Master’s in Corporate and Organizational Communications program, says, “Effective cross-cultural communication is essential to preventing and resolving conflict, building networks, and creating a satisfactory work environment for everyone involved.”

Additionally, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that culture has a significant impact on productivity. As such, it is important to be cognizant of the fact that “employees from different backgrounds are motivated by different incentives and react differently to various management and communication styles.”

How to Improve Cross-Cultural Communication

Here are four tips to help you improve cross-cultural communication in your organization.

1. Embrace Agility

The inability or unwillingness to adapt to change is a common barrier to cross-cultural communication. Often, people are reluctant to accept new things due to an unconscious fear that doing so will change their culture or belief system in some way, Goodman explains. If these assumptions are not questioned, actions can be detrimental to personal and organizational growth. By becoming aware of unconscious barriers or subconscious biases, people can become more open to adapting.

“When an organization becomes too set in its ways, it can halt improvements because they are not open to trying different ways of doing things,” Goodman says.

Instead, organizations need to be focused on continuous improvement, which requires a certain degree of flexibility and willingness to try different ways of doing things. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem. Rather, the best way to address the issue often involves getting started on an individual level. 

To begin, consider stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things in the workplace. In terms of cross-cultural communication, one of the best ways to embrace this idea is to try new methods of doing things in ways that can help you better understand the perspectives of others. 

2. Be Open-Minded

Similarly, closed-mindedness is another barrier to cross-cultural communication that can hinder the success of an organization. 

“People get caught in the trap of thinking that there is one right way to do things and everything else is wrong,” Goodman points out. 

On a personal level, becoming more open-minded can be as simple as learning more about an idea that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise. Being exposed to new viewpoints and making the effort to understand them can have an impact on how you make decisions moving forward. 

On the other hand, when you’re in a situation where you must work with a closed-minded individual, Goodman suggests you ask questions and look for opportunities to offer a range of thoughts for your audience by providing reliable and valid pieces of data. Leveraging accurate data can be a powerful tool when convincing someone to consider other ideas. By discussing options and listening, you can build trust. 

However, presenting this information in an effective way can be a challenge. If people feel overwhelmed by the information or do not trust its validity, it can have the opposite effect. Be sure to carefully identify and present the information to successfully encourage others to approach other ideas with an open mind. 

3. Facilitate Meaningful Conversation

A lack of communication in an organization can exacerbate cultural differences between individuals. In an environment that does not allow for open communication, people tend not to speak up or share comments and feedback with one another.  

So, how might members of an organization facilitate open conversation and freely interact with each other? Although the organizational culture is unlikely to change overnight, making the effort to spark conversations on the individual level can be a step in the right direction.

“One of the best ways to get started is to connect with someone who might have a different perspective from your own,” Goodman remarks. “Start a conversation with someone in another department and ask questions, and try to gain a better understanding of their point of view by actively listening.” 

Not only will this allow you to gain an understanding and appreciation for another person’s perspective, but it will also help to build strong relationships in the workplace. Goodman recommends “being curious, asking questions, and being open to different points of view.”

Encouraging meaningful interactions also has a significant impact on the overall environment by creating a comfortable space where team members can openly share their thoughts and ideas. 

4. Become Aware

Another important step to improving cross-cultural communication in the workplace is to become more culturally and self-aware . 

On a personal level, you should make an effort to acknowledge your own implicit biases and assumptions that affect the way you interact with others. Although this may be easier said than done, you can start by making a conscious attempt to empathize with your audience and gain a better understanding of their point of view. 

At the organizational level, Goodman recommends starting with an audit of internal communications. Throughout this process, you should be asking how your mission and company values are defined, whether or not they are inclusive, and whether the team’s various cultures have been taken into account. Performing this analysis will give you a good idea of the state of your corporate culture, including areas in your organizational communication strategy that you can improve to better serve your team members and achieve your goals. 

Improving Workplace Communication

Cross-cultural communication is just one (albeit important) aspect of an organization’s overall communication strategy, and improving in this area can be a great first step in maximizing employee and business performance overall. 

In addition to the tips listed above, learning the foundations of corporate communications can provide you with the skills needed to understand all of the factors that influence communication in the workplace. Earning a master’s degree in corporate communications can help you do just that. 

Northeastern’s Corporate and Organizational Communications program, in particular, is designed to instill students with the theoretical foundations of communication theory, as well as the practical skills necessary to excel professionally.

“Formal education challenges you to think critically and creates an environment where you can practice your communication skills in order to be effective in the real world,” Goodman says.

By enrolling in such a program, you are met with countless opportunities to interact with experts in the field and practice experiential learning.

Additionally, Northeastern’s program offers several concentrations tailored to students’ career goals, including a concentration in cross-cultural communication. This particular track offers practical tools to successfully navigate cultural fields of interest and gain skills to develop a cultural audit. A graduate certificate in cross-cultural communication is also available.

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10 Team Communication Problems and Issues in the Workplace

Communication Problems and How to Fix Them

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Top Ten Communication Issues in the Workplace

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Problems Of Communication: Common Mistakes And Practical Tips


Effective communication is an essential skill for any employee, manager, or leader. It’s also a fundamental prerequisite to success in the workplace, where clarity and accuracy of the information can mean the difference between winning and losing. But if you’re like most people, you probably have some issues with your communications skills. In this blog post, we’ll explore common problems and mistakes that people make when communicating and provide practical tips for avoiding them in the future.

What Are Problems Of Communication?


Problems of communication are the barriers that interfere with clear communication between people. While at one time it may have been fine to communicate via telegraph, email, or phone – in today’s highly competitive global economy effective two-way face-to-face conversations are essential for success.

Types Of Problem Of Communication


There are various types of problems that can interfere with clear, effective communications. Commonly, there are three types of problems of communication:

Technical problems

This includes issues with technology, such as faulty equipment or bad connections.

Environmental problems

Noise, distractions, and other external factors can interfere with communications.

Human problems

These include misunderstandings, assumptions, biases, and emotions.

Causes Of Problems Of Communication


There are many causes of problems of communication. The most common ones are listed below:

Lack of knowledge or information

When one person doesn’t have all the facts, it can lead to misunderstandings and inaccurate assumptions.

Different backgrounds and cultures

People from different cultural backgrounds may interpret words and phrases differently, causing confusion and misunderstanding.

Gender differences

Studies have shown that men and women often communicate differently due to their different biology and socialization.


When someone feels they are being attacked or criticized, they can become defensive and this can interfere with effective communication.

Communication Problems and Mistakes We All Make

There are many common mistakes – some of which we make almost every day without thinking about them. Let’s take a look:

Verbal Communication Mistakes


Improper Use Of I And You

Using ‘I’ and ‘you’. There’s a big difference between saying “I think this is the best solution” and “You should do this.” The first statement implies ownership, while the second one sounds like you’re passing on an order.

Not assertive enough

If we’re not clear about what we want, the other person is going to have a hard time giving it to us. It’s important to be assertive and make our needs known.

Relying too much on email or messaging apps

Email can be convenient but it lacks context. When you communicate via email, your recipient can’t see your facial expressions or other nonverbal cues that often help to clarify meaning and intent.

Assuming the other person has all the information they need

If someone sends an email or makes a statement without providing enough context and/or explanation, it’s unrealistic to expect their recipients to be able to understand and respond appropriately.

Over-simplifying and under-emphasizing important information

When we give someone a task or assignment, it’s easy to add too many qualifications and ‘ifs’ which can make the message confusing for the recipient. For example: “If you could send this report out today by email that would be great.”

Listening more than talking

Listening is an important part of communication, but listening too much can be problematic if it means that you’re not actively sharing information and ideas.

Speaking with poor tone or inflection

Tone refers to the emotional subtext in your voice (e.g., anger , excitement). Inflection refers to changes in your voice pitch (e.g., rising, falling). Both tone and inflection can be used to emphasize or clarify your words.

Using filler words such as ‘um’, ‘like’ and ‘you know’

These words can interrupt the flow of a conversation and make you sound unsure of yourself.

Using faulty logic to justify our words and actions

When we make mistakes in communication – such as forgetting an important detail when giving instructions-we often try to cover up our errors by providing additional information. For example: “I told you to pick up the laundry detergent, not the dishwasher soap.”

Use of emotional language

When we get emotional, it can interfere with our ability to communicate effectively. This is because we’re no longer thinking straight and we might say or do things that we later regret.

Using sarcasm

Some people can understand your sarcastic remarks even if they’re delivered with a straight face – but many others won’t get it or will feel offended because of the hidden insult.

Non-Verbal Communication Mistakes


Avoiding eye contact

Looking at someone directly when you’re speaking to them shows that you are interested in what they have to say and it can help your message feel more personal. If a person is avoiding eye contact, chances are they don’t find the conversation engaging or interesting.

Not smiling enough while communicating with others

Smiling is a universal sign of friendliness and it can make the person you’re talking to feel more at ease.

Fidgeting with objects or tapping your foot

This type of behavior can be seen as an indication that you’re impatient or bored with the conversation.

Crossing your arms over your chest

This defensive posture can send the message that you’re not interested in what the other person has to say.

Leaning away from the person you’re talking to

This posture can make it seem like you don’t want to be near the other person and it can create a feeling of distance between you.

Picking lint off your clothes or scratching your head

This type of behavior can be seen as a sign that you’re not paying attention to the person who’s speaking to you.

Use of gestures while communicating

Making too much or too few hand gestures. Hand gestures can help to emphasize your points and make your conversation more interesting – but use them sparingly, or else you might come across as being excessive or insincere.

Facing away from the person you’re talking to

This can make it difficult for the other person to read your body language and it can give the impression that you’re not interested in them or what they have to say.

Touching your face while speaking

Touching your face can be seen as a sign of nervousness or insecurity and it can make the person you’re talking to feel uncomfortable.

Picking at your nails or chewing on your pen

This type of behavior can be seen as a sign that you’re not interested in what’s being said or that you’re impatient with the conversation.

Communication Problems In The Workplace


Giving instructions that are difficult to understand

If someone can’t understand what we’re saying, it’s going to be difficult for them to follow our instructions. This can lead to frustration and a lot of wasted time.

Not being clear about expectations

If we don’t make our expectations clear from the start, there’s a good chance that the other person will misinterpret them – and this can lead to a lot of problems down the line.

Not listening to feedback

If we’re not open to hearing what the other person has to say, then we’re not going to be able to improve our communication skills.

Talking too much

When we talk too much, it gives the other person little chance to participate in the conversation. This means that they might end up feeling left out of things and it can also lead to misunderstandings later on down the line.

Communication Problems In Relationships


Assuming that we know what the other person is thinking

This can be a major source of problems in relationships because it often leads to misunderstandings.

Not listening

When we’re not listening, we’re not giving the other person our full attention and this can lead to a lot of hurt feelings.


Interrupting someone can be seen as a sign of disrespect and it can also prevent them from getting their point across.

Judgmental remarks

Judgmental comments like “that’s a stupid idea” or “you’re wrong” don’t communicate any information – but rather, simply put the other person on the defensive right from the start.

Not asking for clarification

If we’re not sure about what the other person is saying, we should ask them to clarify. This will help to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.

Jumping to conclusions

Assumptions are never good because they’re just guesses – so it’s important not to assume anything when communicating with significant others. Otherwise, we might end up making a lot of wrong assumptions, thereby, creating avoidable issues.

Practical Tips For Good Communication Skills


Now that we know some of the common problems and mistakes that can occur during communication, let’s take a look at some practical tips for avoiding them:

General Tips

Be aware of your surroundings.

This means not interrupting or judging and making sure you listen to what the other person is saying and ask clarifying questions if necessary. It also helps to go somewhere quiet where we won’t be distracted.

Speak clearly and concisely

No one likes having their time wasted so we must communicate clearly and concisely with the other person. This means no being vague, making assumptions, or jumping to conclusions – only speaking when we have something relevant to say.

Don’t be afraid of silence

Silence is a part of communication so it’s important not to feel awkward about it. Sometimes a pause can help us think more clearly about what we’re going to say next.

Use body language effectively

When communicating non-verbally, our posture and gestures must match what we’re saying – otherwise, the other person might get a different meaning from our message. For example, if someone says “yes” but shakes their head at the same time… you know they’re saying “no”.

Be a good listener

This means making eye contact, asking clarifying questions, and being open to feedback. This also helps us avoid jumping to conclusions or assumptions that might lead to confusion down the line.

Tips For Good Communication Skills For Employee/Manager/Leader

As an employee, it’s important to be aware of the types of communication problems that can occur in the workplace. Here are a few tips for avoiding them.

As a manager, we must communicate effectively with our employees while avoiding common mistakes like jumping to conclusions or using emotional language.

As a leader, we must communicate effectively with our team and avoid common communication problems.

Be aware of your tone

When we’re angry or upset, it often comes across in our tone of voice. So before we say anything, it’s important to take a deep breath and calm down. This will help us communicate more effectively.

Be open-minded

This means listening carefully and not making assumptions, as well as asking clarifying questions if necessary – instead of jumping to conclusions or assuming things. This will help avoid confusion down the line and lead to better communication overall.


Avoid using emotional language

Using emotional language can often lead to misunderstandings and confusion. We must stay professional and avoid using words that might be seen as inflammatory.

Avoid using gossip

Gossiping can lead to misunderstandings and confusion. We must communicate directly with the other person if there are any problems or issues between us. This will help avoid issues down the line, as well as make sure everyone is on the same page about what happened.

Avoid assumptions

We need to be open-minded and listen carefully to what the other person is saying. This also helps us avoid jumping to conclusions, making assumptions, or assuming anything – which can lead to confusion down the line.

Use “I” statements

When we use “I” statements, it shows the other person that we’re taking ownership of our feelings. For example, instead of saying “you made me angry”, try saying “I feel angry when you do that”.

Good communication is about more than just what we say – it’s also about how we communicate too: our tone, posture, and body language.

Preferred Modes of Communication

modes of communication

There are a few different modes of communication that can be more effective than others, depending on the situation. Here are a few examples. If…

You need to communicate information

Verbal communication, email, or memos are all good ways of communicating factual information. However, if you’re looking for feedback on the matter – it might be better to ask in person rather than sending them an email they might not read right away.

You want more detailed information

If you want more detailed information or feedback from your employees, it might be better to ask them in person. For example, if someone asks about the progress of a project – they’ll probably get a better answer face-to-face than through email.

You need help with something/have questions about how something works

If you’re having trouble with something, or have questions about how to do something – it might be better to ask the person in person. For example, if someone wants help using a new device…it’s probably best to go directly to them instead of emailing them and asking for assistance.

You want people’s attention/you need their full attention or time

If you want or need someone’s input and feedback, it might be better to ask them face-to-face. For example, if an employee wants a discussion about how they can improve…it might be best to go directly to the person instead of emailing them and asking for advice.

There is no one “right” way to communicate – the most important thing is that you are understood. However, it’s also important to make sure your communication method matches the situation. For example:

NOTE : It’s important to be mindful of these different modes and choose the appropriate one for each situation. This way, you can make sure your message gets across as clearly as possible.

Marketing Communications – A Tool for Successful Communication

Marketing communications is an important aspect of a business. The right tools can help you market your products or services to the masses, while also keeping tabs on how well they’re doing in terms of sales and marketing efforts.

Social media platforms are a good way of communicating with consumers, as it allows them to share their thoughts and feelings about your brand or product. Additionally, it also gives you a way to directly communicate with them – which can help resolve any issues they might have.

Email marketing is another great tool for businesses. It allows you to target a specific audience, and send them tailored messages that might interest them. You can also track how many people are opening your emails, how many people click on them, and which links they’re clicking to measure the success of each email.

Marketing communications is an important aspect for businesses. Tools like social media platforms, email marketing software, and tracking programs can help you stay in touch with consumers while also keeping track of their thoughts about your product.

Effective communication is an essential skill for any employee, manager, or leader. It’s also a fundamental prerequisite to success in the workplace, where clarity and accuracy of the information can mean the difference between winning and losing. However, many people have issues with their communications skills – often because they are unaware that there are problems with their communications methods.

Remember, it’s about more than just what we say – it’s also about how we communicate. By being mindful of the way we talk to others and using the most effective mode of communication for each situation, we can make sure our message is communicated as clearly as possible. Last but not least, think before you speak.

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Top 7 Communication Problems in the Workplace

Marcin Nowak, MCX Group

Communication becomes more complex with each day, and especially in the workplace. What problems may occur in the workplace, how to identify and solve them? Here you will find the answers to these questions. 

Most common communication challenges in the workplace

As business grows and we start to engage with more and more people, we create multiple connections, communication links. Every communication involves (at least) one sender, a message and a recipient. This might sound simple, but communication is truly an awfully complex subject.

When we multiply all communication by possible channels of communication we get a complicated network of possibilities and options with a number of typical communication problems / challenges. Below are samples of communication problems within the workplace:

1. Heave use of jargon

Over-complicated, unfamiliar and/or technical terms. Most departments and companies have their own jargon, used daily while creating a false feeling that everyone uses our “language.” It gets even deeper about specific associations and differences in language and “field of experience.” Fields of experience include people’s backgrounds, perceptions, values, biases, needs, and expectations. Our audience can decode messages only within the context of their fields of experience . When our field of experience overlaps only a little, communication becomes difficult.

2. The opening

There’s a golden rule about discussion and furthermore communication – before we start, let us set up ground, avoid introducing abbreviation without definition and references to any local, not well-known term. Specify the target of meeting, what we would like to speak about and agree on.

3. Emotional barriers and taboos

Some people may find it difficult to specify their emotions and a few topics could also be completely ‘off-limits’ or taboo. Taboo or difficult topics may include, but are not limited to, politics, religion, disabilities (mental and physical), sexuality and sex, racism and any opinion which will be seen as unpopular.

4. Physical barriers to non-verbal communication

Not having the ability to determine the non-verbal cues, gestures, posture and general visual communication can make communication less effective. Phone calls, text messages and other communication methods that depend upon technology are often less effective than face-to-face communication.

5. Expectations and prejudices

That can cause false assumptions or stereotyping. People often hear what they expect to listen to instead of what is said, and they jump to incorrect conclusions.

6. Cultural differences

The norms of social interaction vary greatly in several cultures, as do the way emotions are expressed. As an example, the concept of private space varies between cultures and between different social settings.

7. Information overload

Additionally to phone calls, video conferences, text messages, group chats, social networks, and internal meetings a typical person can receive as many as 110 emails a day. Email overload is bad for communication, often ends up in important information being lost, deleted, forgotten or ignored. Employees are easily frustrated by an excessive amount of data , we want effective process information so pushing us to limit with constant streaming is counterproductive.

Information overload communication problems

How to fix communication issues?

If you wish to enhance communication within the workplace, start by identifying communication barriers. This could include working in an exceedingly working environment with many various people, different cultures and different levels of communication. Open, honest and transparent channels of communication are crucial to doing business in today’s world.

When we speak about barriers of communication within the workplace, the challenge of effective communication is more evident than ever. Let us take a glance at a few of the foremost common communication barriers employers face today. 

Communication barriers

There are three main categories of communication barriers that may challenge effective communication. Communication barriers can include anything that impedes or hinders the communicator’s ability to deliver the proper message to the “right” person at the “right” time, or the recipient’s inability to deliver it at the “right” time. A number of reasons why employees are unhappy with their work are caused by leaders who don’t provide enough information, by constant changes that don’t seem to be communicated to employees, or by individuals in several roles focus exclusively on their own goals and ignore general priorities, lacking communication skills.

Clear goals and priorities should be communicated through broad channels that may prevent feelings of teamwork and shared goals from forming, instead supporting a creation of communication silos. Complex and rigid organizational structures are the biggest culprits for inefficient communication, which makes it a serious problem in many organizations. Such organizations often have inefficient information and communication systems, often leading to frustration and an absence of engagement and lowered productivity among employees. 

If a corporation is very hierarchical, information is often silenced, lost, or distorted along its way through hierarchical layers. Deficient information is not good for the organisation and an excessive amount of it can cause problems for workers.

If managers do not offer their employees positive and productive opportunities for constructive criticism, resentment can build up. The device is not an area for personal gossip, the doors of the meeting rooms do not seem to be as soundproof as you may think, managers can read emails and lax messages, and this contributes to resentment.

Once you have identified the signs and causes of poor communication within the workplace, it is time for actionable solutions. 

In this article, we discuss the foremost common communication problems that occur within the workplace and suggest ways to unravel them. Employers should invest time and energy in creating clear communication methods for their employees , not just for themselves, but also for other employees.

People talking

Solution to communication problems

If you are a manager, you will be able to help your team work more efficiently and as a team by being more transparent with your employees. If you are working in the chain of command and a member of staff needs you to deal with an issue, send a right way message to the party concerned to induce a faster response.

Make sure to actively hear employees , especially before you begin a gathering or a discussion. Passive listening can prevent employees from experiencing other views and concepts that are present within the workplace. Even today in pandemic time it is feasible and important to fulfil directly and with all restrictions of social distancing we would like to possess such personal interaction.

If people do not seem to be inquisitive about what is being discussed, or do not have the motivation to figure hard, they are more likely to ignore you or ignore your message. A poorly written message can cause confusion, especially if they are unaware of context. To create clear and coherent statements in your internal communications, use social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn which can facilitate your reach and make your employees feel involved in their work and organization. The tips above facilitate building a positive relationship between your employees and their employer, similarly because the company is an entity.

Best practices of communication

If you are employed by a corporation that values, listens and respects you, you will see how you will improve your internal communication by applying best practices, techniques and employing a form of internal communication channels to create your own brand into your work. For folks that have to approach your company with messages, there are significant barriers working against effective today communication. These are the highest barriers you would like to conquer to speak effectively through digital channels. These digital barriers to communication can affect your ability to present your point of view, furthermore because of the quality of your message. If you use technology to speak with peers and colleagues, you should like to seek out ways to use it, or maybe remove existing communication barriers. Technology helps to reduce and overcome distance by enabling people to share information without having to meet in the real world . It is vital to decide on right, intuitive and safe tools of communication and implement them properly, as we want to simplify our duties in the long run. 

Especially today as we look for company as a whole, we need to adapt. It is not enough to have tools like video conferencing, UC, remote access, and other software bridges to help us work together. We need to understand people behind screens and bring them well designed and adequate environment to cooperate and communicate effectively. Do not get me wrong, choosing right tools is key for success, but it still needs to introduce and maintain solutions properly. 

There is no final innovation in the area of communication, we still look for a more professional, easy, and human supporting system to help us work, play and communicate effortlessly. All existing tools need to be properly orchestrated and deployed in an organization for best results. We all need to communicate in society, so there is no more important topic. Information flow is key for right decision making.

Main mistake is to buy a solution and not implement it in the organisation. Even if all have access to it, it does not mean that everybody can use software in the best possible way. It is our responsibility to understand principles of communication, select targets and properly introduce our organization to new way of working, adapting changes and conducting our journey to internal and external communication. So, we use technology to help humans create a safe, responsible, and effective environment to cooperate.

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Communication Problems

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Interview Preparation

How to answer 'how do you deal with conflict' in an interview.

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated August 24, 2021

Guide Overview

Understanding interview questions like 'how do you deal with conflict.

During an interview, an employer may ask behavioral interview questions like 'How do you deal with conflict?' to learn how well you handle challenging workplace situations. To gain a better understanding of your personality, problem-solving skills, and professionalism in the workplace, some of these questions could be related to your conflict-resolution skills. Learn more about how to answer the question, 'How do you deal with conflict?' and review examples of strong conflict-related interview questions and answers.

How to answer interview questions about dealing with conflict

When interviewers ask you about dealing with conflict in the workplace, they’re often trying to understand your strategy for handling it positively and professionally. Provide a detailed and relevant real-life example using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. Follow these steps to help you successfully answer interview questions about dealing with conflict:

Tips for explaining how you deal with conflict

Use these tips to help you come up with a great answer for how you deal with conflict in the workplace:

What not to include in an answer to interview questions about conflict

There are certain phrases and answers you should avoid when answering interview questions about workplace conflict . As you provide an answer, try not to:

Example interview question and answer about workplace conflict with colleagues

Employers often want to know how well you’ll fit in with other members of the department you’re applying for. When you answer this question, emphasize the importance of collaboration and resolving problems professionally as a team.

Question: ‘ Can you tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with another member of your team and how you resolved it?’

Answer: ‘Our marketing team had to build and implement a new digital marketing campaign, and I was assigned to oversee the project and delegate tasks to each team member. One employee was upset that I was chosen to lead the campaign over them and refused to complete their tasks. I asked them to meet privately to learn why they were upset.

I listened to their side and told them that I understood where they were coming from. I explained that if they work hard with our team to submit a strong project, our supervisor may notice this and consider them for other promotions or responsibilities in the future. They agreed and completed their tasks, which led to a 20% customer conversion rate and high praise from our supervisor.’

Example question and answer for workplace conflicts with customers

If you’re applying for a customer or client-facing role, your interviewer may want to know your strategy for resolving potential workplace conflicts with customers. Talk about a time when you treated a customer with respect as you politely and professionally resolved their issue.

Question: ‘ Provide an example of when you had to resolve an issue with an unhappy customer.’

Answer: ‘ When I was working as a manager at a retail store, a customer had previously seen boots they wanted to buy and asked one of our salespeople to put them on hold. The salesperson accidentally forgot, and the boots were out of stock when the customer had returned. I listened to their problems, apologized, and showed them the boots we currently had in stock that were a similar style and pattern. I offered them a 10% discount for the inconvenience and they purchased the new boots from us.’

Example question and answer for workplace conflicts with managers

Employers often want to know how well you can follow directions from managers and your method for handling disagreements with them. Try to remain positive when answering this question and stay away from bad-mouthing your previous supervisor.

Question: ‘Have you ever had a disagreement with your manager? How was it resolved?’

Answer: ‘ My manager and I have had a few disagreements in the past but are always comfortable expressing them to each other. For example, I wanted to work on an important upcoming project and had expressed this to my manager. When they assigned the project to a different employee instead, I requested a meeting with my supervisor. I politely and professionally explained how this disappointed me and made me feel under-appreciated and ignored. My manager thanked me for expressing this and explained that they had a different upcoming project that was better suited for my skills and interests.’

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