Jun 14, 2023
5 mins read
While a brilliant leader and a smart business plan are important for a company’s success, employees are the driving force of the company. Their engagement should be a top priority. One of the keys to improving employee engagement is effective communication. But that can present several challenges when you’re dealing with a distributed workforce.
In a recent study that examined 400 large companies and 100,000 employees, results showed that the cost of poor communications stands at $62.4 million per year, per company.
Additionally, 28% of employees interviewed in another survey cited poor communication as the reason for missing deadlines. And in research conducted by Salesforce of corporate executives and educators, 86% of them believed ineffective communication was the underlying reason for workplace failures.
As many companies discovered during the COVID-19 pandemic, communication can be easily achieved through various digital platforms, as well as with specific policies addressing the differences between informal and formal communication.
But now, as we are able to take a step back from what might have been emergency policies, we need to truly understand why effective communication (and specific policies around it) are so essential to remote employee engagement. And as companies continue to engage distributed teams, whether in a hybrid or fully remote setting, the need to embrace communication as a key driver for engagement is necessary to overall success.
1. Collaboration and teamwork: With a distributed workforce working in various locations and across different time zones, communication is vital to effective collaboration and teamwork. Clear communication helps your team stay connected and gives them a way to brainstorm and discuss ideas and work together on projects. Implementing organized and thoughtful communication approaches can bridge the gap that physical distance might have created for your team.
2. Clarification and understanding: When you’re not working together in person, it’s very easy for things to get lost in translation. Comments can be taken out of context. Tone can be difficult to read. And it can just overall be challenging to convey ideas and feedback in a meaningful way. Effective communication ensures that your remote employees have a clear understanding of their jobs, tasks, and project goals. And it gives them a way to check in to avoid misunderstandings or any confusion.
3. Building relationships and trust: The working relationships that your team has with one another, as well as their superiors, are paramount to your company’s success. Communication is deeply important to that process. As your team gets to know one another, they’re able to develop a working rapport, which makes collaboration and delegation much more effective. You want them to be able to trust each other, and you, to make the best decisions.
4. Problem-solving and decision-making: Remote work environments can present unique challenges that require a different approach to problem-solving and decision-making. When effective communication procedures are in place, it’s easier to discuss programs, figure out solutions, and make informed decisions as a group. Without communication, it can be difficult to share progress and pivot to new approaches.
5. Employee engagement and motivation: Recently, research has shown an increase in feelings of isolation and disconnection in remote workers. If your team is unable to meet in person on a regular basis, communication strategies need to be in place so that your team is able to connect with each other to help combat these challenges. We all know that working in an office is social, so while you may not be able to provide those same opportunities for your remote team, your communication approach should consider the need for various socialization opportunities, beyond work meetings and brainstorming sessions.
6. Building a positive work culture: The way a company communicates is representative of their core values and beliefs. You can see this in the language they use to describe themselves, as well as in the language they use to communicate with their employees. When you foster open, respectful, and inclusive communication practices, you help foster a positive work environment, even if your team is not in the same physical location.