Communication in the workplace refers to a relay of information between one person and another or groups within the Organization. It is achieved through the use of text messages, verbal communication, notes, memos, voicemails, and regular mails. This paper posits to look into how barriers to communication can impact upon an individual and a team when meeting an organization’s goals and objectives while also taking the strategies available to assist in overcoming them into consideration.
Communication is an important factor of consideration in any organization to achieve success. It has to be effective to meet the required objectives although companies face some barriers in such situations. The majority of the employees in an organization think that communication is simple, but they fail to account for the potential obstacles that make it difficult and frustrating (Genevieve, 2007).
Effective communication is imperative in the organization for business operations and enhanced productivity. It also leads to increased morale and motivation among employees leading to higher echelons of commitment and productivity. The smooth operations of business processes and employee productivity depend on effectiveness of communication in the workplace. It also leads to increased satisfaction of employees leading to a reduction in turnover and absenteeism. A feeling of security develops among employees in the workplace where communication is efficient, and the adequately address the potential barriers to communication. The reason for this is that, they receive updated and truthful information from their leaders. A workplace environment where employees share ideas leads to effective communication thus giving the employees an opportunity to air their views. The employees, therefore, feel respected and involved in the decision-making process in their workplace. Retention rates for the employees in the organization enhances as a result of excellent communication (Genevieve, 2007).
Barriers of communication are common occurrences in the workplace although it can be mildly disruptive and subtle. The communication barriers may lead to a breakdown in the organization which can be manifested as a lack of truthfulness and accountability as was the case in Enron and the shareholders, a situation that contributed to the collapse of the company.
Organizations must, therefore, be able to identify potential communication barriers that may affect the performance of their business. Barriers in communication implies to impediments and breakdown in the process of conveying information within the structural system and between workers. The barrier can also take the form of mistrust between the manager in an organization and subordinates which inhibit delivery of information. This translates to misunderstandings and differing expectations. Tangible barriers are also possible in the organization including old fashioned ordering system which fails in updating deliveries at the right time. The results of such a barrier are obstruction of streamlined communication in various departments in the organization.
Barriers to communication can impact upon an organization meeting goals and objectives and impede the efforts of the company in highlighting their mission and vision. The use of weak skills in language leads to message confusion through the use of different words to imply to the same thing as well as physical distractions, and this leads to an impediment to information flow. Overcoming such barriers needs the efforts on the organization management to hold meetings to orient the employees to the goals, objectives, vision and mission of the organization, followed by welcoming feedbacks from the employees. All issues of communication must adequately be addressed to raise the satisfaction of the employees to the objectives and goals of the organization.
Barriers to communication in any organization affect customer service. These barriers include rude and dismissive employees, poor ordering techniques and relay of information to the right parties. To overcome such obstacles, it is prudent to decode customer information and avoid the gaps when making erroneous assumptions in the process of decoding such information.
Barriers in communication also occur in the production line. The management must be careful on the formal and informal communication which can affect production. Formal communication is done through bulletins, directives and training manuals while informal communication reaches the in the form of workers as rumor. Communication barriers may promote a high degree of inefficiency and sometimes halt the entire workflow. Rumor may spread that, a possibility of job loss is likely to affect some workers in the organization, but the management does not give a formal communication in this regard. Such a situation can easily translate into disinterest and apathy among employees.
Perceptual barriers are also common in organizations and involve divergence in opinions among people working in an organization. Emotional barriers to communication may also arise in the workplace due to mistrust and fear and hinder effective communication with co-workers. Language barriers also occur in workplace as a result of problems of expression and the content of the message. Communicating using employees’ native language is a great compliment and promotes the effectiveness of communication. Another form of communication barrier involves the culture of the employees, also called cultural barrier. Cultural diversity is a common feature in the majority of workplaces due to religion, race, country and states. Physical barriers to communication are also common. According to past research, proximity plays a crucial role in building integrated as well as strong teams within the organization. In the majority of organizations, people placed at high levels close the doors to their offices such that their juniors can hardly reach them. Additionally, most of the working stations in the organization are positioned far apart, and this forms a barrier that inhibits effective interaction among employees (Fill, 2002).
In the modern global business, effective communication is crucial for efficient management of business operations to pave the way for meeting the goals as well as the objectives of the company. Cultural diversity is a common feature among the majority of global business organizations where different skill sets together with approaches to business operations are required. The management of such organizations must be in a position of bridging the existing cultural gaps through appropriate strategies with applicability in the global business scenario so that the company can meet the set goals and objectives. Employees require an opportunity to harness the benefits of cultural diversity and the contribution of harmonious and productive cross-border interactions that surpass cultural disparities which have been at the center of concerted efforts among the workforce in business organizations that have taken their business to a global level. The corporate world must embrace cultural sensitivity as well as skills of communication during their successful entry to the global market.
Gaining a comprehensive understanding of appropriate strategies for overcoming barriers to communication is beneficial in any organization regarding meeting their goals and objectives. One of the strategies that lead to effective communication in an organization is transformations of feelings and thoughts of the employees towards their colleagues. This is important in building relationships that help in breaking down the barriers to communication and enhances effective and sustainable interaction. Every employee must understand the importance of overcoming obstacles to communication. Communication does not end at the trading of words but extends to the intentions as well as the emotions of participants. Appropriate training interventions are encouraged as another strategy for overcoming communication barriers. This can be achieved through initiating programs that help employees in enhancing written as well as listening skills, skills of negotiation and feedback.
In the majority of contemporary business organizations, employees come from diverse religions, races, states, countries, and ethnicities, thus forming a healthy mix of culture. They require a healthy environment where they can work together and assist the management in meeting the goals and objectives of the organization successfully. Employees can also be offered training programs on inclusive and diversity so that they can acquire skills of embracing inherent diversity as well as leveraging their differences leading to building of efficiency. The focus of such programs should be promotion of inclusivity, creation of a culture of unity and assist the employees to appreciate other peoples’ opinions whether they disagree or agree with their point of view. This is an important accomplishment in breaking down the perceptual differences among the employees (Genevieve, 2007).
The employees can also be trained on strategies for development of effective interpersonal relationships through sensitizations of the workers on the contribution of interpersonal relationships to business success. The training can also cover communication styles, resolution of conflicts, and the creation of a healthy working environment and skills of emotional intelligence.
The language barrier is a common feature in many organizations which can be broken through learning the basics of the employer’s language and constant communication using the language. The use of translation aids in communication and training materials are other important consideration in overcoming this barrier. The English language is used in the majority of areas and employees can be trained to use this language.
The physical barriers can also be broken down through offering training to supervisors, department heads and managers on the most suitable ways of handling their subordinates. Aspects of giving feedback, conducting meetings for performance review, mentoring and coaching skills and glooming leaders are important considerations in the training.
These training programs can be administered online to reduce the costs as well as logistics of classroom training. Employees can be able to program themselves to get short training bursts which are easily accessible anytime and anywhere. The emerging technology facilitated by the internet avails divergent training interventions to the employees based on their preferences and without interfering with their working schedules. The online training can be administered through podcast and videos that are accessible to employees via iPads and Smartphone to offer just-in-time information access leading to the maximization of impact. Employees in contemporary workplace are interested in social collaboration and connectedness which can be addressed through e-learning.
In conclusion, it is advisable that all employees in the organization take individual responsibility to fulfill their working obligations effectively and respect their co-workers irrespective of the number of barriers they encounter. Taking responsibility is a sure way of overcoming any form of barrier.
Fill, C, 2002, Marketing Communications, Contexts, strategies and applications, Prentice Hall.
Genevieve, H. 2007, Culturally, Becoming, Communication, fluent, World, 2007 2463436.