To communicate effectively, particularly in a business environment, requires the ability to develop mechanisms that would ensure that the exchange of messages between the two parts is performed without the risk of being misunderstood, misinterpreted and/or misaligned. In this context, effective communication between management and employees leads to better organizational performance and enhanced employee productivity.
Effective management communication requires a two-way process through which employees’ experience and expertise is used for decision making in areas that relate directly to their own work. Under a democratic leadership umbrella, employees contribute actively in the strategic planning of the organization and their efforts are recognized and appreciated. In that sense, communication efficiency can play a considerable role in improving employee satisfaction by giving employees a sense of value, respect and trust. Employees, who are not involved in organizational decisions, nor are they recognized for their achievements, become a large unexploited resource. So, managers need to undertake two-way communication to optimize this resource to further improve organizational performance and employee productivity.
The effort to develop successful communication channels focuses on the quality of strategic conversations within the organization. Top management must have a shared definition of the strategy and its purpose in order to translate high-end objectives into clear objectives to employees. Further guidance instead of simple statements of objectives should be provided to middle and/or lower managers enabling them to understand the actions required to achieve organizational goals. Regular workshops enhance further this effort but the shared understanding must be on the continuous discussions of strategy between management and employees. Emphasis should be given on the daily, two-way communication, which should involve a wide range of managers and employees.
To my view, managers should take into account that modern organizations consist of two systems: the legitimate system that involves the formal hierarchy, rules and communication patterns within the organization and the shadow system that consists of hallway conversations, grapevines, and informal procedures for getting things done. The shadow organization is the result of ineffective communication between management and employees. Particularly, during periods of crisis, pressure is being addressed on employees creating stress, insecurity and inertia.
Effective communication must be present even in states of crisis. Crisis states create business opportunities, because they shift organizational goals to a new perspective. To anticipate a crisis, management needs to figure out new solutions that would be accepted by employees. By all means, organizational change requires managerial flexibility. Management should constantly inform employees about important developments in the organization, provide feedback about employee performance, but most importantly meet employee expectations in terms of effective communication. In doing so, it enhances employee satisfaction and retention which lead to better organizational performance and employee productivity.