The importance of effective communication in the workplace is a no-brainer. The ability to utilize effective communication strategies in conveying ideas and exchanging information is key to personal and company success. This highlights why proper communication is not just a valuable skill, it's an essential cornerstone in sustaining workplace success.
For leaders, mastering workplace communication is important in articulating a vision for a successful business – and by extension increasing employee engagement.
So, how can we substantiate the importance of effective workplace communication?
How can we quantify the effects of communication in the workplace?
In this article, we will review some workplace statistics on communication, how it affects performance, and the cost of poor workplace communication.
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Effective communication in the workplace improves cooperation, employee engagement problem-solving, and creativity by facilitating the flow of ideas, and feedback among employees. Moreover, it enhances staff morale, decreases disputes, and increases productivity, all of which ultimately create a good workplace.
For example, a study by Gallup revealed that employees are 3.5 times more likely to be productive at work when employee communication is enhanced. Another study by Interactive Harris revealed that 91% of employees agree that good internal communication between senior leaders and employees is vital for the success of the organization.
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Here are 9 workplace communication statistics to know:
When you communicate effectively, employee retention and productivity are enhanced, but poor communication can harm performance, leading to missed deadlines, or worse, creating a rift that can affect the bottom line.
We can further break it down.
A study has shown that some companies in the U.S. and UK have incurred losses of about $37 billion, which can all be attributed to ineffective internal communication, including employees being misinformed on company policies, business communication tools, and their job functions.
Furthermore, 28% of employees cited poor communication issues as a reason for them failing to perform at an optimum level. Therefore, for success to be achieved, communication training should be encouraged.
When working at any level, it is important to solicit feedback from your managers or corporate executives, even if you fear it may be critical. An effective communication channel will ensure good communication is shared which you can then use to enhance your performance.
A Harvard Business Review cites that employees want critical feedback as long as it's delivered well. 72% of the 899 individuals preferred to be informed employees, receiving both positive and negative feedback, as both can help them improve their performance.
Employees believe constructive criticism is essential to their career development. They want it from their leaders. However, many managers feel uncomfortable communicating, which may lead to workplace failures.
Therefore, leaders should possess effective communication as it can lead to an increase in employee retention. Effective workplace communication skills must include delivering negative or constructive feedback that can yield positive results in the long run.
However, a Harvard Business Review study found that some managers dislike giving feedback. They believe that giving direct feedback to their employees might have negative ramifications.
The technological era is fast taking shape and most people are embracing it because it affects their daily operations positively. Technology nowadays influences how we communicate, share information, and how we entertain ourselves.
Businesses are changing up operations and internal communications by embracing technology. Communication technology has been improving workplace communication and businesses are all for it. Technologies like email, instant messaging apps, and video conferencing are part of what we now rely on.
One statistic offers an important insight:
About 80% of businesses use email as their primary method of internal communications and communication. Businesses prefer reliable communication methods to share company news, updates, or changes in their ranks, and this can help them improve job satisfaction easily.
Another new aspect that's on the rise is Social Media. Digital communication tools are being used at an increased number, especially by millennials and Generation Z. 77% of American Workers use social media at work, with about 45% of companies allowing social media freedom.
The most frequently used social media spaces include; Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Social media spaces have allowed effective collaboration as people from all age groups can interact, share ideas, and build relationships that will maintain good team spirit. About 28% of employees in social media spaces have improved opinions of their colleagues after interacting in such virtual spaces.
In a 2020 study, about 80% of participants believed that social media usage at work contributed to positive face-to-face interactions.
The technological era has brought about more than one communication tool. This has increased the traffic on communication tools by over 20% in the last two decades. More than 80% of employees use multiple communication tools in their work-life balance the workplace.
Phone calls are still the primary communication tool being used in the workplace. According to a survey conducted on global working personnel, 95% of them stated that they use phone calls to communicate, either via smartphone or other calling devices.
There are other forms of communication tools used in the workplace:
Another survey stated that about 44% of employees use computers (laptops or desktops) to communicate in the workplace. Furthermore, 36% used smartphones, 16% used desktop phones, and 5% used tablets.
Remote working has gained popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and though the work models were abruptly implemented, it was necessary. Remote working has since evolved from a temporary fix to a new norm with 72% of corporate executives considering incorporating a hybrid work model into the workplace.
Remote workers have stated that effective and efficient communication is the most important aspect of remote work. So, let's look at some workplace communication statistics related to remote work.
A study conducted by Buffer stated that about 51% of employees prefer asynchronous communication, that is, for example, e-mail, while about 15% prefer real-time conversation as their primary method of communication, such as video and phone calls.
In addition, only 38% of companies prefer the use of asynchronous communication to other online communication tools.
However, with all that said, remote communication has its challenges.
Remote workers frequently cite communication as their biggest frustration. A company’s ability to adapt to remote technology and collaboration directly impacts an employee’s ability to perform their work.
A state of remote workers report by Owl Labs stated that about 70% of employees feel that it is difficult to contribute to a conversation via video calls. This can be because only 38% of companies have improved their video communication infrastructure, despite tremendous advances in this technology in the past three years.
In addition, 50% of employees attribute unreliable internet connection as a communication barrier.
In every workplace setting, employees are stretched out to encompass different generations, and each generation may have its preferences in their communication styles. The generations are Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, and Generation Z.
Let's review their communication stats:
Baby Boomers prefer face-to-face interactions and the use of phone calls, in rare instances. However, in the age of social media and smartphones, they still fall short with only 85% of them having smartphones as compared to other generations.
Generation X prefers phone calls and email; they are both direct and tech-savvy. At least 45% of Gen Xers use their smartphones to access apps, social media, and the internet. They value flexibility and technology.
Millennials have better communication skills and elevated technology prowess than Boomers and Gen X, as they were born in the era of technological evolution. They are typically not opposed to the use of modern technology 95% of millennials in the United States have smartphones.
Regarding communication, 75% of millennials prefer text messaging as their primary communication method, so when it comes to conversing with them, a large majority would prefer messaging to voice or video calls.
Last but not least, Generation Z. Despite the multiple communication tools available, the Gen Z generation prefers in-person over phone communication. 72% of Generation Z prefer it to other forms of communication. However, when it comes to difficult conversations, 75% of them prefer to converse through text rather than phone calls.
It may come as a surprise, but the majority of internal employee communications at a workplace is nonverbal. According to body language expert Dr. Albert Mehrabian, about 90% of workplace communication is nonverbal.
He further explains that communication in the workplace is verbal but in face-to-face communication, people's body language and facial expressions impact how the information is received.
To further break it down:
Dr. Mehrabian suggests that communication is 55% body language, 38% vocal, and 7% words. From an outsider's perspective, this statistic may seem inaccurate, but unspoken words can paint a vivid landscape, and sometimes even more loudly than words themselves.
Leaders should look out for such non-verbal cues as part of employee and communication strategies. Being sensitive to nonverbal communication can help create a work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated, and this increases employee satisfaction.
Effective communication facilitates trust in the workplace. Here is how poor workplace communication affects employees.
According to Grammarly 2023 State of Business Communication:
Communication statistics 2023 by project.co revealed the following effects of poor communication:
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Communication, like any aspect of a workplace, can have a massive impact on all elements of a business, especially if not done well. A company might have poor communication leads, barriers, inefficient communication channels, or leaders who give unclear communication or feedback.
We can further break down some of the challenges encountered by employees at the workplace.
A study by Haiilo showed that instant access to communication has affected employees, as they spend about 2 hours a day looking for the right information. This creates a domino effect which eventually affects their output.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought in a host of problems and most business environments were affected. As a result, remote working was encouraged by more informed employees. This therefore affected normal operations for companies or businesses. During that time, 20% of employees faced difficulties in communicating with their colleagues. (Report by Buffer)
Another aspect is employee engagement. About 60% of employees felt like their time was wasted attending team meetings, with about 39% claiming to have dozed off, and about 73% doing other activities during the meeting. This is challenging as they miss important details. Therefore, to have an effective meeting, it should be short and precise so that the information flow is easy.
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In summary, workplace communication statistics speak volumes about its vital role in personal and professional growth. Highrise offers expertise backed by over 100 years of combined experience from our seasoned coaches, who have collaborated with global executives.
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