No matter your company’s industry, size or location(s), communication is a fundamental part of how your organization does business. The ways your employees interact with their colleagues, share input and even write an email can be an indicator of company culture.
While your employees hope that every message they receive or point of contact they have are in line with the business’s values, that’s not always the case. Sometimes, there’s a divide between intentions and outcomes – or a complete disconnect – which can lead to disengagement and undermine the spirit of the organization.
To better align your company’s desired culture with its everyday experiences, Learning & Development (L&D) professionals can focus their attention on the ways employees and leaders exchange ideas and information. To start, I recommend that L&D leaders mind the gaps.
3 Communication Gaps that L&D Can Close
#1 – Skills Gaps
As many corporations have transitioned to remote or hybrid work, communication skills have become even more in-demand. To assess your workforce, consider where you may have a disparity between needed capabilities and existing talents. Depending on the type of environment you want to create, you may prioritize different capacities. For example, companies that state they value employee voice might spend more time developing active listening skills within their people, while organizations that describe themselves as people-centric may first prioritize emotional intelligence. Think about how your business defines its climate and how that translates into specific communications capabilities. Then, conduct a skills audit to identify your next steps.
#2 – Connection Gaps
When team members operate in silos or are disconnected from each other, it can have a negative impact on culture – unless of course, your desired state is one of seclusion, not inclusion! Most companies aim to have some sort of collaborative approach to work, so relationships matter. To knock down silos and create alignment across the corporation, L&D teams can identify opportunities to promote connection. For instance, collegial coaching and mentorship can provide a learning opportunity to your staff while also connecting people in different job functions and roles who they may not talk to often. L&D professionals can also host training sessions and conduct team building exercises designed to help staff understand one another and discover how to work together more effectively.
#3 – Leadership Gaps
When executives and managers model behaviors that positively reflect your corporate spirit, you are much more likely to see those interactions repeated throughout the organization. To inspire positive change, analyze where your leaders are excelling in how they express and exchange ideas as well as areas that may need attention. Some of the improvements could be focused on our #1 challenge (i.e., skills gaps) or the disparities could come from factors like a lack of best practices and standards. As an example, you might find that managers need more protocols for running effective meetings, engaging employee voice or internal communication dos and don’ts.
While addressing the three issues above can be a great place to begin, they are not the only communication obstacles that exist in business. To support your work, I encourage you to download our recent guide, Bridge the Gap to a Better Workplace Culture.
As you mind communication gaps in your organization, you’ll find that the employee experience improves as well. Start with any one of the opportunities above or in our guide to begin making positive culture shifts today.
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