Why communication skills should be part of every L&D offering
More than three-quarters of the average employee’s day is spent communicating with colleagues, clients, and management (1). That is an enormous portion of time that could either be beneficial or detrimental to a company depending on the effectiveness of the communication skills of its employees. Communication affects every area of business making effective communication is an in-demand skill for organisations regardless of industry.
Yet, because of the focus on developing technical skills in business, this essential soft skill is lacking in 80% of organisations (2). Here are 4 reasons why the development of employees’ communication skills should be a focus for every business and why communication should be a part of every L&D offering.
Communication improves teamwork and increases productivity
Many businesses have realised the benefits communication has on collaboration and productive efficiency. The Harvard Business Review found that the time spent by managers and employees in collaborative activities has ballooned by 50 percent or more over the last two decades (3).
Effective communication skills and increased productivity go hand in hand. When businesses, teams or individuals miss or fail to meet their targets, it is often due to poor communication about projects, goals, milestones, and deadlines. When it comes to productivity, technical skills can take employees so far in terms of the know-how to get their jobs done but by ensuring there is a clear line of communication surrounding expectations, deadlines and goals between employees and management, as well as between a business and its clients, misunderstandings, and mistakes are reduced, and productivity rates soar. Employees with strong communication skills are not only more productive but are also more accountable and reliable as well as better at collaboration and delegation.
Good communication is the backbone of sales and business relationships
In business, success and sales are rooted in a company’s ability to gather and communicate information in a way that makes a prospective client want to do business. A company’s image, pricing, and even a product’s features are irrelevant if the intended message is not communicated successfully. Strong communication skills do not stop at an employee’s ability to pitch a product. Building trust in a business relationship involves a strong set of skills in both written and verbal communication, active listening, and even body language. Offering employees opportunities to improve and develop their communication skills has a direct impact on the company’s success. Businesses with highly effective communicators achieve 47% higher returns to shareholders compared to those without strong interpersonal skills (4).
Communication fosters decision making and problem-solving
One of the most common causes of problems in the workplace is poor communication. It just so happens that the best solution to most workplace conflicts is effectively communicating to find a solution to the issue. When an organisation values the nurturing and development of its employees’ communication skills, it encourages productive communication regarding decision making and problem-solving.
Through its focus on the communication skills of its employees, Googleencourages an organisation-wide collaborative atmosphere to make decisions and tackle problems (5).
The Google way of solving problems is to foster a culture of communication and problem-solving throughout. The direct communication between teams and managers cultivates an open atmosphere for employees to voice their opinions and suggestions in various ways.
Boost innovation and creativity with effective communication
When we think about some of the most incredible innovations over the past century, few can hold up to the discovery of the structure of our DNA by James Watson and Francis Crick. Imagine if, rather than allegedly immediately running to their local pub to announce their ground-breaking innovation to the world of science and medicine, Watson and Crick chose not to share this new conclusion. Effective communication is the key to innovation in more ways than one.
When people can connect, amazing things happen in terms of creation and innovation. Open channels of communication and collaboration between employees inspire new ideas and actively listening to feedback and suggestions both internally and externally from clients or customers, leads to opportunities for innovations and improvements.
At the end of every business day, good communication is the foundation for success. Depending on the size of the company, an organisation with strong communication skills can save businesses between $420, 000 and $62.4 million per year (6). Investment in the nurturing and development of the communication skills of an organisation’s employees is an investment in both the present and future of the company.