internal communication breakdown

Overcoming internal communication breakdown

In today’s fast-paced work environment, it’s becoming more and more evident that many companies suffer from a serious internal communication breakdown between their departments. A recent survey on employee well-being revealed that over 40% of employees in medium to large-sized organizations feel that there is a chronic communication problem in the business. In the same survey, it was revealed that 2 out of every 6 employees believe that communication and teamwork is completely absent from their companies.

How do we deal with this menace of dropped contact lines and misread messages? What are the steps we can take to tackle it, and which departments in the company needs to communicate more? In this article, we discuss this and bring it all to light.

Deal with the uncommunicative elephant in the room

To tackle the internal communication breakdown in your company, it’s important that you adequately share the purpose and reward of proper communication with the key stakeholders—your staff. Many employees don’t know the importance of communicating with other departments in the company. They don’t realize that they are all links in a working chain, and so a breakdown in any point of the chain will result in the complete collapse of it all.

A tip you can use is to set aside a day to teach all employees the effect of proper communication. Let them know why it’s important to get right and how they can identify any issues. Here are a few major causes of information breakdown in the company that you can share with them:

  1. Conflicts between department managers: A disagreement between the department managers will result in a breakdown in communication between the two departments. Power or authority is usually the main culprit here.
  2. Physical separation of different departments: The likelihood of communication breakdown is more common among departments that are separated by physical barriers. It’s always better to limit the physical barriers between the departments in your company.
  3. Office tribalism: This is another serious issue that causes internal communication breakdown within a company. People generally relate more with the people that share the same cultural background with them. This is where it’s important to promote an inclusive culture at work.
  4. Broken telephone: With everyone so busy and caught up in what they’re doing, it’s easy to misinterpret communication and pass it on. This leads to the ever-popular broken telephone and is something to look out for.

While these are just a few of the major communication dampeners, they are the most prevalent and so special attention should be geared towards ensuring they don’t happen.

What are the perfect pairs?

While communication in general around the business should always be cohesive and kept in check, there are a few departments where it’s the difference between sparkling success or utter failure. Here are two examples of the perfect pairs:

Research & Development and Production: These are two departments that function differently, however each relies deeply on the other. The function of the production department is to undertake the activities needed to provide the organization with its products or services. This function is only possible from the result of the work the research and development department does in determining which products or services are needed and how they’ll be created.

Sales and Marketing: These two departments work together to increase and regulate the sales of the company’s products and services. There is a direct need for effective communication between these two departments to ensure that sales are on track and to identify any shortfalls. When feedback between sales and marketing is flowing, the company will benefit from a closed loop between the department often serving as a proxy for the voice of the customer (sales) and the department responsible for responding to that voice (marketing). From this communication, action plans can be created and executed to ensure that the cash flow trend remains in the positive.

Communication is one quality that should never be absent or broken within a business. For a business to be successful, every sector and department has to be on the same page with free-flowing communication and cross-functional feedback amongst them. By following the hints and tips we set out in this post and sharing them throughout the company, you and your organization will be well on the way.


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