Employee Communications ~ 8 min

How to Improve the Communication Gap Between Management and Employees

HR Team, People Experts, Sociabble
HR Team People Experts

Successful business relies on smooth and open communication, a steady flow of relevant information that keeps employees informed and engaged. However, one of the gaps that appears again and again is between management and the workers they oversee.

Top-down and bottom-up communication is an essential component of any viable communication strategy, yet they are overlooked time and time again. But what’s the best way to bridge this gap and keep information flowing? How can management and employees in the office and on the frontlines keep the channels of communication open? In this article, we’ll explore why these questions matter, and provide practical solutions to solving the communication gap problem. 

Understanding the communication gap between management and employees

In order to understand communication gaps, you have to determine where they most often occur; what kinds of situations give rise to obstructed information streams. These can often be found in scenarios where managers don’t have the proper tools to stay in contact with employees, or where a strategy isn’t in place that’s designed to facilitate relevant and frequent communication. 

For example: frontline workers in a factory might not have access to a desktop workstation or a professional email address. Unless there is a communication app for their mobile device, and a designated, targeted channel to reach them, corporate information from HQ will not get to them.

These kinds of situations will have a negative impact on both productivity and morale. Mistakes, bottlenecks, and a lack of worker coordination will affect business, and disconnected employees won’t feel like they’re part of a broader team with a common mission. And the company’s overall performance will suffer as a result. 

Common causes of communication gaps

While there are practically an infinite number of reasons communications can break down, a few common ones tend to appear again and again, getting in the way of what could be smooth and effective communication. These can include:

  • Differences in communication styles and preferences

Sometimes the ways that management tries to reach out and pass information don’t match what employees expect or are accustomed to.

  • Language and cultural barriers

Especially in global companies, some employees may feel left out if the language being used or the cultural themes are unfamiliar to them.

  • Hierarchical and organizational barriers

The silos and compartments into which companies are often organized can get in the way of top-down and bottom-up communication.

  • Lack of clarity in goals and expectations

The purpose behind communications is not always expressed in ways that employees can understand, resulting in diminished perceived relevance. 

Importance of effective communication for managers

Effective communication is one of the biggest success factors for corporate management. The ability to both give and receive feedback and updates in a cohesive, timely fashion correlates directly to business achievement. And managers are essentially the trend-setters–employees pick up on their cues and act accordingly. They have a crucial role in laying the groundwork for effective communication, and preventing a communication gap from forming. A positive and productive workplace depends on it. Poor communication is a reflection of poor management practices.

There is strong motivation to improve communication, simply because strong communication enhances engagement and performance. When employees receive the information they need to do their jobs, and also feel their voice is respected and heard, they are more involved in company life, and more productive in their output. The two go hand in hand.

Simply put: companies that communicate effectively–that is to say, that have strong employee communication strategies in place, backed up by the right digital tools–just perform better. Higher engagement levels, boosted productivity, lower employee turnover–all of these apply. When communication gaps are filled, business takes off.

why is communication important in business

Solutions to improve workplace communication gaps

So what can be done to get rid of communication gaps? Or to prevent a communication breakdown from forming? Fortunately, there are several basic steps companies can take to improve communications and reduce obstacles and barriers. Here are just a few core guidelines to help resolve communication gaps. 

Recognize the causes of communication gaps

This can be done with surveys, virtual “suggestion boxes,” and by examining analytics. Determining why information is not getting through is the first step in fixing the problem.

Identifying barriers to effective communication

Once input has been taken and analytics have been considered, it’s time to identify what the actual and specific barriers are that create workplace communication gaps and communication problems. Are newsletters too long to read? Do frontline workers not have access to email? Are employees overwhelmed by irrelevant messages?

Providing communication training for employees and managers

Training and seminars to promote best practices can help managers and employees improve their own habits and techniques.

Encouraging regular team meetings and one-on-one discussions

Live team meetings and face to face video discussions can help eliminate distance in our digital and remote work age, and make things feel more personal.

Sociabble Enterprise Video is a feature built into the Sociabble platform that goes beyond traditional instant messaging, to make actual video conversations simple, be it a virtual town hall conducted by the CEO, or a quick video tutorial on the latest safety procedures. It also includes transcription and real-time translation, so ALL employees can get involved.

Want to see how to leverage video for your employee communication?

Schedule a personalized demo with our experts, who will walk you through an immersive platform experience.

Utilizing communication tools and platforms for seamless interaction 

The right digital tools can make the difference, by empowering and enabling a better communication experience, thus eliminating common communication gaps and encouraging free-flowing communication.

Sociabble, for example, is a total employee communication solution, designed to keep employees informed, engaged, and connected to management no matter where they are located. And Sociabble Enterprise Video makes the experience even more immediate and more personal, allowing for face to face interactions and the incorporation of body language.

Promoting open communication in the workplace

So we’ve provided a few basic steps to improve communication gaps. But how can you create a more open environment that encourages the free two-way flow of information between managers and employees via a designated communication channel? What can you do to make sure management and employees feel comfortable sharing both problems and insights? These are a few suggestions to stimulate good communication, which can be achieved by:

Creating a culture of open feedback and constructive criticism

Feedback is critical, as long as it is received in a constructive manner. Managers need to set the tone and make this clear, as it is crucial to both a healthy work environment and professional development. It should be part of company culture. 

Encouraging employees to voice their ideas and concerns

Employees should never feel afraid to voice a concern or express an idea to their leadership team. Managers need to encourage feedback as part of daily company life. One way to ensure this happens is with the kind of survey and content sharing features that Sociabble offers, giving employees a voice and letting it be heard, thus making sure employees feel valued.

Ensuring managers are approachable and accessible to their teams

Again, video Q&A sessions and town halls like the kind made possible with Sociabble Enterprise Video are an easy way to make managers more available to receive team feedback.

Overcoming communication issues & challenges 

So what’s the final step in overcoming communication challenges to close the communication gap between employees and management? Well, it has to do with breaking down the physical barriers and strategic barriers that naturally spring up in many work environments, while also reinforcing positive behaviors. Here are several examples:

Addressing language and cultural barriers through diversity initiatives

Having a built-in translation feature for your communication platform can break down the barriers and communication gaps that keep offices separated and unconnected, and that sometimes stand between management and staff. Sociabble’s translation feature can handle both posts and videos, offering real-time translation in over 60 languages. 

Implementing a feedback loop to assess the effectiveness of communication strategies

Feedback loops ensure that concerns are brought up and that problems are addressed. With Sociabble, HR apps can be integrated into the platform, enabling employee feedback to be collected and analyzed.

Dealing with conflicts arising from miscommunication in a proactive manner

Addressing conflicts head-on can help to reduce much bigger problems down the road. This is why fostering an open forum for employee feedback can be extremely helpful for tackling inefficiencies and procedural disputes, thus reducing workplace failures. 

Providing emergency communication channels in times of crisis

In emergencies, employees need a reliable channel they can go to for finding essential information and critical updates. Having such a communication policy in place can ensure productivity, and more importantly, safety, during moments of urgency and uncertainty, despite problems of physical distance.

Thanks to Sociabble Enterprise Video’s translation features, we’ve halved the time we spend filming with our top management. We now use one video and one message for all our regions and save several thousand euros on translation per video.
Anne de Warren Corporate Communications Director Pierre Fabre

Sociabble: the communication platform that eliminates communication barriers

Bridging the communication gap between management and employees involves opening up channels for top-down and bottom-up communication, providing tools to enable interaction and feedback, and eliminating obstacles, like language barriers and tech shortcomings. 

The long-term benefits of a transparent and communicative workplace culture are numerous, incorporating elements of engagement, talent retention, and productivity. Sociabble, as a communication platform, is designed to do precisely this. It’s already been used by industry leaders like Coca-Cola CCEP, Primark, Renault Group, and L’Occitane, and we’d love to talk to you about ways we can help your company achieve similar results.

Just click here to receive a free, personalized demo.

Want to see how to leverage video for your employee communication?

Schedule a personalized demo with our experts, who will walk you through an immersive platform experience.