When the Team Doesn’t Talk: 5 Signs of a Breakdown in Communication at Your Business

Think a communication breakdown in the workplace doesn’t matter? Think again! Your business could be losing up to $524,569 due to poor communications.

According to an SIS International Research study, small to medium-sized businesses are losing up to half a million dollars each year.

Find out how you can save thousands of dollars by identifying whether your business is suffering from a breakdown in communication, with these 5 easy to spot signs.

Disengaged Employees

An easy way to spot whether your company is suffering from a communication breakdown in the workplace is by looking around your office.

Do your employees seem distracted from their work? Are your employees missing deadlines? Is the work not up to a high standard?

These are critical signs that your business has had a breakdown in communication. Unmotivated and disengaged employees cost businesses thousands of dollars.

How to Deal with Disengaged Employees

The best way to find out what is causing your employees’ lack of motivation is by talking to them. Having an open discussion with your employees will enable them to voice their concerns and help you come up with a solution.

You could also produce an anonymous employee feedback form. Anonymous feedback encourages employees to be honest about their opinions towards the workplace.

Include questions such as:

  • what they enjoy about work
  • what they don’t enjoy about work
  • what they feel would improve their employee experience.

Poor Management

A breakdown in communication could be happening at the management level. This can often be the case if you have multiple managers in one department and they’re sharing different information with the team.

Managers play a key role in the various departments of your business. If a team in a certain department is dysfunctional, chances are poor management is playing a role in the communications breakdown.

Look out for sloppy work and missed deadlines. These are signs that a team is uncertain of their objections, due to receiving different instructions from managers.

How to Deal with Poor Management:

Management training is an effective way of dealing with poor communications across your business. Ensuring all your employees receive the same training is also crucial.

Remember, you are the leader; if you set a good example of employee management it will inspire your managers.

Communication is key, which is why having all your collaborative needs in one easy-to-use app is essential. This will ensure your employees all receive the same information from managers. Learn more about Unified Communications and see how it could help your business.

Employee Conflict

Your employees are bound to experience conflict when working together. It is inevitable. How they deal with that conflict in the aftermath is very important.

If employee conflict is negatively handled, then team morale will decrease. A team that holds grudges against one another can cause a severe breakdown in communication.

Department managers should always be on the lookout for signs of conflict within the team. Employee conflict signs include gossiping, complaining, an unwillingness of team members to work together, and missed deadlines.

How to Deal with Employee Conflict

A great way to avoid employee conflicts that cause a breakdown in communication is by creating a good workplace culture.

Deloitte found that ‘94% of executives and 88% of employees believe a distinct workplace culture is important to business success’.

Consider adding more company social events and running more team building strategies.

Once a conflict has occurred between your employees, encourage the people involved to discuss their experiences. It is also useful to help them identify ways in which the conflict can be prevented in the future.

High Turnovers

According to Employee Benefit News, it costs an employer 33% of a worker’s annual salary to hire a replacement employee. Staff turnovers are costly, but how do you avoid them?

High turnovers in a workplace are a clear-cut sign that your business is suffering from communication breakdowns. Especially if the high staff turnover is within a certain department.

High staff turnover could be caused by many factors, such as a lack of trust in the company, non-competitive pay compared to other businesses in the industry, or a dysfunctional team.

How to Deal with High Turnovers

No, you can’t chain a good employee to their desk. You can try to offer them a solution to their problems.

For example, an employee could be leaving because they feel they can’t work well in their team and want a higher paying role. You could offer team building exercises in their department and a pay rise or introduce incentive schemes/more employee benefits.

Conducting an exit interview is an excellent way of identifying why your employees are leaving. Keeping this data allows you to explore if there are any patterns and any issues that need resolving.

Ineffective Teamwork

Ineffective teamwork is a definite sign that your business has had a breakdown in communication.

Ineffective teamwork can cause employees to become unproductive and lack team morale. Employees may also leave the company if they aren’t getting along with their team.

Look out for these 5 signs of a dysfunctional team:

  • team disputes and arguments
  • a team that refuses to work together
  • a team that fails to meet deadlines
  • employees in a team that are calling in sick more
  • a team that is consistently causing mistakes

How to Deal with Ineffective Teamwork

Encourage team building strategies, so that your employees are better equipped at working together.

Ensure managers are holding regular one-on-one and team meetings so that individuals can voice their concerns. Dealing with a problem before it gets out of control is important, so invite your employee’s to always give honest feedback.

Communication Is Key

As Peter Drucker said, “The most valuable asset of a 21st-century institution, whether business or non-business, will be its knowledge workers and their productivity.”

Your employees are your most valuable asset. So, avoiding a breakdown in communication in the workplace is crucial for your business’s success.

If you are struggling with communication breakdowns, you must first identify the cause of poor communication and then strive to find the solution.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.