Communication is one of the most important soft skills desired by employers, thus, strong communication skills significantly enhance one’s job and career prospects. First of all, open communication helps boost employee morale and improves the working relationship between the management and the subordinates. When employees are satisfied with their jobs, they are more likely to be more productive as well as loyal to the organization .
Efficient communication networks at the workplace may also make the organization more efficient as well as reduce problems that could prove quite costly if ignored. A great example is the lack of communication among different stakeholders who worked on NASA’s Challenger Shuttle. The special commission which investigated Challenger accident found that the managers at a Government contractor company Marshall didn’t report mechanical flaws to NASA but instead tried to resolve the issues themselves . On the contrary, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) used effective communication principles during the Tylenol crisis and the company emerged as even stronger despite the magnitude of the crisis .
Communication skills are also important at the workplace because employees interact with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders who may have different communication styles. This is why interviewers often use the interview to gauge the applicant’s communication abilities in order to determine how he may interact with different people such as supervisors, colleagues, and customers etc. .
Companies today not only hire workers from diverse cultural, ethnic, and national backgrounds but also serve increasingly diverse group of customers. Good communication skills enable workers from diverse backgrounds to work together well and employees with strong communication skills also increase the company’s ability to provide good service to its customers . Many American companies have been guilty of cultural communication mistakes abroad including Pepsi, Kellogg, and Coca-Cola . Thus, companies place premiums on cross-cultural communication skills because they are also increasingly expanding overseas, often in countries with quite different communication styles such as India, China, and Brazil.
Communication also helps employees become effective leaders and make it easier for them to reach the highest levels of organizational hierarchy. One of the qualities of effective leaders is strong communication skills. Leaders often define the vision to their subordinates and motivate their subordinates to accomplish the vision. The success of the organization in achieving its vision also depends upon how well the vision laid by the leadership is understood by the subordinates. Thus, communication is one of the most important elements of effective leadership.
It is important to note that not just oral but written communication skills are also important at the workplace. Written communication takes place frequently at modern workplaces, thanks to advancements in communication technologies such as email and instant messaging. Similarly, more and more paper-based tasks such as memos and reports are moving online which further increases the importance of written communication skills. In addition to written communication, one should also pay attention to non-verbal communication such as body language, facial expressions, and posture .
It is clear communication skills are important in the workplace and employers pay higher premium on job applicants with strong communication skills. Open communication structure within organization results in improved operating efficiency. Communication skills help employees effectively interact with both internal and external stakeholders. Communication skills are also important because not only companies have more diverse workforce now but they are also serving an increasingly diverse group of customers. Communication skills are also important for developing leadership potential. It is important to note that the focus on communication skills should not be limited to oral communication only but should also include written and non-verbal communication.
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- Martin-Young, Nancy. Communication Skills in the Workplace. 23 September 2015 <http://www.sandhills.edu/academic-departments/english/teaching/comskills.html>.
- Moore, Thomas. The fight to save Tylenol (Fortune, 1982). 7 October 2012. 23 September 2015 <http://fortune.com/2012/10/07/the-fight-to-save-tylenol-fortune-1982/>.
- Oduaran, Brume. Communication Methods. 11 November 2010. 23 September 2015 <http://www.umsl.edu/~sauterv/analysis/Fall2010Papers/Oduaran/>.
- U.S. Department of Labor. Communication. 23 September 2015 <http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/Communication.pdf>.