We’re confident it will come as no surprise that there’s a huge importance on effective communication in the workplace, no matter what industry you work in. Whether your staff represent a variety of cultures, languages, ages and more, you will want to make sure that communication is crystal-clear for everyone, as this will go a long way in helping you to run a successful business. In this post, we’ve identified 7 common barriers to effective communication and how you can overcome these.

In order to nurture effective team communication, you need to first identify which common barriers are relevant to your team. This will help you decide where you need to place your efforts to make improvements.

What are some of the most common barriers to effective communication?

Language-based barriers

Does your team include members whose first language isn’t English? It’s important to remember that colloquialisms and general slang may not be understood by everyone, and similarly, the level of English spoken by team members is sure to vary. Ensuring that clear, proper English is used throughout all team communication will enable great understanding, and by encouraging your team members to do the same for each other will help even further.

Gender barriers

We all know that men and women are different, so perhaps it’s no surprise to hear that they also communicate very differently. Forbes recently conducted a study to explore the differences between communication style and gender, and as you may expect; there were plenty. As a quick snapshot of the findings, in the workplace – women were found to be good listeners, but with less of an authoritative presence, whereas men were identified as being more direct, but generally insensitive to audience reaction. This helps to highlight that varying communication styles will have different effects on genders, so try to be sensitive to everyone and how they may react.

Too much information

Overloading your staff with too much information can create a communication barrier in itself. The more information you provide, the more potential there is for confusion on tasks. If you do have lots of information to convey in one go, give yourself enough time to go through every task in detail, getting feedback from your team that they’re happy, and inviting everyone to ask questions. Another way to help you avoid overloading information is to use sophisticated task management software. Here, you can list out all the priorities for that day, week or month which you can assign to the relevant team members. This means you’re not overloading your team with everyone’s priorities, and any issues are flagged using reporting functions.

Physical barriers

Remote working and shifts are growing in popularity and frequency, and depending on the size and type of your business, you may find that some team members very rarely see each other. They will, however, still need to be on the same page in terms of business requirements and tasks. For example, if you’re managing a large hotel, your evening bar staff may never interact face to face with the morning housekeeping staff. This is certainly a challenge when it comes to ensuring effective communication in hospitality, but keep reading as we’ve got some great ideas on how you can make improvements.

Emotional barriers

This barrier to effective communication can vary hugely depending on your own personality, and the differing personalities within your team. It’s important to try and not let emotions take over in the workplace, as this has the potential to cloud judgement which can have a detrimental effect on great communication. You’ll most likely be able to quickly identify personality traits within your team, so act accordingly to make sure they get the message you’re trying to convey.

Lack of trust

Although there’s certainly good cause for trust being earned in the workplace, the last thing you want is for your workforce to think you have zero trust in their capabilities. There’s a difference between trusting someone to cash up and lock up your bar, and to get on and do their job to the best of their ability. Let your behaviour indicate that you’re not checking up on them every 5 minutes, but also be approachable in case of questions. If you’re already aware that you’re not an overly trusting manager, then having intuitive software to support you can act as a way to help you trust in your team too. As an example, when you’re easily able to view maintenance priorities and any issues raised by the team, suddenly you’ve got full visibility of who is competent on fixing certain issues, plus (and perhaps more importantly from a trust perspective), which team members are in need of further training. This will go a long way in helping you to increase that all important trust!

Generational

If your team consists of everyone from Baby Boomers to Generation Z, you may find some barriers to communication in terms of how staff members are accustomed to doing things. Where Millennials and Generation Z have grown up in the digital age, it’s important to remember that others have not. Think about training and making sure it’s suitable for everyone, but also that those who may need more support are able to seek it.

An easy way to improve communication in the workplace

Whether you want to go down the personal training route or explore how technology can help, there’s always a way to improve communication in the workplace. As we love technology, we want to showcase how it can act as an incredibly effective communication tool…

How Opsbase can help you improve team communication

Especially useful if you have a team working on lots of different tasks who are here there and everywhere, we’ve developed a useful and fun way to centralise all your team conversations. It’s never been easier to welcome new staff members, run polls, host events and provide updates, so your entire team is savvy to whatever it is you want to communicate (whether work-based or fun stuff). This works really well if like previously highlighted, your team members rarely see each other, as they can still get a great level of communication through the software.

Discover how the team communications aspect to our software works.

Samantha Graves

Samantha Graves

Digital Marketing Manager

With a career spanning 10 years in a mix of hospitality and technology marketing, Sam brings her know-how to the OpsBase blog on a regular basis. Focused on providing quality hospitality marketing advice, some favourite topics include CRO, SEO and best practice content marketing techniques. Llama lover, food scoffer, all round digital native.

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OpsBase software is designed for busy restaurants bars, hotels and retailers. Manage your day-to-day operations on the move, report any issues with the click of a button, and communicate with your whole team, across multiple sites, all from one easy to set-up, simple to use app.

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