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Communications Learning Personal Development

Effects of ineffective communication in the workplace

Aiza Mabayag
4 min read

What are the effects of failed communication strategies in the workplace? 

Ineffective communication may be a reason for misunderstandings to arise, damage workplace relationships, break trust amongst workers, and increase hostility, angst, and spite.  

Distinct factors that affect communication may include failure to communicate and execute styles, incorrect use of communication vehicle, lousy timing as well as nuances in tone of voice and choice of words just to name a few. 

Basically, good communication strategies are very important in all aspects of human life. However, in the workplace, uninformed and disconnected employees can affect an organisation significantly. The implementation of effective organisational communication tools, skills and approaches is vital in keeping utmost competence and performance. 

Generally, in any industry or niche, poor communication will most definitely limit the organisation’s ability to optimise productivity and performance.  

When an organisation fails to push internal communications through online community software and emailing system, frequent meetings and even the use of instant messaging platform, there will be important aspects of an organisation that can be affected.  

Jamie Morse of SenateSHJ, one of Australasia’s most successful independent communication consultancies, says that remote work environment “has been very challenging because we no longer have the opportunity to speak to people ‘around the watercooler’ or in the moment. We forget how important informal interaction is. With so many people now working remotely leaders have had to revert to more scheduled video conferences just to check in with teams and individuals. “ 

Below are some of the negative effects of ineffective communication which warrants immediate attention to achieve harmony and camaraderie within the workplace. 

Culture of suspicion and mistrust 

One of the essential elements for all types of relationships and teams to work and thrive is  trust. Organisations which are highly performing have developed a strong sense of confidence and trust amongst them, which propels the organisation towards achieving one common goal- productivity. 

When there is a failure in the communication of goals by the management, employees begin to misinterpret that there is vital information being kept from their knowledge. There is a brewing mentality of “us versus them” which is hugely detrimental to the organisation.  

Restricted employee engagement 

One of the most favourable work environment is a workplace that encourages the input of ideas, insights and encourages feedback. Eventually, this will lead poor relationships amongst colleagues . Keep in mind that poor communication strategy limits the genuineness or sincerity of relationships and employee engagements. When there is a limited engagement, there will be a lack of commitment, poor organizational morale and turnover.  

Ambiguity, doubt and uncertainty 

One of the most effective ways to achieve better departments, workers and leaders from the top executives down to the department heads eventually to frontline employees is to emulate a top-down communication line. By doing so, it will effectively move every information from one direction.  

Eventually, this will make departments and individual employees work with a sense of certainty. When workers lack the idea of their workflow, they will not know which tasks to prioritise and require productivity. Mixed messages can cause various degrees of confusion.  

Ineffective client relations and interactions 

Inadequate client response can result to poor internal communication, mentoring and coaching and training of front-liners who will communicate directly to clients. Despite their direct influence on clients, poor employees and customers’ communication lines will limit the organisation’s ability to build a base of loyal customers. The concern may appear to be magnified further when organisation do not solicit or care about customer satisfaction and feedback to identify the missing links in better customer experience and communication strategy.  

 An issue related to designation or resources may arise 

There are instances when the resources in the organisation are quite limited (equipment, budget and supplies to name a few). If there is poor or ineffective means of communication, there will be chances that the resources will go to individuals or departments who are not the main recipients. This will leave the ones who need them to be deprived eventually. This will somehow have an effect on the morale and productivity of the teams involved. It is safe to say that when developing strategies of communication in an organisation, an office must ensure to promote constant and continuous communication lines in between departments and managements.  

Absence of teamwork and collaboration 

When a workplace has been plagued with ineffective means of communication, workers are less likely to get inclined towards exerting collaborative efforts amongst themselves. Without harmony in the workplace, it will be difficult to reach corporate goals and objectives of the organisation. 

Rumour-mongering and the culture of gossip 

Inadequate and ineffective communication in a workplace can sometimes result to the development of hearsays resulting to tension and friction.  Rumors and gossips promote animosity amongst workmates. Some workers consider this culture of gossip to be a leisure activity which makes matters even worse. Workmate bonds are destroyed and some are even beyond repair.  

Poor communication in the workplace can affect corporate culture, costs, leadership and productivity. For those organisations where inefficient communication is prevalent, they may feel less involved, heard of and understood. Eventually it will lead to a decrease in their performance and are less productive.  

When management do not communicate well, it may lead to the development of distrust and confusion. One of the primary skills to have for a leader to be effective is the ability to communicate. If a leader has failed to hone his communicative skills, the ability to lead will definitely suffer. Workers will have to work harder and yet they do not accomplish much. Thus, the cost of doing the business will be affected when a leader fails to communicate efficiently.  

When an organisation makes conscious effort into prioritising communication, the realisation of corporate goals and increased profitability or productivity is within reach. With fully engaged employees, come favourable results as they tend to work smarter and harder. Eventually, it will help the business in achieving full potential for your organisation.  


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