How to Create Open Communication in the Workplace

Operating on a need-to-know basis is a costly choice for small businesses. A small business needs the complete commitment and participation of all its employees. Creating an atmosphere of open communication contributes to a more vibrant, creative workforce where all employees have a deep understanding of the goals of the business and what needs to be done to accomplish those goals. Open communication gives everyone equal participation in the success of the business.

  1. 1.

    Start with commitment from the top. Ensure that all managers are committed to open communication. Be visible and available to employees. Evaluate the systems of communication and ensure that processes are in place that allow for vital information to be communicated regularly throughout the business.

  2. 2.

    Keep your message positive. Motivate employees by pointing out accomplishments and exemplary work. State messages in terms of what needs to be done and what is being done well rather than what should not be done or what is being done poorly.

  3. 3.

    Make your communication process transparent. Hold open-ended meetings that give each team member the opportunity to share concerns, accomplishments and ideas. Set clear expectations for all work tasks and what you expect employee behavior to be. Avoid springing surprises on your employees when it comes to what they are expected to do.

  4. 4.

    Take inventory of the diversity of employees in your workplace. Analyze how different groups of employees receive information. Avoid using slang or jargon that might not be understood by subcultures within your workplace. Provide employees with mentors if they lack communication skills common to the greater group -- for example, international workers may be unfamiliar with communication techniques.

  5. 5.

    Establish a grievance system through which employees can make complaints in a protected manner. Give complaints serious consideration when warranted and always let employees know that they have been heard. Take action on complaints and communicate those actions to all involved parties.