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Importance of Communication in an Organization

Effective Communication is significant for managers in the organizations so as to perform the basic functions of management, i.e., Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling. Communication helps managers to perform their jobs and responsibilities. Communication serves as a foundation for planning. All the essential information must be communicated to the managers who in-turn must communicate the plans so as to implement them. Organizing also requires effective communication with others about their job task. Similarly leaders as managers must communicate effectively with their subordinates so as to achieve the team goals. Controlling is not possible without written and oral communication. Managers devote a great part of their time in communication. They generally devote approximately 6 hours per day in communicating. They spend great time on face to face or telephonic communication with their superiors, subordinates, colleagues, customers or suppliers. Managers also use Written Communication in form of letters, reports or memos wherever oral communication is not feasible. Thus, we can say that “effective communication is a building block of successful organizations”. In other words, communication acts as organizational blood. The importance of communication in an organization can be summarized as follows:

  1. Communication promotes motivation by informing and clarifying the employees about the task to be done, the manner they are performing the task, and how to improve their performance if it is not up to the mark.

  2. Communication is a source of information to the organizational members for decision-making process as it helps identifying and assessing alternative course of actions.

  3. Communication also plays a crucial role in altering individual’s attitudes, i.e., a well informed individual will have better attitude than a less-informed individual. Organizational magazines, journals, meetings and various other forms of oral and written communication help in moulding employee’s attitudes.

  4. Communication also helps in socializing. In todays life the only presence of another individual fosters communication. It is also said that one cannot survive without communication.

  5. As discussed earlier, communication also assists in controlling process. It helps controlling organizational member’s behaviour in various ways. There are various levels of hierarchy and certain principles and guidelines that employees must follow in an organization. They must comply with organizational policies, perform their job role efficiently and communicate any work problem and grievance to their superiors. Thus, communication helps in controlling function of management.

An effective and efficient communication system requires managerial proficiency in delivering and receiving messages. A manager must discover various barriers to communication, analyze the reasons for their occurrence and take preventive steps to avoid those barriers. Thus, the primary responsibility of a manager is to develop and maintain an effective communication system in the organization.

  1. Downward Flow of Communication: Communication that flows from a higher level in an organization to a lower level is a downward communication. In other words, communication from superiors to subordinates in a chain of command is a downward communication. This communication flow is used by the managers to transmit work-related information to the employees at lower levels. Employees require this information for performing their jobs and for meeting the expectations of their managers. Downward communication is used by the managers for the following purposes -Providing feedback on employees performanceGiving job instructionsProviding a complete understanding of the employees job as well as to communicate them how their job is related to other jobs in the organization.Communicating the organizations mission and vision to the employees.Highlighting the areas of attention.Organizational publications, circulars, letter to employees, group meetings etc are all examples of downward communication. In order to have effective and error-free downward communication, managers must:

  2. Upward Flow of Communication: Communication that flows to a higher level in an organization is called upward communication. It provides feedback on how well the organization is functioning. The subordinates use upward communication to convey their problems and performances to their superiors. The subordinates also use upward communication to tell how well they have understood the downward communication. It can also be used by the employees to share their views and ideas and to participate in the decision-making process. Upward communication leads to a more committed and loyal workforce in an organization because the employees are given a chance to raise and speak dissatisfaction issues to the higher levels. The managers get to know about the employees feelings towards their jobs, peers, supervisor and organization in general. Managers can thus accordingly take actions for improving things. Grievance Redressal System, Complaint and Suggestion Box, Job Satisfaction surveys etc all help in improving upward communication. Other examples of Upward Communication are -performance reports made by low level management for reviewing by higher level management, employee attitude surveys, letters from employees, employee-manager discussions etc.

  3. Lateral / Horizontal Communication: Communication that takes place at same levels of hierarchy in an organization is called lateral communication, i.e., communication between peers, between managers at same levels or between any horizontally equivalent organizational member. The advantages of horizontal communication are as follows:It is time saving.It facilitates co-ordination of the task.It facilitates co-operation among team members.It provides emotional and social assistance to the organizational members.It helps in solving various organizational problems.It is a means of information sharingIt can also be used for resolving conflicts of a department with other department or conflicts within a department.

  4. Diagonal Communication: Communication that takes place between a manager and employees of other workgroups is called diagonal communication. It generally does not appear on organizational chart. For instance - To design a training module a training manager interacts with an Operations personnel to enquire about the way they perform their task.

  5. External Communication: Communication that takes place between a manager and external groups such as - suppliers, vendors, banks, financial institutes etc. For instance - To raise capital the Managing director would interact with the Bank Manager.

  6. Start with something interesting: In today’s market scenario where several resumes are lying at the desk, why does a particular resume gets picked than the others in the lot? Thinking... It is because the resume has a cover letter / introductory note that makes it saleable. A summary of a candidate’s profile is always better than a simply stated one line objective which merely talks about a candidate’s aspiration and does not tell about his / her profile summary.

  7. Add a personal touch: While writing to potential clients for business, ensure that the content is customized as per the client’s profile and requirement. This helps creating a special bond with the reader.

  8. Give examples and not just adjectives: A candidate must mention a relevant example to demonstrate or justify the adjectives included in the resume. For instance, if he / she talks about his strength in area of team management, he / she should mention an example on how well a team was handled. Avoid giving micro level details, however, mention about achievements / recognitions.

  9. Leverage numbers: A candidate must back-up achievements / adjectives stated with numbers. Same goes for the corporate looking for business. Numbers form a strong base for generating commitment. A percentage movement showing improvement in performance or scores always catches attention of the readers.

  10. Avoid jargons: If a candidate is applying in a completely different industry than the one he has worked before in, he should avoid / not use jargons which are not relevant to the new industry. Jargons tend to confuse people and there is a possibility of the message being lost. In case a jargon is to be used, the expanded form should also be mentioned. For instance a jargon EMS should be written in a statement as "Employee Measurement System [EMS]".

  11. Do not misrepresent data: Write with integrity. Whether it is numbers or years of experience or sales volume - all facts stated should be true.

  12. Communication Skills: Ensure that the document is error free - no spelling or grammatical mistake. Always proof read the document / proposal or get it read by a friend / colleague.

  13. Follow-up: Most of the times a candidate submits a resume or a proposal to a prospective client and does not follow-up. Remember, there are several other resumes and proposals which are lying at the desk. A candidate needs to ensure that a prompt follow-up [ read "not too much"] should be done.



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