The ability to communicate clearly is the archetypal “soft skill” for your employees. In contrast to understanding how to perform a specific process or use a piece of technology, communication is all about empathy, emotional intelligence and the ability to put thoughts into words clearly.
It’s natural to assume that only a certain subset of employees need good communication skills, such as customer service personnel, frontline retail workers or hospitality clerks. While these individuals do need to know how to communicate, so do the other members of your team.
Your company will be more successful when employees across departments and functions are expert communicators. Investing in training can make these gains a reality.
Every Employee Needs Communication Skills
There are two main reasons why communication training for employees should be extended beyond those working in the clearest public-facing roles.
- In the digital age, more employees than ever before are interacting with the public and shaping the perception of your brand.
- Workplace communication is an important part of successful internal collaboration, and therefore still important for workers who never never interact with customers.
When your audience interacts with your company today, engagement may not go through traditional customer service channels. A subject matter expert may help a customer resolve an issue by communicating through social media. Consumers may even make inferences about your brand when reading personal social media posts written by your team members. These workers, no matter their roles, should be expert communicators.
As for the importance of effective communication within the workplace, Training Industry points out that everyday processes often come to a halt because employees cannot collaborate and interact effectively. From a failed meeting to a derailed project, major undertakings can turn into wastes of money and effort when workers, especially leaders, find themselves unable to make their points clearly.
Develop Employee Communication Skills to Protect Your Brand
Communication is a skill that can be invisible when it is strong, but very evident when lacking. The ability to communicate effectively can keep projects on track and help your employees build positive bonds with customers. This may just seem like business as usual, but it is really a response to strong abilities throughout the workforce.
But what does it look like when those abilities aren’t present, and workers haven’t had effective communication skills training? The Corporate Finance Institute listed a few warning signs to watch out for, including a lack of active listening, choosing the wrong channel for messages and the tendency to spread blame.
Employees who lack strong communication skills can inadvertently harm your brand in several ways, limiting the success of internal projects and presenting the wrong messaging to your audience. In the modern business environment, when consumers are driven by their impressions of companies’ values, it’s especially important to ensure your team members are good representatives of the company.
Communication Training for Employees: Courses and Options
Fortunately for businesses seeking to raise the level of their workers’ external communications and internal collaboration, there are a wide variety of employee training courses available on this subject. While it’s tempting to assume communication abilities are innate — people either have them or they don’t — they are a learned skill like any other. Courses on the topic can be a great investment.
Communication training for employees may be offered by industry, workplace, role or specific ability. Internal-focused communication skill courses are available on subjects such as written communication, expressing oneself respectfully, sending clear emails, giving feedback to fellow employees, delivering presentations and more. On the external side, there are numerous courses aimed at improving customer service through every channel and situation imaginable.
Whether your company employs 10 people or 10,000, and whether those colleagues interact directly with customers or not, soft skills training in communication can help the business thrive.