All of us love a good story, in a rainy evening, cozying up by grandma's lap, sipping some hot chocolate and listening to some good old stories? We love learning what happened in the past and in a way, we love learning new things. However, the images that form in grandma's mind while narrating the story and the ones that form in our mind while receiving the story will be entirely different. Grandma wins when the crux of the story is conveyed entirely and she succeeds in that every time! This is the point where every other learning organization struggle, in filling the communication gap.
Every learning organization has its own performance issues to fight with. And every employee in that organization requires different skills and information to fill the gaps. However, you must diagnose the cause before enacting meaningful change. You see, performance gaps are just a symptom. It takes careful planning, evaluation, and analysis to solve productivity problems and get your employees back on track.
Steps to overcome communication gaps in the workplace
1. Focus - give them what they need!
One of the biggest challenges that employees face is not getting the information they need to do their job effectively. This leads to performance gaps and acts as a barrier and affects their overall productivity. When you are communicating with your employees, it is your sole responsibility to ensure that the message is being delivered, the way it was intended to be delivered. This is why you have to be focussed on the audience that you are delivering the message to. We have discussed this in one of our previous blogs, that there is no point in talking caterpillar to your employees who are already butterflies! There are two key reasons for this information shortage. If the online training program is not catering to their specific goals and needs, there is no point to that learning! As such, they aren't getting the targeted knowledge and skills they require.
2. Framing the learning program
We know that the most important element in overcoming communication gaps in the workplace is the message. Now, what if this crucial element is taken across in a haphazard manner? Every learning organization must keep in mind to give the employees ample tools and accessibility. It is the organization's responsibility to provide employees with the online training tools of the trade, such as mobile-friendly microlearning online training materials that they can view on any device. We know that this is a mobile world and almost all of us are always moving. Responsive design eLearning authoring tools can make this process really easy by giving you the ability to create any kind of interactive online training activities that adjust to any screen, helping your corporate learners keep up with their online training even when they are not in the office. This is a key point to be kept in mind.
3. Grow. Evolve. Adapt.
The world around us is constantly changing. The only thing that is constant is change. Meanwhile, your organization is also changing rapidly, but are you embracing the change the right way? We are in 2020. There is no point in trying to teach 1950s to a bunch of 2000s. Now, it is important to know what went down and what happened around but what keeps us going is now. This means that your online learning program has to grow and evolve to adapt. Otherwise, your employees are going to searching in the dark or rather learning how to fix a water tap when what they actually need to know is to fix bugs! And needless to say, performance gaps are sure to follow. As your business needs, goals, and organizational objectives change, be sure to update your online learning courses and performance support resources. You cannot expect your employees to learn and grow if you . as an organization is not ready. To ace the role of a learning organization, you must be ready to evolve and adapt accordingly.
4. Choose the right medium to overcome communication gaps
In all the communication models, the importance of channel or medium has been emphasized. As mentioned in the above point, choose a mobile medium so that the employees can access the training or learning programs even when they are not in the office. The main problem is that a learning organization would believe that something would work and will take that up. For example, email is a fine choice for a formal office message that is easy to understand, but if you’ve ever used sarcasm or dry humor in an email message, you probably know how easily it can be misinterpreted. Same way, you cannot expect your employees to learn and understand if you send them content over e-mail!
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place."- George Bernard Shaw
We have spoken time and again about the importance of feedback. If you say "value" and they hear "shall you", the whole essence of communication is lost in the wind! The problem that many organizations face is lack of transparency and employee involvement. Employees should sit on the sidelines while you develop your online training program. Create a learning culture, solicit their feedback, and make certain that they know the benefits of active participation. Make them aware of the organizational goals and objectives so that they know where to focus their efforts. If they know where to set their sights, they are more likely to meet expectations and achieve their true potential.
6. Avoid assumptions
This point goes in line with the introduction of our blog. All of us have different learning capacities and level of understanding. If each of us were given a flower and were asked to write about it, each of the writing would be different. The same flower would be defined and described differently by every individual. The perception and way of understanding varies from employee to employee. Avoid assumptions that what you said have been comprehended by everybody in the learning group.
7. Creativity is key
If I were to give you the same breakfast for every day for the next month, wouldn't you get bored at some point in time? The same applies to the learning principle as well. As a learning organization, you have to come up with new ways of imparting knowledge and information. Group activities, fun assignments and likewise can be incorporated to make learning more fun. All of us have a child inside us so, it's okay to go down that path of fun and frolic.
"Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity"
Effective communication is crucial to ensure effective learning. Learn, impart and listen to ensure that organizations overcome communication gaps.