Communication Barriers in Business – Part II – The Impact

Miscommunication can be something as simple as missing an email to more complex issues where team members are physically or emotionally unable to communicate appropriately.

What happens when a team isn’t communicating well? Why do businesses place so much value on communication? Because miscommunication errors can be incredibly expensive, literally and figuratively.

Here are five ways communication barriers can affect a business.

1. Misunderstandings Cost Money

How much can inadequate communication cost a company? A lot. A survey by SHRM reported that large companies (100,000 employees) lose an average of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication. That said, businesses that actively use the best communication practices can generate up to 47% higher returns to shareholders.

2. Employee Morale

64% of employees report trust has a direct impact on their workday. Miscommunication happens when there’s an information gap. Whether intentional or not, miscommunication can cause confusion, hurt feelings, or lost trust.   When employees lose confidence in one another or the leadership team, it creates high levels of employee disengagement and eventually can lead to a toxic work environment.

3. Reduced Efficiency

Lack of, or poor, communication slows down the workday. According to McKinsey, only 39% of an employee’s time is spent on role-specific assignments, leaving the other 61% of the time spent on things like replying to emails or gathering information. The more time spent on reading complicated emails or deciphering unclear messages means less time for more critical work.

When colleagues are skilled and open communicators, they work together more effectively, ultimately enhancing individual and collective productivity.

4. Lack of Creativity

Businesses need to create a safe, collaborative work environment. Communication and the way people within the company speak to and interact with one another is a critical part of a healthy work environment and corporate culture.

Burnout is real.  When people feel like they can’t share their opinions freely, they often shut down and will no longer express their ideas. Losing passion and creativity can be a huge financial hit on a company.

5. Employee Turnover.

Employee retention is a huge problem in 2021 and 2022. Less than a year ago, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in a single month.  The Great Resignation is real and costing companies millions in recruiting, hiring, lost talent, lost customer relationships and lost knowledge and experience.

People want to work in a safe, healthy, and friendly environment where they feel appreciated and can grow professionally. When businesses don’t meet modern work-life expectations, there’s an increase in employee resignations. Recruitment costs for employees can be up to 50% of an entry-level employee’s salary and up to 150% of a supervisor’s salary.

Communication barriers aren’t just an inconvenience, they are a costly business challenge. The best way to avoid this is to build a solid communication structure that is inclusive, easily accessible, and acceptable by everyone.   Once built, continuously reviewing the communication process, updating the communications technology and ensuring information is flowing both ways will help keep everyone on the right page.