Means of communication Essay
As discussed above, it is important to identify the different forms of internal communication that is available. By doing this, both employers and employees are able to identify any problems they may have, and also identify their own strongest form of communication. Different forms of internal communication shall now be discussed in relation to companies, and these shall then be discussed in relation to staff morale and motivation.
Different methods of internal communication in the workplace, be it interpersonal, organizational, or horizontal, include, as mentioned above, memoranda, notices, meetings and house journals. These are just some examples of methods that may be used my managers, for effective forms of communication. Although they may be effective forms of communication, problems may arise along the way, therefore resulting in a failure of communication. This shall be discussed in further detail later.
Using a memorandum as a means of communication to employees is a fast and easy way to communicate effectively. Managers have the choice to either send memorandums to an individual, or a group of people. By sending a memo, managers are able to provide any information required, quickly, inform employees of any decisions that may have been made, and also remind people about
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The use of a notice board within an organisation is extremely popular. Not only do employees have a chance to look at the notices everyday, but managers are able to place notice boards almost anywhere. According to Taylor (1993, p. 124), it “serves as a means of mass communication”. Some may argue that because there is no direct line of communication, from the sender, to the recipient, it may cause problems, but notice boards are a useful source to post information, that is not as important as something else. For example, informing staff regarding a Christmas party could be posted up on a notice board, where as informing somebody that they have been made redundant, would not be an appropriate communication channel to take regarding that issue.
Using meetings as a source of internal communication is one of the most effective, and popular methods. Not only is it face-to-face, but it enables information to be shared openly and group decisions can be made quicker. Taylor argues, “In face-to-face communication, you have various means of conveying information…voice, facial expressions, gesture, posture and movement”. All these factors add impact when communicating with people, an impact that cannot be found when communicating through memorandums and notices.
Though when communicating through a meeting, language that is used verbally, may not be the same as how it would be written. It may come out harsh when spoken therefore language needs to be chosen carefully. When holding a meeting to communicate with staff, it is also important to listen. Employees must feel as though their opinions matter. If they feel they are being neglected or unwanted, this can result in de-motivation. This shall be discussed in further detail later.
Using house journals can be a fun and regular means of communication. Companies using this method of communication very often result in good staff relations and a more motivated work force. Often referred to as ‘newsletters’ or ‘in-house journals’, this written way of communicating is often popular amongst staff. It enables staff to have a say, and also informs them of what is going on in and around the company. Newsletters often include information such as promotions, birthdays, social events and product updates. Benefits of this mean that internal communication can be targeted at staff, not only through writing, but also pictures. Using photographs will help draw attention to the journals, and encourage staff to read it.
Although there are many forms of communication, such as what has been discussed above, there is always a risk that communication can fail. This can be due to problems such as language barriers, prejudgement and misunderstandings. For example, if somebody was to read a notice, and the wrong choice of words had been used, this could lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings. The use of accents and dialects could also cause problems when communicating with staff verbally.
Prejudgement can be a form of communication failure, through thinking that we already know what is going to be said, or expecting to hear something we do not. Taylor argues, “Often we hear what we want to hear…instead of what has actually been said”. This again causes misunderstandings and problems when it comes to communicating effectively and proficiently. In any organisation, the importance of feeling wanted and worthy is vital for both staff morale and staff motivation.
It is important that employees feel a sense of self-awareness within the workplace, and feel that they have their own self-identity in order to work to their full potential. This is imperative in order to achieve results, mainly because this is what drives a person to work in a particular way. Related to motivation, is the concept of ‘job satisfaction’. According to Cole, (1995, p. 118), “Motivation and job satisfaction are significant factors in people’s performance at work…these influences will be considered in terms of their contribution to organisational effectiveness and efficiency”.
These problems as to why communication fails are all contributors as to why staff morale can be lowered, and why employees are made to feel de-motivated. When staff are not informed properly about jobs that they must undertake, this de-motivates staff, as they are unsure as to what their job entails. Katz and Khan argue, “If people know the reasons for their assignment, this will often insure their carrying out the job more effectively”.
Communication is linked to both motivation and staff morale, which has been discussed above. Now, motivation and staff morale shall be discussed, using the work of theorists to discus the correlation of staff morale and communication. Although there are many definitions as to what staff morale and motivation are, below is a definition that sums up what staff morale and motivation is: “…The search for motive is the search for a process of thinking and feeling that causes a person to act in specific ways”. (Kolb, D. Rubin, I. & McIntyre, J. 1979)
This quotation sums up what the responsibilities are for both employees and employers. For example, it is the duty of the employer to make sure that their employees feel comfortable in the workplace, and it is the employee’s duty to communicate effectively and efficiently with their managers if they have any concerns regarding their job, i.e. any ethical issues. The way in which the employer communicates with his/her staff is very important in regards to staff morale.
Employers have a responsibility to motivate their staff, and to constantly adhere to staff morale, their needs and wants. Locke demonstrated the theory of goal setting and its significance to performance. He argued that setting goals for workers determines behaviour and therefore affects how people function in any working environment. Mullins, (1996, p. 510), discusses Locke’s theory of ‘goal setting’, and states, “People with specific quantitative goals…will perform better than people with no set goal or only a vague goal such as ‘do the best you can’. People who have difficult goals will perform better than people with easier goals”.
Goals such as this, which are set for employees, will help to maintain healthy relationships between both management staff and sub-ordinate groups. If employees are set realistic goals by their managers and have constant praise and acclaim, they will feel happier and more contented in their work. If managers motivate their team, people take more pride in their work, and this, therefore results in better productivity.
Other theories of motivation include the work of Abraham Maslow, and his ‘Hierarchy of Needs’. Here, he discusses the concept of people’s needs, through the process of arranging them in a hierarchy. His main argument is that basic needs must be satisfied, before higher needs and wants come into play. Basic needs at the lowest level include physiological needs, through to safety needs, love needs and esteem needs. The highest level is that of self-actualisation. Below is a diagram showing Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’.
The diagram that is shown above, shows Maslow’s hierarchy, in relation to a hierarchy of work motivation, according to Luthans (1973, p. 242). Luthans argues that because humans have such ‘diverse motives’, self-esteem and self-actualization, are often key elements in the ‘content of wok motivation’. Maslow argues that once a lower level in the hierarchy has been satisfied, it no longer acts as a ‘strong motivator’. At that point, the needs of the next level must be met, and this becomes the new, ‘motivator’. Maslow therefore argued, “A satisfied need is no longer a motivator”. If employees are aware of their own needs, and self-awareness, they therefore feel more motivated within themselves, and have a better chance of reaching self-actualisation.
As discussed above, setting goals is also a relevant way of motivating your staff. Through setting goals and identifying development requirements for staff, employees will feel more motivated and pleased with themselves once these goals have been met. A result of this will be a better working environment, more motivated staff, better productivity and therefore a more efficient and effective workforce. Mullins, (1996, p. 766) states, “…The manager must be able to identify clearly real development needs and goals, to take responsibility for actions to reach these goals and recognise opportunities for learning”.