Human Resources

The Biggest Red Flags of Poor Internal Communication


Most businesses struggle with communication at some point. In an age where strong communication skills are prized and we have numerous options for modes of communication, one would think we’d all be better at communicating.

In fact, most people think they’re doing a great job of communicating, when in fact their message isn’t really getting across effectively. There are some major red flags for any business that signal that communication internally is missing the mark.

Red Flag #1: Increased Conflict

When tension is in the air, communication issues are often the culprit. Conflict frequently arises in the workplace when expectations aren’t clearly outlined, and aren’t well met. So, if your company is experiencing a higher than normal level of conflict, re-examine how you’re communicating expectations and how you’re communicating disappointment with unmet expectations. Do your employees understand and remember what’s being asked of them? Are they able to pose questions? What sorts of questions do they have, and were they answered initially, or not? How could your process protect from misunderstandings or oversights in the future?

Red Flag #2: Changes are a Challenge

One of the simplest way to tell if you have a problem with communication is by evaluating your business’s ability to implement change. When you roll out a new procedure or initiative, how nimble is your team? Teams that communicate well are able to have productive meetings that result in actionable steps towards change. However, when a team doesn’t communicate well, change can be doubly hard.

If you’ve held staff meetings and sent memos about process changes and you’re still not seeing a shift, the problem is likely not your employees’ willingness to change (though, as we all know, change can be hard for some!), it’s the frequency of reminders about the change. Businesses that communicate exceptionally are finding ways to place passive reminders in the line of sight of their employees as they’re completing the tasks involved in the new process.

Red Flag #3: Errors Everywhere

If your team is making a lot of mistakes, either they don’t understand the process or they are being lazy about executing it. Communication is at the center of both possible realities. For example, if they’re feeling lazy, why have they become complacent? Are they burnt out? Do they enjoy the work? Do they like the culture of your workplace?

If they’re not understanding the process, then perhaps the mode of communicating it and the ability to check their work has some gaps. Or, perhaps, the process is a broken one that needs reimagined. Giving your employees a voice and a mode of communicating that is key.

Whatever your communication problem, we’d love to help. We wrote a book filled with strategies to dramatically improve your communication, and we’d love to give it to you, free. Just click here to download the communication guide.

Colleen Cook

Colleen Cook

Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, Ohio, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.