A communication climate is the invisible concept of how communications are conducted within a workplace environment. Organizational communication can definitely affect employee productivity and retention. The communications environment in any workplace may be mostly effective or it can be mainly ineffective. The success of a communication climate can be assessed in several ways.
One question to ask when evaluating how successful communication is in the workplace is: Do employees have a clear understanding of what is expected of them? Supervisors and managers can check this effectiveness during employee performance reviews. Job performance can be affected by an inadequate understanding of expected details. When managers restate the expectations for the position when giving performance reviews, it can help strengthen clear communication in the workplace.
An open, clear communication climate tends to increase productivity. When employees not only know exactly what is expected of them, but understand that they have the responsibility of meeting those needs, improvement in job performance is likely to be the result. If good job performance is then rewarded favorably, such as through feedback, raises, awards or promotions during scheduled reviews, employees are more likely to keep improving on their productive work behaviors.
Communicating to workers through a system of expectations and rewards helps them “own” the responsibility to take the initiative in their work and workplace behaviors. Taking responsibility and being expected to take the initiative can also help reduce negative attitudes. Negative attitudes such as defensiveness can weaken the communication climate. For instance, an employee unclear on any part of his or her job expectations may respond that he or she wasn't told and that's why the needed work wasn't done. His or her attitude may even affect co-workers, which is likely to only create more negativity in the workplace climate.
The best communication climates foster clarity. A company's values and expectations can be communicated in many ways that work to strengthen communication. Managers can build a better communication climate by monitoring it and modeling clear communications in conversations, meetings and memos. The idea of a win-win situation between employers and employees forms the strong basis of effective communication climates.
Workplace communication workshops and seminars may help foster clearer, more effective communications in a business. Guest speakers on the topic of the workplace communication climate may help inspire employees, including managers, to adopt new, more communicative methods of behavior on the job. By bringing the subject of the communication climate into a particular workplace, the organization is also clearly communicating that the concept is something the company values and expects.