Getting staff to talk to each other ought to be the least of your problems, but internal communication can be one of the hardest nuts to crack in business.
“Communication comes up in every department. The repercussions of not communicating are vast,” says Teo Theobald, author of “Shut up and listen! The truth about how to communicate at work”. Poor communication can be a purely practical problem.
Gearbulk, a global shipping business with branches around the world, faced language and geographical difficulties, as well as a huge amount of paper work. With up to 60 documents per cargo, it was a logistical nightmare to track and monitor jobs, while tighter security regulations after 9/11 meant customs documents had to be ready before a ship was allowed to sail. Installing an automated system means data is now entered only once but can be accessed by anyone in the company, wherever they are.
“Everyone thinks a failure to communicate is just an individual’s error of judgment, but it’s not about the person: it’s about the group dynamics,” he says. “Just training people to be good communicators isn’t the issue.” The problem is that employees develop common loyalties that are far stronger than the need to share information. This can even extend to questions of safety. In the mid-1960s there were a lot of light air crashes in Australia because the two government departments responsible for air safety weren’t communicating.” says Haslam. “The government was trying to save money and both groups felt threatened. The individuals were highly identified with their own organization and unwilling to communicate with the other department.”
A company is particularly at risk when cost-cutting is in the air. Individuals withdraw into departmental loyalties out of fear. Sending such people on yet another “how to communicate” course will be pointless. Instead, Haslam believes that identifying the sub-groups within an organization and making sure each group feels valued and respected can do far more to encourage the sharing of information. The key to communication, he says is trust.
1. The word “repercussion” in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to ______.
2. Who might be the targeted audience of this article?
A. Chief Finance Officers
B. HR Directors
3. According to the article, what is the root cause of communication problems?
A. Ineffective communication models and administration system.
B. Employees’ common loyalties surpass the need to communicate.
C. Individual’s error of judgment.
D. Language barriers.
4. Why does the author mention the light air crashes in Australia?
A. To summarize the last point.
B. To make the article more interesting.
C. To start the next paragraph.
D. To prove his point.
5. What can be inferred from the last paragraph?
A. When the company starts to cut costs, employees’ loyalty towards the company will increase.
B. Instead of communicating with each other, employees tend to split into factions when company is at risk.
C. It is necessary to share information among different departments.
D. Employees should take courses on “how to communicate”.