Working as a consultant I have had the opportunity to experience many workplace cultures and I have found the common thread in all workplaces that makes the workplace a challenge is the lack of effective communication. Is communication a part of workplace ethics? Yes, it is in my opinion. I would say that workplace ethics goes beyond business ethics. Most companies focus on business ethics because senior management feels as a company, ethical principles and moral or ethical problems constantly arise in a business environment and a set of standards are established and hopefully followed. Business ethics is indeed very important for a company to focus on; understanding and complying with the laws and regulations as it pertains to business conduct keeps a company out of trouble. Business ethics has also lead to the development of corporate policies that govern ethical conduct.
Some companies still do not realize that their most valuable asset is there employee and thus, effective communication in the workplace plays an important role in maintaining good work relations and ultimately having a successful and financially stable company. What is effective communication in the workplace? Effective communication is being clear and transparent. It is communicating negative or difficult information while still maintaining trust and not creating conflict. Effective communication is encouraging attentive listening, two-way communication, trust building, confidence between management and employees, team work and constructive problem solving.
“Communication is an art” both verbal and non-verbal, it does come naturally to some and not so naturally to others. If done poorly it can create misunderstanding, frustration, questioning trust, reducing respect. Unfortunately, I have witnessed workplace communication performed poorly; hiding behind an inappropriate e-mail message or a non-verbal message thus, causing employee de-motivation and high turnover. What is most unfortunate is that most companies – senior management have no idea that they are communicating poorly and feel their lack of effective communication is justified.