Communication Tools Are Everywhere — So Why Is Communication So Hard?

Jul 3, 2023

We live in an era of constant access. Phone calls, emails, text messages, instant messages, video conferences, and social media are all just a click away. But in spite of all those communication tools, many employees and managers struggle to maintain strong and open communication channels, especially during the hiring process.

So what are the challenges that keep us from communicating well, and what can we do to overcome them? Here are three of the top communication pitfalls:

#1: Timing is Challenging

Problem: Sometimes, texts and instant messages are a lifesaver when it comes to quick and efficient communication. But in many cases, there are long gaps in response times due to scheduling differences between those involved in the conversation. Significant delays in communication can wreak havoc on interview scheduling, offer submittals and responses, and other time-sensitive employment communication.

Solution: When an issue needs to be addressed on a short timeline, it’s almost always better to pick up the phone and hammer out the details in realtime, especially if more than two people are involved in the conversation.

#2: Expectations are Changing

Problem: Employees and managers often have different expectations about technology and communication. For example, many companies find that in-person work and communications have the best results for efficiency and productivity. However, while most employees do want to be involved in the day-to-day team-building aspects of their jobs, for many, flexible scheduling has become a top priority. In addition, there are changing viewpoints on whether and when employees will be available for workplace communications outside of standard work hours.

Solution: There is no right or wrong solution to these issues, but communicating about them clearly and respectfully, and coming to an agreement that works for everyone, is important for ensuring an engaged and productive workforce.

#3: Options Can Be Confusing

Problem: As helpful as having a variety of communication platforms can be, it can also make staying organized difficult. For example, a meeting might be scheduled on any number of different video conferencing platforms, or via phone, and overwhelmed managers or employees can easily forget the virtual location of a conversation. In other cases, a manager might be looking in an email thread to confirm a response from a candidate, but the response actually came via text message.

Solution: It can be helpful to choose one calendar platform (digital platforms are helpful because they offer notifications, but handwritten planners are also a great choice) to record all scheduled meetings, interviews, and conversations. That way, no matter where the meeting takes place, virtually or in person, you know you can find the necessary information in one place. Another option is to establish a primary communication channel with particular candidates or managers — if most of your contact happens via text, you know to rely on a text thread before checking emails or other apps. Finally, it might take a few extra minutes in communications, but you might also consider cross-communication strategies: if you send an email with important information, send a text to verify where the recipient should look, so you’ve covered all your bases.

It’s normal to experience missteps in communication, but the key is to remember that especially during the hiring process, continuous communication is essential. To minimize communication disruptions, managers and employees alike should identify areas in their communication process where there might be confusion or challenges, and work together to implement solutions that work for everyone.

About the Author

Colby McCoy

Colby began his career at Kimmel & Associates in 2015 in the Mechanical & Electrical Division. His hard work and dedication earned him Recruiter of the Year only ten months later; he won that award again in 2018.

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