Business communication is a professional way of sending, receiving and interpreting messages that are related to business functioning or the business product (Thomas, 2009).
Business communication can be internal or external. Effective communication is really important for every organisation. Effective communication depends on how messages are transmitted and interpreted. It requires many skills from an individual to make a conversation effective (Elearn, 2013). Murphy gave Seven C’s which serve as a basis of effective communication. These are: Completeness, Conciseness, Clarity, Consideration, Correctness, Courtesy and Concreteness (Murphy, 2008). In this report, we have discussed 2 examples of business communication one is of excellent communication and other is of poor communication.
A case of poor communication came to light when HR head of Yahoo Jackie Reses send a poorly constructed memo to its employees. The memo stated that employees working from home should start working in offices. Employees were asked either to work from offices or quit their jobs. The email also pointed that work done by home is not up to the mark. It created a debate on various forums about this topic (New york times, 2013).
Yahoo Inc.! was founded by Jerry Yang and David Filo in January 1994. It has headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. This company provided internet related services like, mail boxes, search engines and digital content products. Current CEO and president of the company is Marissa Mayer (Yahoo annual report, 2015).
Nature of communication:
In this case, the nature of communication was internal business communication though the failure in communication made it a matter of public debate. The flow of information was downward i.e. from to bottom. The policy decision taken by the CEO was communicated by HR head. Communication style was autocratic; a style where leaders exercised the ultimate power and use one way communication (Cheryl,2007). It created anger and frustration among the employees. But in the other case of HSBC bank the whole scenario was just opposite. HSBC’s communication policy asked for employee opinions and managers have to listen to them. Therefore the flow of information was from bottom to top. This policy focused on democratic communication style. Also in case of yahoo employees who do not agree with the decision were asked to quit their jobs. But in HSBC employees were asked to air their views regarding the problems faced at the job.
Type of communication that did not worked:
This was the type of communication that did not worked and brought negative results for the company. Employees were demoralized by the content of the memo. It leaded an internal policy decision to a public debate topic. Also the communication channel that was chosen was not appropriate. It was sensitive an information and should be better communicated through a meeting rather than an email. Although now a day’s email is widely accepted medium of communication but email lacked the personal touch (Jason, 2008). It failed to convey the importance of the decision to the employees. This communication was emotionally very disturbing for the employees. This communication failure led to creation of negative image for the company as well as CEO.
Reasons why it damaged the business:
- Failed to explain the purpose:
This message failed to express the purpose behind this bold decision. This message failed to convey that how working in the office can bring better results for both employee and company.
The message construction was poor. It does not fulfil the criterions of an effective message. It missed out some important things and included some irrelevant phrases.
The decision was really a major step taken by the company. It was communicated to the employees through HR head which was a wrong choice. Such decisions should be communicated by the CEO or president of the company.
- Wrong media chosen for communication:
This decision was communicated through an email in a very casual manner. But such sensitive decisions need to be communicated face to face either through void conferencing or a board room meeting. Email was not a suitable channel to communicate this information.
HSBC’s shut up and listen policy is amongst the best recent examples of effective communication. This policy was designed so that employees can raise their voice and opinions about any topic and the managers have to listen to them quietly and make update about it online. Although it faced a resistance from the leaders in beginning but the HSBC CEO convinced the leaders with humbleness (Lee and Simon, n.d.).
HSBC is an international bank founded by Thomas Sutherland. It commenced its operations in 1865.Today HSBC serves more than 70 countries worldwide. It serves more than 37 million customers around the globe. It works with an aim to establish economic prosperity among people. It provides all kinds of banking and financial services to its customers. Douglas Flint is the current chairperson of the bank (HSBC, 2017).
Nature of communication:
Here also the nature of communication was internal business communication. In this case the flow of information is from bottom to top. This was helpful in increasing employee morale and giving them a sense of belongingness and empathy. Various corporate professional have now understood the importance of employee participation in the organisation (Joep, 2011). Communication style adopted was democratic which gave the employees power to communicate their own views. As compared to case of HSBC is also a case of internal communication between the management and employees. But contrary to that case this form of had a positive impact and bought a new communication revolution. Both the cases how a specific type of communication affects the organisation.
Type of communication that worked:
This was the type of communication that created a pleasant work environment. It worked in a positive way for the organisation. Employees were divided into groups and they were free to give their ideas or convey their problems to the top level management this gave them a sense of belongingness towards the organisation. A small step taken in direction of enhancing business communication helped a lot in connecting employees to the business. Also the type of communication channel opted was face to face communication (meetings) which was suitable to the communication needs.
Reasons why it enhanced the business:
- Well planned move by the company:
Well planned move adopted the company. They identified the feeling of distrust among the employees. The company disclosed about its strategy in Melcrum Summit, held in October 2015.This communication strategy was a planned solution for developing trust of employees in the organisation.
- Innovative communication strategy:
Innovation in the strategy is the key requirement of any business to remain in the long term competition. Innovation takes time for implementation as its new for the employees and leaders but once successfully implemented can bring brighter results (Nicole & Julie, 2017).
This communication strategy was unique and innovative thus helped to improve internal business communication of the company.
- Method of communication was appropriate:
The medium chosen for communication was face to face communication through time to time meetings. New merging technologies cannot reduce the importance of face to face communication ,it has less chances to be misunderstood(Marry and Richard , 2009).In face to face communication, that too in a group, it was easy to express the views, ideas and problems to the top level managers.
- Gave a sense of belongingness to the employees:
This communication strategy proved helpful in increasing the employee morale. As employees were asked for their views, it created a sense of belongingness towards the organisation.
- Helpful in giving new ideas to management:
This was helpful in providing valuable information and new insights onto a particular topic or problem to the company’s management. Sometimes, employee suggestions prove to be a fruitful source for the organisation as they are the one directly connected with the processes.
Conclusion drawn after analysing both the cases is that effective communication is one of the important elements to maintain a successful business. It requires a proper planning before deciding any communication strategy for the business. One wrong communication can turn a disaster for company as seen in the case of Yahoo. Business leaders now days invest more time and effort to plan their communication strategy. Communication process can be turned more effective with the use of latest technology. New innovations like the one in HSBC turned out to be fruitful. Another important issue in effective communication is the choice medium. Medium should be appropriate and fulfil the communication needs. Overall the cases demonstrated; what ineffective communication can lead to and how it can be turned to effective one with a little attention.
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Elearn (2013). Effective Communications: Making the connection. Italy:Taylor & Francis
HSBC ( 2017). Company History. Retrieved from https://www.hsbc.com/about-hsbc/company-history
Jason, B (2008). Communication Medium: Effects on Affect, Self-efficacy, and Goals. USA: Kansas State University
Joep, C (2011). Corporate Communication: A Guide to Theory and Practice. London: Sage
Lee, S & Simon, W (n.d.). The journal of internal communication: Case studies. Retrieved from https://internal-communication.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/JOIC_Vol5.pdf
Marry, E.G & Richard, A (2009). Essentials of Business Communication: Improving face to face work place communication. USA: Cengage Learning
Murphy, H. A (2008). Effective Business Communication: The seven Cs of effective communication. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill Education
New York times (2013). Yahoo Says New Policy Is Meant to Raise Morale. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/technology/yahoos-in-office-policy-aims-to-bolster-morale.html
Nicole, P & Julie, G (2017). Strategy and Communication for Innovation: Integrative Perspectives on Innovation in the Digital Economy. Germany: Springer
Thomas, M (2009). Business Communication: purposes of communication. USA: Cengage Learning
Yahoo. (2015). 2015 annual report. Retrieved from https://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2014/02/how-to-cite-an-annual-report-in-apa-style.html