Employee Communication

The importance of open communication in the workplace

With a rising remote and frontline workforce all over the globe, open communication is more important than ever. Keep reading to learn why.

What we'll cover

Open communication helps you to build a happy, trusting, and efficient organization. Here, we look at all the ways open communication benefits your business.  

Only 7% of workers strongly agree that communication at their workplace is accurate, timely, and open. But open communication can make a big difference to your organization. 

Open communication keeps everyone on the same page. It supports a strong and engaging company culture. It empowers employees to do their best work and inspires their loyalty.

For frontline employees and those working remotely, open communication is particularly important. It keeps them aligned with company goals and connected to co-workers and managers, even if they spend limited time in the office. 

Here, we explain what open communication is — and explore all the benefits it can bring to your business.

What is open communication?

Open communication is a style of communication in which people share ideas and information honestly and transparently. Everyone feels comfortable and confident speaking their mind, without fear of judgment or negative consequences.

In the workplace, open communication means sharing information honestly and transparently at all levels of the organization. This means no one is kept in the dark. Leaders regularly share company updates. Managers have an open-door policy. Employees are encouraged to share their feedback, opinions, and ideas. 

Open communication stands in contrast to closed communication, where information is restricted and communication is limited. This type of internal communication creates ambiguity and uncertainty. Important decisions are made without consulting others and employees are less trusting of their leaders.

Creating a culture of open communication requires the efforts of your entire organization. In today’s modern workplace, it also requires the right communication channels and tools.

For example, a company intranet or employee app provides easy access to company news, two-way chat features, and surveys. These tools help you to involve the whole organization in internal communication, regardless of whether they work in the office, at home, or on your organization’s front line.

Making open, honest communication part of company culture — and finding appropriate tools to support effective communication — brings lots of benefits for an organization. Let’s take a closer look at some of those benefits now.


Why is open communication in the workplace important?

Poor communication is associated with a variety of business pitfalls. According to Grammarly’s State of Business Communication report, these include increased costs, missed deadlines, and eroded brand credibility.

But open communication helps your organization to run more smoothly and successfully. Here are all the ways open, honest communication benefits your business.

Open communication supports employee happiness

Happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. They’re also less likely to leave your company for a role elsewhere.

Your style of internal communication has a big impact on employee happiness. According to Grammarly, poor communication leads to stress and strained relationships. But good communication is linked to increased employee confidence and work satisfaction.

Foster strong communication skills and an open style of communication within your workplace and you’re more likely to have happy employees who enjoy working for you.

Open communication leads to happiness in the workplace

Image Source: Atlassian

Open communication improves employee engagement

Employees who get enough information to do their job well are 2.8 times more likely to be engaged with your organization and their work. This means they’re more likely to be loyal to your organization and to go above and beyond their required responsibilities. 

Gallup research shows that organizations with high levels of employee engagement experience: 

  • a 17% increase in productivity
  • a 51% decrease in staff turnover
  • a 23% increase in profitability
Open communication reduces cultural gaps

Open communication is a primary employee engagement tactic. It helps to boost employee engagement because it fosters workplace trust, it ensures employees are clear on expectations and goals, and it gives employees a voice. All these things help employees feel more invested in their work.

Open communication boosts productivity

Business leaders estimate that their teams lose an average of 7.47 hours per week to poor communication. That’s almost one full workday per week. The misunderstandings that arise from poor communication clearly take time to clear up.

Poor communication gets in the way of productivity in other ways, too. It harms collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and skills. Without insight into the work of other teams, employees can end up duplicating work — and without information on company goals, employee efforts are sometimes focused in the wrong places.

Open communication, on the other hand, can increase workplace productivity by 25%. It ensures every employee has the information and resources they need to perform their jobs efficiently. Your employees get the right information at the right time.

Open communication clarifies expectations

77% of leaders think the communications they share give employees the context they need to do their jobs well. But only 46% of employees agree. When employees are uncertain about what they need to do — and why — they feel less confident in their roles and become less productive. You also get employees pulling in different directions because they don’t understand the company goals that guide their work.

Open communication gives a clear blueprint for work

Make open communication a key part of your communication strategy and you clarify expectations. Managers transparently share goals and targets — and give the required direction. Messaging from leadership is consistent. The desired employee behaviors are recognized and reinforced.

This reduces uncertainty and confusion. It also improves accountability, because employees know exactly what’s expected of them.

Open communication enhances psychological safety

In organizations with a culture of psychological safety, employees feel able to ask questions, admit mistakes, and suggest new ideas without fear of judgment or negative consequences.

Psychological safety is crucial to workplace innovation and workplace safety. It’s also one of the key drivers of employee engagement. But you can’t have psychological safety without open communication.

For example, let’s say your team members feel you don’t adequately consider their workloads when assigning new tasks — and their resentment towards you is growing as a result. If they aren’t allowed to share their concerns openly, they’re more likely to eventually burn out or quit.

In a culture of open communication and psychological safety, this would play out differently. Your team members would feel able to have those difficult conversations with you because they’d be confident that you’d listen and take their concerns on board.

Open communication strengthens team bonding

Open communication makes your employees aware of one another’s preferences, communication styles, challenges, and vulnerabilities. When implemented in the right way, it also shows them that their peers accept and respect them for who they are — and what they bring to the team.

This results in increased trust and stronger team relationships, which support better collaboration, productivity, and employee satisfaction. It’s yet another reason why open communication needs to be a fundamental part of any employee experience strategy.

Open communication build team relationships

In contrast, when people are used to withholding information, they find it harder to connect with their teammates. Secrets and rumors swirl. Co-workers are unsure about one another’s thoughts and intentions. This erodes trust within the team.

Open communication fosters creativity and innovation

Imagine you’re running a retail organization. Your frontline retail workforce has daily contact with the customers your company serves. But your company has a culture of closed communication. So you struggle to tap into their valuable customer knowledge. You also miss out on their ideas for improving the frontline and customer experience.

Poor communication creates silos within your organization. It prevents different departments from sharing their knowledge and insights — and it prevents new, innovative ideas from bubbling to the surface.

But with good employee communication, you can seek regular feedback from all workers, inviting their thoughts and suggestions. You involve them in decision-making and problem-solving. You encourage all employees to work together and bounce ideas off one another.

This helps to create a culture of creativity and innovation. You also get to make informed improvements to the employee and customer experience.

The 4 pillars of open communication

There are lots of benefits to open, honest communication in the workplace. To create this type of communication within your company culture, it helps to understand the four foundational principles of open communication.

A lack of ego

Big egos get in the way of open communication. They can lead people to dominate conversations and to hear only the information that supports their existing views. It can create a defensive dynamic where people are afraid of being wrong and have difficulty admitting mistakes.

With egos in play, open communication can feel threatening. So to get your teams to embrace it, managers and leaders have to lead by example. They need to admit mistakes and welcome constructive feedback. They should listen actively and with empathy, respecting differences and including every employee in the company conversation.


When people are trusting of one another, they’re more likely to show up as their authentic selves. They’re also more likely to share their honest thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Trust helps to create an environment where everyone feels safe, respected, and valued.

This leads to more meaningful interactions and stronger workplace relationships. It also creates a virtuous circle. A trusting company culture communicates more openly — and open communication fosters workplace trust.


Open communication isn’t something that always happens organically within an organization. Leading by example and creating a comprehensive communication strategy will help. But it’s likely that your people would benefit from communication skills training.

You can develop team communication skills in active listening, to ensure people listen as well as they talk. You can support employees to give more tactful feedback and to resolve conflict more effectively. Training will help everyone within your organization get better at communicating openly.


When your company grows beyond a handful of employees, sharing information with every single member of staff requires a carefully considered communication strategy. You need internal communication tools and communication channels that all employees can access easily.

This means creating communication channels for company updates, anonymous feedback, staff recognition, and collaboration. These channels should be available to everyone, whether they’re working in the office, remotely, or on the frontlines of your organization.  

Open Communication FAQs

What is open communication in the workplace?

Open communication is a style of communication in which every member of an organization shares information, ideas, and concerns honestly and transparently. This helps teams to avoid surprises, resolve conflicts, and collaborate better.

Why is open communication important in the workplace?

Open communication is important in the workplace because it supports the following:

1. Employee happiness

2. Employee engagement

3. Employee productivity

4. Clear expectations

5. Psychological safety

6. Team bonding and collaboration

7. Creativity and innovation

What are some examples of open communication?

Some examples of open communication include:

1. Having informal get-togethers with employees from all levels of the organization to share ideas and initiatives and to raise concerns.

2. Seeking regular, anonymous feedback from employees on topics like the employee experience, your communication strategy, or company culture.

3. Making employees aware that you have an open-door policy and that you can be approached with any questions, concerns, or feedback

4. Leaders sharing updates on company performance, upcoming changes, and strategic decisions

Final thoughts on the importance of open communication

Open communication is the foundation of every successful organization. That’s because it boosts productivity, employee satisfaction, and company culture. It facilitates knowledge and skill sharing, preventing silos from developing.

It also ensures everyone understands what they have to do and — crucially — why they’re doing it. This means everyone is pulling in the same direction, towards company objectives.

To embed open communication in company culture, you need to leave egos at the door. You need to develop trust and nurture communication skills.

Today’s workforce is more dispersed than it’s ever been. So for effective employee communication, you also need to harness the power of tech tools.

You need communication channels and tools that reach every employee, regardless of where they’re working and whether they have access to a desktop computer. You need an easy way to:

  • Share company updates and seek employee feedback
  • Ensure critical messages are seen by your workers
  • Communicate in real-time, even if co-workers don’t sit in the same office
  • Amplify company culture

There are lots of employee communication and engagement tools out there that can help. They allow organizations to communicate across a user-friendly digital interface. They provide quick and easy access to essential information and support everyone to build trusting workplace relationships.

Blink’s modern, mobile-first intranet  is the perfect solution for organizations with a large frontline workforce. With a news feed, survey tools, recognition features, and chat functions available via smartphone, it puts tools for open communication in the palm of every employee.

Want to see what Blink could do for internal communication at your company? Schedule your free Blink demo today.

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