Top 15 Ways To Boost Your Upward Communication In The Workplace?

Red Hat Media Business 9 Mins Read
published on: 13 December 2021 last updated on: 28 December 2023
Upward Communication

Since the Covid pandemic, work from home has become a trend in most offices. But, no matter how trendy it was, employees were often struggling to communicate with the upper management while working from home, resulting in chaos and confusion. That’s why many organizations decided to apply upward communication to change the communication dynamics.

Employers are concerned about their employees’ well-being, safety, and productivity when working from home, so they want to demonstrate more empathy and give them a voice. It is one of the main reasons why upwards communication got such popularity in recent years. We’ll discuss the necessity of cultivating an upward communication culture in this article, so stay with us.

Define Upward Communication

Upward communication means when employees directly contact senior management to offer feedback, discuss ideas, and express issues about their day-to-day job. In the past, downward communication was thought to be the most effective workplace communication. However, in today’s employee-centric firms, upward communication is becoming increasingly important.

According to SIS International Research, inefficient manager-employee communication costs businesses more than $525,000 each year. As a result, organizations that aim to create and support an inclusive, participatory, and engaged workplace culture are increasingly turning to an upward flow of communication. 

Companies that encourage upward communication to reap several benefits. It includes more workplace openness, improved team cooperation, faster decision-making, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Why Is Upward Communication Important?

Remote work, social isolation, and frequent organizational change are all changing how employees connect with their coworkers and bosses. That’s why employers are shifting from hierarchical, top-down communication to more open, upward communication. So let’s find out the importance of upward communication in the workplace.

#1: It Increases Employee Trust

Employees are considerably more inclined to trust their employers and bosses if they feel free to speak up. As a result, companies are increasingly providing new channels for workers to engage in upward communication since workplace trust plays a vital role in building a great employee experience.

#2: It Engages Employees

Effective upward communication conveys the message of a positive work atmosphere and increases employee engagement. Yet, according to one survey, up to 25% of employees who quit their positions did so because they believed they were never involved in critical decision-making.

#3: It Avoid Crisis

Most firms struggle in communicating with employees while adjusting to new working environments. Many businesses that did not have proper crisis communication plans faced many hurdles during the work-from-home situation at the advent of the pandemic. Since upward communication is predisposed with a crisis communication plan, it is essential in workplaces.

#4: It Achieves Organizational Alignment

Employees that participate in upward communication are more likely to ask questions and are less likely to be deterred from seeking clarity on the company’s objectives, purpose, and vision. However, organizations that use one-way communication channels to communicate their strategies don’t have a method to respond to employees’ queries.

#5: It Improves Collaboration

As most firms are experiencing growing skill shortages, information exchange among employees is becoming increasingly difficult. Upward communication considers everyone’s knowledge and then finds taking a decision, which means any organization implementing this communication style, ensures better collaboration.

How To Boost Up Upward Communication In Workplace?

Upward communication influences the most significant people-related KPIs. Even 75% of employees say they would like to stay with a firm that values their input and responds to their concerns. Let’s look at the top 15 ways to foster upwards communication in your workplace;

  1. Make Communication A Two-Way Street

    One of the most effective methods to foster upward communication is to listen to what your employee has to say not for the sake of replying but for the sake of listening. If you make communication a two-way street, employees will be more comfortable expressing their concerns with you. So, state your opinion only after listening to your employees’ feelings about it.

  2. Set Internal Channels For Employees To Express Their Feedback

    Consider setting internal channels for your workers to ask questions, comment on leadership, and offer feedback if you want them to engage in upward communication. Your staff will recognize that you are making an effort to encourage them to be open and transparent if you do so. In addition, if employees can give feedback on leaders anonymously, it improves their trust in the firm.

  3. Encourage Employee-Generated Content

    Allowing your workers to develop and distribute their own content is one of the finest ways to demonstrate the value of upward communication and encourage employees to speak out. Consider introducing workplace communication solutions that don’t just rely on managers and leaders. Instead, encourage normal employees to write, publish, and share their own tales with others.

  4. Measure Employee Engagement

    It’s only feasible to improve digital upward communication in the workplace if you know what you’re doing right and wrong. Internal communicators, managers, and leaders must be able to assess how engaged your employees are with the current communication strategies. They also need to know what kind of communication fosters employee interaction.

  5. Avoid Cringe-Worthy Team Bonding Exercises

    -Okay, Google, How To Improve Team Bonding In Workplace?

    When you ask Google this question, most likely, you will come across some cringe-worthy team bonding exercises like trust falls, circle of appreciation, compulsory workplace events, etc. But, they don’t foster upward communication; instead, they create resentment in employees. So, avoid these weird exercises, and find something meaningful that all employees agree upon.

  6. Create Employee Recognition Program

    Collaboration is critical for frontline employees who may not feel like they belong to the team. To facilitate more open communication, supervisors and managers should find methods to publicly recognize effective teams’ efforts, whether by presenting them with an award in front of their colleagues or by publicizing their successes in a write-up. Teams that succeed together will continue to work effectively together in the future.

  7. Identify Communication Issues

    You cannot boost up upward communication in a workplace if you don’t know what’s wrong with your current communication paradigm. Upwards communication examples denote taking preemptive steps to address communication pain points and causes of conflict. If you address these now, you can make it simpler for all of your employees to collaborate in the future.

  8. Don’t Micro-Manage

    Even though they contribute to your wider company goals, teams should seem like self-contained units. If you don’t offer your teams any autonomy, they won’t be able to function since they’ll always be waiting for commands from the higher management. Instead, allow teams to establish their own timelines, build procedures, and resolve difficulties the way they want.

  9. Create Team Traditions

    Teams will automatically experience a feeling of oneness if they have their customs and inside jokes. That unity will positively influence their work, both in and out of the workplace. So, if you want to establish upward communication, make sure you encourage teams to share lunch or compete in a team vs. team video game.

  10. Allow Flexible Work Options

    If some of your employees want to work from home, grant them that. If someone wants to join the night shift, grant them that as well. Offering workers flexible work choices such as telecommuting and silent workplaces allow your whole staff to be as productive as possible while also allowing them to take advantage of upward communication possibilities.

  11. Resolve Employee Conflict

    Some firms use a wait-and-see approach to conflict resolution, but this doesn’t work well for team member disagreements. Because these disagreements may swiftly escalate into severe difficulties that disrupt projects, team leaders must address them as soon as possible. In addition, ensure that interpersonal problems are well documented to implement upward communication.

  12. Arrange Weekly Meetings

    Weekly team meetings can help break down communication barriers between managers and employees by allowing each team member to discuss work concerns openly. If you wait for the end of a month to talk to your staff, it will be too late. So, arrange the weekly meetings, and ask if any of your employees have any office problems to establish upwards communication.

  13. Offer Constructive Feedback

    Constructive feedback is the cornerstone of upward communication. If you always highlight the negative aspects of your staff, it won’t keep them motivated for long. But, if you state the positive aspects of them and the negative ones, that becomes constructive feedback. You should also highlight how they can eliminate their drawbacks to make the most of them.

  14. Make The Workflow As Transparent As Possible

    If you’re working on a large project with many stakeholders, you’re sure to have a communication breakdown at some time. Make use of the lapse to enhance upward communication next time. If all your employees know about your work culture, work strategies, vision, mission, goals, and objectives, they make a better team and be more productive.

  15. Use Communication And Collaboration Tools

    Blink and other integrated communication tools support successful upwards communication by centralizing the resources employees need to interact. Teams don’t have to waste time hopping between platforms since sharing tools, information management tools, meeting scheduling tools, and project management tools are all in one location.


1: What Is Downwards Communication?

Ans: Policies, regulations, and procedures that flow from top administration to lower levels are downward communication. Effective downward communication is aided by brief messages and a courteous tone, but it is also critical to ensure employees grasp the information.

2: What Is Upward And Horizontal Communication?

Ans: The movement of performance reports, grievances, and other information from lower to higher levels is upward communication. On the other hand, horizontal communication is primarily coordinative and takes place on the same level as vertical communication.

3: What Are The Advantages Of Upward Communication?

Ans: Upward communication ensures employees have a good relationship with managers, and the overall work culture remains positive. It also provides that employees can give feedback to their superiors and have a voice in organizational decision-making.

What Is Hampering Your Organization’s Upward Communication 

There are a few havocs which can prevent a smooth upward communication in your organization.

Hierarchy and Formality

A barrier to upward communication is hierarchical structures and excessive formality. When it comes to relationships between superiors and inferiors, status differences make employees reluctant to express their minds.

Fear of Reprisal

The lack of upward communication may be the result of a fear culture in which people’s reactions to negative feedback are seen as punishment. The fear of reprisal would silence rather than inspire open dialogue.

Lack of Communication Channels

Lack of adequate communication channels limits information transfer from employee to leader. Upward communication becomes problematic without suitably accessible platforms for the expression of ideas or concerns.

Inadequate Feedback Mechanisms

Lack of well-planned feedback mechanisms, or failure to appreciate workers ‘input can discourage upward communication. Employees are less likely to share their views when they do not feel that effort is appreciated.

Unclear Communication Expectations

Unless expectations about upward communication are defined, it is difficult for employees to know when or how and what they should say. The clearer our communication expectations, the more open dialogue becomes.

Perceived Lack of Confidentiality

If employees feel there isn’t confidentiality, they may hold back sensitive information. Being able to trust one another with the private matters that concern both of should encourage more open communication.

Cultural Barriers

Organizational culture differences affect communications. However, in cultures where silence is the rule or certain styles of communication are valued, upward communication can be hampered.

Overemphasis on One-Way Communication

Suppose there is little encouragement within the organization for upward communication, with a heavy emphasis on top-down communications. In such an environment employees may feel that their opinions did not count and then they themselves remain silent.

Lack of Training and Resources

Upward communication can be hampered by insufficient training on how to communicate effectively and lack of resources that support communicating efforts. This gives employees the necessary tools and training to express themselves with greater confidence.

Resistance to Change

Concern for new ideas or resistance to change within the organization may lead, in turn, to a hesitancy toward sharing innovative proposals (or complaints). Cultivating a climate that welcomes change makes upward communication more open.

To Conclude

We’ve all experienced angry and tone-deaf comments from a boss that permanently destroys trust and communication channels. That’s why we are stating the importance of upward communication here so that you can implement it in your workplace and witness a new wave of employee engagement scenarios. If you want to know more about it, ask us in the comment section below.

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