Communication is a two-way process that requires the understanding of both parties in order to be successful. It is the “process of exchanging verbal and nonverbal messages” (Zmorenski). Effective communication is necessary in security workplaces. Most companies spend thousands of dollars in order for their employees to be properly trained on effective communication. Communication is essential for all aspects in the business world. Lack of communication or misinterpreted communication can lead to failed job performance and could even lead to lawsuits. It is important for employees in all industries to be able to properly communicate in order to adequately do their jobs, especially in security organizations.
Leaders and managers have to interact with employees effectively in the security organization. Communication is needed to: 1) establish goals in the organization, 2) develop plans for achievement, 3) organize the organization, 4) apprise members of the organization, 5) to lead and motivate people, and 6) to control performance (Beck & Schomack, 2007, p. 136). The process of communication starts with the sender of the message and then transmitted to the receiver through a channel. Then feedback is given to let the sender know the message has been received and whether or not it has been interpreted. In a security setting, communication is needed for managers to keep their employees up to date on current events surrounding their job. They also need to use communication to establish goals and motive employees. An example of this would be a manager who sends out weekly emails stating weekly goals and incentives. Then having the employee’s reply back stating they understand the requirements and goals for that week.
There are three basic functions to communication: 1) to inform, 2) to persuade, and 3) to motivate. All three of these functions are vital to workplace performance. Organizations must inform their employees of important data and information so they can effectively perform their jobs. Organizations also use communication to persuade their employees to change their attitude or behavior. Communication is generally successful when the persuasion is coming from a creditable source within the organization. Lastly, organization use communication to motivate their employees to perform better for the organization (Beck & Schomack, 2007, p. 136). Communication is the main way to get employees to perform the way they are expected to perform.
An example of this would be if a highly respected manager in the National Security Agency sent out an email once a month stating what was going on in the organization throughout the month. Furthermore, the well like manager also put incentives in the email to encourage the workers to work harder at their jobs. This could be a bonus or paid time off for meeting some type of organizational goal.
The main components of the communication process are: 1) context, 2) sender/encoder, 3) message, 4) medium, 5) recipient/decoder, and 6) feedback (Zmorenski). Communication is generally understood under the context it take place. Context is the way the sender chooses to communicate the message. The sender/encoder is the individual whom the message is being sent from. A sender uses words and symbols to convey a message that produces a required response. The message the individual send is generally greatly impacted on their background, knowledge and views. The verbal and nonverbal communication both require interpretation in order for the message to be adequately received. The message consists of an idea the sender is trying to communicate. The medium is the means of exchange between the individuals participating in the communication. For example, the message can either be written or spoken in order to send for interpretation. The recipient/decoder is the individual the message is intended for. How the individual interprets the message depends on several factors. These factors consist or their intelligence, their knowledge of the sender, and their responsiveness to the message. Lastly, feedback is the main component of this process. It allows the sender to analyze the message. Feedback, like communication, may be verbal or non-verbal communication (Zmorenski).
There are several barriers to influence or impede communication. The first barrier is language barriers. This is a barrier for obvious reasons; two individuals cannot properly communicate if they do not speak the same language. The second barrier is interpersonal barriers. This happens when a person lacks the knowledge of verbal and no-verbal clues. These clues consist of facial expressions, body language, posture and eye contact. Another barrier is a channel barrier. This happens if the send wants to give information but the length is too long for the mode of communication. As a result, the information is not communicated in the proper way, leading to misinterpretation. The last potential barrier to effective communication is misinterpreting communication (Zmorenski).
Over the years, there have been several lawsuits brought against correction officers of private prisons on behalf of deaf and hard-of –hearing individuals (Lewis, 2015, p. 44). One recommendation made to these facilities is to hire more deaf and hard-of-hearing people within the prison. Since that is not always possible, it is also recommended that security officers use a universal communication system for all inmates. Furthermore, create system wide standards for working with inmates who are deaf or hard –of-hearing. Lastly, provide visual notifications throughout the prison to help assist these individuals. They may be criminals; however, they still have constitutional rights. It is still illegal to discriminate against these individuals even though they are in prison. Adequate steps must be made in order to assure proper communication is being made with these individuals (Lewis, 2015, p. 44).
Forms of Communication
There are two main types of communication: verbal and nonverbal communication. There are several types of verbal communication. For example, face-to-face, telephone, television or media are all forms of verbal communications. Face-to-face communication and telephones communication are conducted in the same way. However, with telephone communication the receiver is not able to see and interpret the sender’s nonverbal communication. This could either help or harm the interpretation of the message sent by the sender. Television and media are very similar. The message is sent through an advertisement and feedback is give based on the action of the receiver. For example, if the National Security Agency sent an ad out asking for applicants for one of their security jobs, the feedback would be the application itself. The sender would be the company, the message would be the job announcement, the ad would be the medium, the receiver would be the applicant and the feedback would be the application. All of this together creates a mode of communication.
There are also several different types of nonverbal communication. These categories of communication consist of how an individual dresses or acts, their body language, and the gestures they use during everyday activities. People generally communicate nonverbally more than they think. Nonverbal communication often assists with verbal communication, however, there are several limitations.
Limitations of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication comes with several limitations. Nonverbal communication can be vague and imprecise. This is due to the fact there are no words with nonverbal communication. Lack of words gives the receiver endless ways to interpret the information and there is no dictionary that defines these actions. Also, nonverbal communication varies by culture. What one thing means in one culture does not mean it means the same thing in another culture. This opens up doors for the sender to offend or disrespect the receiver without knowing it.
There are several ways to improve communication in the security workplace. First, managers and employees should all be talking frequently about current issues going on throughout the organization. If a problem exists, then effective communication is the way to fix it. All workplace conflicts should be addressed and discussed. Improving communication is an ongoing process. Meetings should be conducted as often as needed to insure there is always adequate communication throughout the workplace.
Improvement in communication can not only make the workplace run more efficiently but it can result in higher employee morale as well. It can make them feel more appreciated and give them a desire to perform their job more efficiently. Employees appreciate good communication coming from management and it also produces a healthy work environment. Proper communication makes the employees more knowledgeable about expectations of their jobs and can help them become more motivated to perform better for the organization. Security organizations need proper communication in order to be an effective workplace.
Beck, C., Schomack, G. (2007). Management and organizational processes: an underlying rhetorical model. Management, 133-139.
Lewis, T. (2015). Deaf inmates: communication strategies and legal considerations. Corrections Today, 44-49.
Zmorenski, D. (n.d.). Keys to Better Workplace Communication. Retrieved July 10, 2015.