Many employees experience anxiety in the workplace when it comes to communicating with their peers and/or bosses. Some employees will even miss work to avoid difficult conversations, presentations, and performance reviews or may even experience a full-blown panic attack with shortness of breath, heart palpitations, etc., when communicating with others.
Additionally, 18% of employees report feeling stressed when one of their coworkers is exhibiting signs of anxiety. Yet only 13% of workers feel as if their senior managers do anything to help resolve these anxieties.
Here’s how you can help ease your employees’ communication anxieties in the workplace.
Endorse a More Diverse and Inclusive Company Culture
The best thing you can do to ease your employees’ communication anxieties is to offer them an inclusive work environment where they always feel as if their voice is heard and that it matters to others, regardless of their role or background.
As much as possible, encourage managers and teams to listen to one another and to offer constructive feedback without harsh criticism or reproach. And always encourage the expression of diverse opinions across your organization to inspire innovation instead of the formation of cliques and stagnant ways of doing things.
Stress Management Training
Some people just find it difficult to speak up when they’re stressed. And this is problematic because it can lead to a multitude of problems later (i.e., sudden outbursts of anger, growing resentment, poor work quality, high rates of absenteeism, etc.).
Training individuals how to deal with stress in healthy ways while coaching them on how to be more assertive in certain situations will help them be more comfortable communicating with others in stressful situations. Employees undergoing stress management training will learn how to communicate more calmly and effectively when they’re stressed and will be less anxious.
Conflict Resolution Training
Some people avoid conflict at all costs and experience great anxiety when they’re confronted by someone and are expected to say something disagreeable right away. Employees who undergo conflict resolution training, however, will be able to respond to conflict in healthy ways and remain focused and resolute while also remaining less anxious and more eager to hear what others have to say. Provide opportunities for your employees to role-play and debate with one another in safe environments so that it’s common practice to disagree and still come up with resolutions.
Offer Opportunities to Practice Public Speaking
Experts have discovered that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. So, offer your employees opportunities to practice their public speaking skills in safe and nonconsequential environments on a regular basis. This will reduce their anxiety levels when the time comes when they must present something important to a large group or to a group of executives or managers.
Be sure to follow the tips above if you want your employees’ communication anxieties to wane and potentially disappear altogether in the workplace.