Communication is key for the proper development of any organization. The way employers speak to their employees and clients not only affects those individual relationships but also guides the overall company culture. Jaren Hornbeak, a Benefits Advisor at JA Benefits, gives tips and strategies for successful and effective communication.

2 Ways to Listen

Employers should take time to establish open communication lines within an organization to create trust. Jaren emphasized two types of communication every employer and employee should be aware of.

Strategy #1: Active Listening

Active listening is more than just being present and listening. It encompasses a range of other activities. Listeners can take notes, take time to reply, ask questions and respond to non-verbal cues. It is important the parties within a communication process make sure everyone has the same understanding. Jaren continued, “Being curious is a sign of active listening.” When you ask questions during an exchange, the other party sees you care about what they are talking about. People really appreciate this gesture.

Strategy #2: Non-Verbal Communication

Jaren noted non-verbal communication involves “the way you react, and the things you do aside from what you say”. These things are shown by your body movement and eye contact, among others. However, it’s important to remember it’s a two-way street. Just as you may read into an individual’s movements and actions, they will do the same to you. How you present yourself and act during conversations are just as important as the words that leave your mouth.

“You should also navigate the environment under which communication takes place,” Jaren explained. “Communication is usually not the same for everyone.”

Different situations call for different activities. For instance, asking too many questions can be seen as a form of annoying behavior but can be fine in a communication situation between a teacher and students. To identify the situation, it is vital you read the other party to try and understand them. The atmosphere of a situation starts with culture. Once you understand the culture of a given communication environment, you will be in a better position to understand the message in a communication process.

Common Mistakes in Communication

Jaren also identified some mistakes or barriers to effective communication. One of these mistakes is making assumptions that someone has the same understanding. He explained people should learn to clarify instead of making assumptions.

Another barrier to effective communication is information overload. This especially occurs when communication is not face-to-face. When sending emails, for instance, it helps to be precise to pass on the message in the easiest way possible.

JA's Role in Employee Benefits

Since 1988, JA has delivered difference to the field of Employee Benefits through truly innovative solutions accompanied by vision, clarity and guidance. JA is built on a foundation of focused and talented experts. This core strength allows us to deliver an unsurpassed experience for our clients. Through our firm commitment to creating meaningful outcomes, JA engages to help clients understand and experience the difference in having a true benefits partner.

JA believes each client’s journey has multiple destinations unique to them and success is determined by not only what we deliver, but in how we get there. We are intentional about the way we operate and communicate and try to make effective communication part of the company’s culture.

For more information regarding our strategies and effective communication, you can reach Jaren Hornbeak at 812 329 6053 or via email