In the workplace, effective communication skills have never been more crucial. The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Professional Communication online program from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UWP), has been specifically designed to equip you with practical tools essential for success across various industries. Through interactive coursework, this program provides hands-on experience in real-world projects such as proposal development, grant writing and digital production techniques.

By enrolling in this program, you will develop the ability to communicate strategically and ethically to diverse audiences, foster constructive communication in various interactions and gain a comprehensive understanding of different perspectives within the workplace.

Studies and Surveys Reveal the Importance of Effective Communication

For years, studies and media research have shown the remarkably positive effects of communication skills in the workplace for both managers and their subordinates. Consider some of the latest research findings:

  • The LinkedIn 2023 Most In-Demand Skills List rates communication as the No. 2 most important skill.
  • The GMAC 2022 Corporate Recruiter’s Survey reports that communication skills were the No. 1 most cited reason for confidence in business school graduates, cited by 73% of respondents. GMAC research shows this high level of confidence contributes to corporations fast-tracking graduates to upper-level leadership positions and rewarding them with higher earnings.
  • Despite the well-publicized importance of communication skills, nearly half of workers report their productivity being affected by ineffective communication, according to Forbes.

What Does Effective Communication Achieve?

There are a handful of reasons why communication is so vital in today’s professional environments. Communication helps with the following:

Facilitate Effective Decision-Making:

Professional communication — including managerial communication, upward communication, customer communications and even informal skilled business interactions — plays a crucial role in management by facilitating the exchange of information and ideas. It enables managers to gather relevant data, engage in collaborative discussions and make informed decisions that align with organizational goals.

Set Clear Performance Expectations:

Effective management relies on clear communication to establish expectations and direction for employees. Managers must articulate goals and performance standards to ensure everyone understands their responsibilities and can take appropriate steps to achieve desired outcomes. They must also be able to provide timely, constructive feedback and offer effective guidance for performance improvement.

Maximize Employee Engagement and Retention and Create a Positive Company Culture:

Regular communication channels, such as team meetings and one-on-one conversations, enable managers to understand individual needs, provide necessary support and align employee career goals with organizational objectives. Managers who communicate effectively also recognize and celebrate employee achievements, fostering a culture of appreciation and recognition. This level of communication promotes a positive and inclusive culture that encourages employee engagement, increasing job satisfaction, motivation and commitment to stay with the organization.

Reduce Business Unit Silos and Enhance Collaboration:

Silos form when teams operate in isolated bubbles, lacking the willingness or ability to collaborate with other departments. When teams get trapped in silos, they often neglect the demands and advantages of cross-functional work. Consequently, team morale plummets and overall effectiveness suffers. Recent research indicates that remote work exacerbates siloed behaviors, underscoring the crucial role of communication skills in the post-pandemic era. Whether in a digital or physical workplace setting, effective skills with a variety of communication tools and channels form the foundation for leaders to cultivate effective cross-functional communication.

Resolve Conflicts and Stalemates:

Conflict is inevitable in any workplace, and professional communication skills enable managers to address and resolve them effectively. By promoting open dialogue, active listening and constructive feedback, managers can facilitate discussions and encourage mutually beneficial resolutions. In business planning, by fostering open dialogue, leaders can gather diverse perspectives which help identify potential roadblocks or disagreements early on. Through clear and transparent communication, managers can address concerns and promote a shared understanding and consensus agreement on the next steps.

Promote Business Innovation and Change:

By fostering open communication channels, managers encourage employees to share insights and innovative solutions. They create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable expressing ideas and taking calculated risks. Through effective communication, managers can articulate the organization’s vision and strategic goals, align employees’ efforts towards innovation and see positive organizational changes. They should also provide clear guidelines and resources for implementing new ideas. This not only encourages diverse thinking but also helps identify untapped potential and unique approaches to problem-solving.

Today, leading employers proactively seek skilled communicators for managerial and leadership roles. A critical mass of research has justified this hiring priority. UWP’s online M.A. in Professional Communication program helps students develop the high-level communication skills necessary to effectively manage in today’s complex organizations and challenging business environments.

Learn more about UWP’s online M.A. in Professional Communication program.