When communication flows from the lower levels of a hierarchy; this is known as upward communication. Information to be dispersed is no longer required to follow a specific chain of command in order to reach its intended party.
Traditional methods of communication relied solely on a middle man to relay information from employees or lower level management to upper level management or executives in way that wasn’t so reliable. The person relaying the information could easily misunderstand what was to be conveyed or in extreme cases misconduct, not even disclose some vital pieces of information because it could affect their own position.
Upward communication is increasing in popularity because employees are encouraged to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas directly with upper level management. The upper level management utilizes this form of communication to possibly update and change company policies that will allow the company to run more effectively. It also helps in other ways.
Not only does upward communication allow employees to share their ideas on company processes but it also allows them to safely disclose if there are issues within the company that management should be aware of.
Gone are the days of being mistreated by co-workers or other managers and having no one to tell about it. Upward communication allows for an effective yet private way of “whistle-blowing” that alerts upper management to issues in the workplace. By using the information an employee has provided can save time and headache should it turn into a legal issue. I.e. reduces legal action taken against the company. It is almost guaranteed that upper level executives want to know about an issue before it costs them millions in court.
Upward communication is also a valuable tool in communication when it comes to feedback, a transfer of valuable information, employee views or opinions, business proposals and exit interviews. All of these instances provide a chance for improvement within the company’s current processes or business plan.