Communication is one of the most powerful and important elements of a company. Having smooth and effective communication between colleagues leads to motivation and good project development.
There are many forms of communication in a company. However, today we are going to talk about one of the most essential ones, which is horizontal communication and how it can be improved.
- Horizontal communication occurs between people at the same hierarchical level.
- It has different objectives that can be adapted to any company.
- This type of internal communication is one of the most important in a company.
What you should know about horizontal communication
The horizontal model is the basis for creating a relationship of mutual trust. It is a way to achieve a collaborative culture and to improve the internal communication of the company (1).
Below, we will explain its definition, characteristics and how you can create effective horizontal communication in your company.
What is horizontal communication?
Horizontal communication has been one of the most important forms of internal communication that have helped large companies grow. Nestlé Group, LG Electronics and General Motors are examples of large companies that have used this method and many more to grow (2).
Objectives of horizontal communication
When working in companies, a lot of internal communication of different types is required. That is why, in this next part, we will show you some objectives of horizontal communication.
- Methods for employees to make decisions are advanced.
- It makes exchanges between departments easier.
- Valuable information is gathered at meetings.
- Coordination of tasks that need to be completed progresses.
- Helps solve problems that may arise in a sector.
- Encourage communication of people between and within departments.
- Eliminates bad mood.
- Increases friendship and positive bonds among employees (3).
Horizontal communication not only works in companies, but also in social groups. Therefore, this type of communication is the direct link with the communities that, through this practice, achieve the objectives set to improve their living conditions (4).
Examples of horizontal communication
The following are examples of horizontal communication that occur most frequently in companies.
- When people talk via emails, chats or a messaging application.
- Calling each other among coworkers. As a result, some doubts or problems are solved, about any task that needs attention.
- Some events such as meeting for a bite to eat between people of the same rank. In such meetings, ideas are exchanged, and all employees get to know each other.
- Meetings held by the employees themselves. For example, one is created to initiate a new project, evaluate it, give opinions and create an action plan.
Finally, it is important to place rules and order in all meetings. In this way, lateral communication is successful.
How to use horizontal communication?
On the one hand, horizontal communication can be applied in many situations within a company. The achievement of the goals set needs a high degree of arrangement between several professionals. It can be used when a new project is created and a high level of organization is needed among employees of the same department.
It is also used to give help, information, and to unite new colleagues. As a result, people create communication aimed at making people fit together as well as possible.
In another aspect, participatory community social organizations enhance a horizontal communication course to improve basic needs. These include food, groups excluded because of their beliefs or sexual orientation, and different political ideologies (5).
Benefits of horizontal communication
As we have seen, the flow of information through the horizontal communication channel is of great value for the success of the company. As a result, here we can see the benefits of having horizontal communication.
Order among various divisions
Organization in any type of meeting is critical. With a well-established order in meetings, it is easier to accomplish tasks as a team, faster and more successfully.
Fewer conflicts and misunderstandings
Generally, tension is normal, especially when it comes to important projects. Lateral communication helps to reduce conflicts and misunderstandings through meetings, conversations, etc.
Check out the latest Workplace Conflict Statistics
Group efforts are strengthened
Through horizontal meetings, an opinion is discussed to which everyone agrees. It also increases the feeling of belonging and team spirit in the company.
Benefits from formal and informal communication
Normally, horizontal communication is formal. Of course, it also contains informal parts when it comes to exchanging information. This happens, because people who exchange information laterally, are in the same status.
Since information travels laterally directly, messages arrive without distortion or modification.
This type of communication establishes good working speed and an atmosphere of contribution in companies. As a result, more agility is created when performing tasks.
What are the differences between horizontal and vertical communication?
In companies, there are many types of communication that help to achieve their goals. Consequently, many people tend to get confused. That is why we will show you the differences between horizontal and vertical communication.
|Horizontal communication||Vertical communication|
|It is when colleagues and departments from the same level of structure, share information.||It is the sharing of information between different levels of the company structure.|
|Enables good communication and organization between sections.||Gives junior staff a voice and the ability to give feedback, thus helping to resolve problems.|
|Not as much change in information.||Senior management can communicate company values, policies, andBe open to feedback and seek to receive comments that help them to improve. advice to employees.|
|Communication is faster.||Employees feel more integrated and heard.|
How to improve horizontal communication?
Most companies already have this system in place. However, there is always room for improvement. Here are some ways in which you can improve horizontal communication in your company.
For horizontal communication to be effective, it is essential that there is one person with strong leadership skills. This allows anyone’s opinion to reach everyone and has the advantage of promoting natural and credible communication (6).
Another way to improve horizontal communication is to replace unnecessary emails with instant messaging platforms. This generates a real-time conversation and speeds up responses to any problems that may arise. Additionally, it is also a good way to organize groups of employees and give shared feedback on the work to be created.
Finally, communication boundaries must be created. It’s hard to be productive with a constant flow of messages and emails. Therefore, set boundaries and create processes to help the team and still do your own work.
Certainly, the flow of information within companies, businesses, social services is extremely important for their good performance. And horizontal communication is part of this.
Horizontal communication is when employees of the same level share information about the company. Overall, there are many objectives and benefits of this type of communication, which has led to the success of large companies.
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3. Neyra Rivera EJ, Saballos Saravia MA, Argüello Murillo FE, Díaz Medina MS. Analysis of the flow of formal internal communication (Vertical-Horizontal) in the organizational structure of the Faculty of Rural Development (UNA-FDR) I semester 2014 [Internet]. repositorio.una.edu.ni. 2015 .
4. Cerón Suratá CA. The positive effects of horizontal and participatory communication at Aqua Planet Foundation. repositoryunadeduco [Internet]. 2017 Dec 16 
5. Pinilla C, Pablo J. Horizontal communication in the Corporación Cultural de Deporte y Recreación Mastranto – Corcuma. repositoryunadeduco [Internet]. 2021 Jul 8 
6. Plucinski RM. Benefits of the Intranet [Internet]. repository.ucu.edu.ar. 2016 .