Traditionally, office hierarchy hasn’t changed much in the past few decades: The executives are at the top, and in order to communicate with them, employees have to go through the proper channels. This often means communication gets clogged in the pipelines of supervisors, department heads and assistants.

But good leaders know that sometimes, the best ideas move from the bottom to the top. Therefore, better workplace communication between execs and employees could be the key to better performance, productivity and creativity. Here’s how.

Beyond Office Walls: Collaboration & Communication

We all know that organizations run on clear and efficient communication. But when employees don’t feel like they have the ear of their colleagues, it can stifle communication and creativity at work. Utilizing communication channels that do more than just email and phone can help break down walls and promote a more collaborative atmosphere at work.

Take an organizational forum, for example: Once the titles and the offices are removed, employees feel comfortable sharing ideas with one another. The traditional walls built by organizational roles come down and the playing field is leveled so that anyone – be he an administrative assistant or CFO – has an equal voice within the company.

Social Media #SuggestionBox

You don’t need a custom organization forum to get the ball rolling on improving employee-executive relationships. Social media can be a great place to start and a natural fit, since most of your employees probably already use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Something as simple as a private Facebook group or a branded hashtag can be enough to start the conversation. Employees feel safe behind the curtain of the Internet, and will be more likely to give input. Try a daily question, like “What tips would you give management to improve training?” or a branded hashtag, that allows employees to sound off without feeling intimated: #suggestionbox. Social media eLearning is much more casual than a meeting, so you’ll get more input from those who might have stayed quiet before.

Think Outside the Inbox: Organization Forums

Organization-based forums and social media sites (think Yammer or Jive) allow employees and executives alike to collaborate privately. By implementing the use of a forum or social media site, you help to create an atmosphere where ideas and sharing is not only allowed, it’s completely encouraged.

Whether as part of a resource library for new hires to jump in and engage with others, or a quick way to communicate with an entire department, you’ll find that employees are more apt to work together when the walls of hierarchy are removed and it’s clear that you’re all playing for the same team.

Not everyone is comfortable speaking up in a conference call or expressing their opinions via personal email. Thinking outside of the inbox when it comes to workplace communication can help clear the channels so that the right ideas make it to the right ears – or at least, the right Twitter feeds.