Most businesses are confronted with the Great Resignation, an informal name for the widespread movement of workers leaving their jobs during COVID-19. It is no stretch to conclude that it is being driven, at least in part, by the Great Disconnect, a misapplication of internal communications during the same period.
The only thing worse than bad internal communications is excessive internal communications that too few employees see, hear or share. In an environment that is still dominated by COVID-related concerns, research indicates that companies are missing the mark in efforts to communicate with employees.
PR News on November 9 shared an article written about a study titled, “The Workplace Communications Crisis.” In essence, the research found that internal communications in the companies they surveyed aren’t working.
Importantly, their study indicates that there is a crisis ahead waiting for companies who have invested in aggressive employee communications with little to no idea if the messages that upper management feels are important are being received by organizational employees.
The crisis ahead is built on a basic disconnect: 66% of corporate communicators think they know what information employees need while only 31% of employees agree.
Of course, therein lies the impending crisis. Teams feel unsupported, unheard and untrusted. Managers who are untrained in internal communications make things worse. Important messages become muddled and ineffective. Teams lose interest or awareness, trust falters and productivity drops. Rinse and repeat the cycle.
At Vehr Communications, we work with large and mid-sized companies on their internal communications efforts. The research rang true to us. Too many company leaders “know” what they want to say and how they want to say it with little understanding of what their employees want or need to hear or how best to deliver it.
Even worse, management knows what they want to say and how they want to say it, but they have no clue as to how it is being received and whether it is understood.
There is good information in the report about the importance of seeking and receiving feedback. Not surprisingly, the report concluded that nearly half (45%) of managers say they want more feedback while nearly one-third (31%) say there’s no clear way to share it.
Of course, our COVID-related experiences, whether in the office, at home or working in a hybrid manner, challenge decades and generations of best-in-class internal communications practices. The shortcomings presented in the study are not laid at the feet of either managers or employees.
Things have changed and internal communications is hard but mission-critical work. Shame on the communications leader who is focused on volume and repetition alone or doing this important work the way it has always been done.
Corporate communicators want their well-considered and important messages to be seen, heard and shared. Don’t let a Great Disconnect during the Great Resignation impact your competitiveness, profitability and success.