Employees are two times as likely to go the extra mile for their company and almost four times as likely to recommend it to others if they are satisfied with the ways in which it communicates difficult decisions, according to a recent Ouch Point survey from Opinion Research Corporation (ORC).
The need for open and honest communication appears to have been heightened by the recession. According to the study, 44% of workers say their company has taken some form of action in response to the current economic situation, such as downsizing or other types of cutbacks, in the last six months. Among these, almost half (49%) say their employers handled the communication extremely well or very well.
The kind of communication most likely to receive a positive response from employees:
- Thorough explanations of the actions taken and the reasons behind the action (28%).
- Being kept informed of ongoing decisions and reasons for those decisions as the economy continues to toss and turn (13%)
- Providing early indications of impending difficult decisions so employees are not caught off-guard (11%)
- Open and honest communication (9%)
- Providing regular updates through frequent communication (8%)
Not surprisingly, these messages are provided through numerous channels such as meetings (19%), email (17%) and memos (7%), ORC found.
On the flip side, negative employee sentiment regarding communication topped the list for the majority of employees. Top de-motivators :
- Poor communication from management (25%)
- Too many rules or policies (16%)
- No or limited advancement potential (13%)
- Not feeling valued (8%)
- Lack of training (7%)
- Unclear company strategy (5%)
“Positive perceptions around company communications serve to both boost motivation levels among current employees as well as foster employee advocacy, ultimately resulting in a strengthened employee brand,” said Lisa Wojtkowiak of ORC’s Employee Engagement Practice. “When the economic situation improves, this strong employee advocacy will be critical to attracting and retaining top talent.”
Research from last year found that top executives in the US are extremely concerned about employee sabotage. These types of malicious actions could potentially result from resentful and disgruntled employees who have experienced poor communication.
About the survey: ORC’s Ouch Point series examines the tolerance thresholds of Americans in common scenarios they face daily in both their professional and personal lives.