The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Research Foundation recently released the report "Best Practices in Employee Communication: A Study of Global Challenges and Approaches," which points to severe gaps in employee communications. The report found that approximately two thirds of companies have been unsuccessful in motivating employees to understand, to be committed to and to carry out employers'' business strategy in their daily jobs.  Meanwhile, almost half of companies have failed to effectively involve their management and leadership teams in communicating with employees. 

The a survey of 472 organizations worldwide, conducted by Right Management Consultants and the IABC, found that the top two employee communications challenges are:

  1. Aligning employees with the strategy of their businesses;
  2. Engaging managers and senior leadership in communicating with workers

Despite the recognition of these challenges, many managers are finding it difficult to change the toxic behavior of the rank and file. Just 37 percent described their efforts to aligning employees with the strategy of their businesses as successful. One factor in the disconnect might be the lack of enthusiasm and commitment of company leadership. Almost half said they are failing to effectively involve managers and company leadership in communicating with workers.

Among the steps that can be immediately taken to ensure managers and senior leaders are involved effectively in employee communications include: 

  • Establishing and widely disseminating consistent messages for employees, and training managers and leaders about the importance of message discipline;
  • Increasing the visibility of leaders - especially during tough times;
  • Bolstering employees'' trust in leadership by keeping open lines of communication and encouraging feedback; and
  • Educating managers about the critical role they play in employee communications and training them to ensure they have the necessary skills and tools to communicate effectively.

What will happen to the companies that are unable or unwilling to change? Failure to engage their employees more effectively will probably mean they''ll pay a steep price in higher employee turn-over and lower productivity. Paul Sanchez, chair of the IABC Research Foundation was quoted as saying: "There has been much dialogue in recent years about the value of communicating effectively with employees. However, the daily struggles faced by internal communicators worldwide have largely been unaddressed."