Let’s stop burning money on poor communications. Identifying the actual costs for not having the best communications aimed at specific outcomes and attaining the goals of anyone organization is an elusive task. However, some irrefutable trends point strongly to higher and growing costs. Let's start with some base studies done within the last decade. One study was aimed at large organizations, and the other was at small to medium organizations.
The Past Base Studies:
In "The Cost of Poor Communications," David Grossman reported that a survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees or more each cited and an average loss per company of 62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication to and between employees.
In her article "Top Ten Email Blunders that Cost Companies Money," Debra Hamilton asserted that miscommunication cost even smaller companies of 100 employees an average of $420,000 per year.
It’s Much Worse Today:
If these studies were refreshed, I would assert that the numbers are much higher for several reasons. One is that we are moving to distributed responsibilities and matrix-management styles create confusion over day-to-day priorities operationally, longer-term priorities tactically or strategically. To compound this problem, we can communicate faster-automated collaboration and communication tools across various communication channels.
You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet:
The future of work is hybrid, adding another level of complexity and opportunity for misunderstanding with a potentially new crisis of confidence for the workers at the edge. Recently, Gartner says “By the end of 2021, remote workers will represent 32% of all employees worldwide, impacting how and where remote workers use IT.” Our employees want and can demand these new freedom levels, and organizations need to get that talent is now hybrid. Unfortunately, this opens us to a more extreme lack of focus and losing perspective on purpose. It also does not optimize innovation; therefore, the credibility of the organization and individuals wanes.
What’s at Stake?
Besides just time and productivity loss because of chaotic communications, project failures have and will continue to be. These, in turn, result in the following:
· Poor customer service and dissatisfied customers
· High-stress levels and low employee morale, which can additionally affect productivity and deliverables
· Higher than average employee turnover rates
· Loss of company/organizational credibility
· A decline in sales and stock value
If this list doesn’t get your attention as a business professional, I don’t know what will.
Companies with leaders who are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the past five years than firms with leaders who are the least effective communicators.
· Stop making excuses and commit to getting better.
· Get a mirror and allocate time and resources to deliver messages through expected results, outcomes, and goals.
· Leverage methods and technology that deliver results-oriented communications
· Be persistent and consistent but consider the audience
· Actively listen and walk the talk
A key to all the above is attitude and the new systems, tools, and processes needed to communicate effectively with teams. Many managers mistake repeating communications fast down multiple communication channels to bathe the employees with more communications hoping they get the intent. Having a communications infrastructure and tools that link every communication with desired results at the stakeholder is a minimum. If all results, goals, and outcomes are documented and shared in a typical data resource that can be pulled into efforts in a real-time fashion, the results will be better. Every time something changes, all interested parties are notified within result/goal/ outcome contexts. We need to embrace results-oriented communications intentions, infrastructure, and tools to deliver a better communications culture over time.
These few facts represented here are the tip of the iceberg on the breadth and depths of research that has and will demonstrate financial rewards for businesses that communicate well to their employees and the problems that result when they don’t. Switching to a results-oriented communications culture is essential. It doesn't matter if an organization is scared about the present wasteful costs or enticed by higher monetary returns or both; we are now in the world of hybrid work enabled by ROC. It's time to take of the fight against "random tasks."