The Gatehouse Blog

Global study highlights communication issues

The HR consultancy Towers Perrin has just published its latest Global Workforce Study and, once again, it makes interesting – and sobering – reading for internal communicators. 

The survey – of more than 90,000 workers  in 18 countries – reveals that many employees still do not believe their organizations are doing enough to motivate them and feel that senior managers do not communicate in an open and honest way.

Of the 5,000 UK employees surveyed, less than a third believe that senior management communicates  openly and honestly with them and two-thirds feel that senior leaders "treat us as just another part of the organization to manage" or "as if we don’t matter".  Just 29% feel their leaders have a sincere interest in their well-being and satisfaction. For all the talk about engagement, it seems many organizations are still a long, long way from achieving it.

The study highlights the importance of senior leadership in the engagement mix – having highly effective line managers is one thing, but the top team also has a critical role to play in setting the tone, providing direction, being visible and accessible and demonstrating and rewarding the right values and behaviors.   

The good news is that many employees now want and expect a rich and honest dialog with their bosses – the problem is that far too few get it. Until we can create a conversation culture inside our organizations, disengagement and apathy will remain strong. 

The study also reveals that employees are increasingly concerned about the reputation of the organization they work for – a factor that is having a bigger impact on engagement than ever before. Indeed, an organization’s reputation for social responsibility was found to be one of the top five engagement drivers here in the UK. 

This underlines that employee engagement is as much about ‘external’ policies and communications, as it is about the internal workings of an organization.  I’ve always held that internal and external communications should be closely aligned (if not joined at the hip) and findings like this demonstrate just why that is so important.