Joanne Reichardt

Thursday, 26 February 2004 09:58

Employees demanding "No Spin Zone"

Employers are communicating more information more often in the workplace. The trouble is that many employees aren't impressed.

A recent national survey indicates that while most employers (92 percent) rate themselves as good or excellent communicators, their employees just don't see it that way. Only 69 percent of employees give the boss such high marks for communication skills, and 31 percent gave their managers the lowest possible score of poor to fair.

Ninety-four percent of bosses say they keep employees informed about changes at work, but only 74 percent of employees say they're told what's going on.

Ninety-three percent of managers say they answer employees' tough questions honestly, but some of them must be whispering, because only 70 percent of employees say they're getting straight answers. In fact, less than half (42 percent) say the boss tells them the whole story, and 30 percent think the boss just wants them to parrot the company line rather than voice their honest opinions.

Randstad North America's fourth annual national survey, the 2003 Employee Review, identifies issues critical to employers and employees. The findings were gathered by RoperASW from 2,826 telephone interviews.

Especially now, when uncertainty is sapping employee morale, workers have a great need to feel connected to their employers. Everyone places high value on having the boss say what's going on, but people also want management to listen to their concerns and respond to their ideas.

The payoff of effective communications is high.

The Employee Review shows that consistent communications coupled with active listening to workers' ideas and concerns can make a dramatic difference in employee morale, loyalty and faith in management. The survey found that 83 percent of employees who ranked their bosses as excellent communicators say that morale is excellent or good where they work.

Companies that listen to employees and implement some of their suggestions enjoy higher work force morale than those that ignore them. In companies where employers implement workers' ideas that result in positive change, 78 percent of employees say morale is excellent or good; in companies that ask for feedback but do not take action, only 25 percent say morale is excellent or good.

The data reveal an astonishing connection between corporate success and employee attitudes. In companies currently hiring more workers, indicating business growth, 75 percent of employees say that when the boss asks for their opinion, he or she really wants input, not just a rote recitation of the company line.

By comparison, when companies are in the process of laying people off, only 47 percent say the boss really wants to hear their opinions.

Good communications and listening to employees also create tremendous good will. Ninety-seven percent of employees who give top ratings to how well their employers communicate say they feel important and valued; only 14 percent who say their employer is a poor communicator feel that way.

For more information about the 2003 Employee Review, visit www.us.randstad.com. Joanne Reichardt is vice president and director of public relations for Randstat North America. She oversees the company's media relations, employee communications, government relations, charitable contributions, crisis communications and executive speaking programs. Reach Reichardt at Joanne.Reichardt@us.randstad.com.