Watson Wyatt, a leading worldwide human consulting firm, did a study to understand the impact of effective communication in companies. The study was done over a five-year period (mid-2004 to mid-2009) and the study shows that shareholders got a 47% higher return from companies that communicate effectively.
“Effective communication helps engage employees, and that has positive implications for productivity and the bottom line,” said Kathryn Yates, global leader of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt.
This survey found that companies scoring high on communication parameters, are good in 3 areas – courage to continuously address employee concerns, innovatively adjust employment deals to match market conditions and measure progress with stringent discipline.
Courage, Innovation, Discipline – Watson Wyatt has identified these, in the study, to be essentials for efficient communication. Let us look at how these values are relevant to communication.
- Courage: Watson Wyatt defines it as “telling it like it is.”
“Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing; if we are ignorant to say so; if we love our friends to let them know it.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader
We often try to shield people from bad news. This creates a layer of deception and hampers trust. The best way to build trust and relationships is to state the facts without diluting it. As many studies have found out, the top most reason why people leave their jobs is not because of dissatisfaction with their pay but because of their relationship with their bosses. Bad news hurts at first but it is the reality and facing these situations in a healthy fashion is what creates maturity.
- Innovation: Creating a favorable environment for people to be innovative is the responsibility of an organization.
“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
― Peter F. Drucker
Organizations need to be comfortable suspending what they are used to and foray into unknown territories, thus encouraging their employees to do the same. Innovation should not be restricted to products but should extend to every aspect of the business. Continuously communicating in the abstract space of possibilities to employees sets a precedent of a mindset of innovation.
- Discipline: Wyatt stresses the importance of the need to set directions, take stock of the movement on a regular basis and, most importantly, communicating all this to the employees on a regular basis. This will serve as the rudder on a ship – providing direction and causing the employees to adjust course. With the fast changing marketplace the need to have heightened awareness is very high. Email blasts from the CEO, town hall meetings, blogs and video messages from key people on significant topics relevant to the employees can all serve to enhance the comfort level of the employees, as they will, at all times, know the performance of the organization.
As an engine is to a train, so is communication to an organization. The power and efficiency of an engine dictates the direction of the train. Hence, the emphasis paid to communication should play a significant role in any organization.
Today most organizations provide communication training to help their leaders and managers communicate with employees. However, only 3 out of 10 companies are training managers to deal openly with resistance to change. In the same Watson Wyatt study it was identified that highly effective communicators are more than 3 times as likely to handle resistance to change openly than the least effective communicators.
We at MMM Training Solutions provide customized communication training to all levels of management. Our ability to target the issues specific to each organization contributes greatly to the success of our program.