Weekly Wrap: Lack of Communication is Top Management Mistake

This will not exactly come as a big shock: a new survey has found that a lack of communication — keeping employees in the dark — is the top mistake most managers make.

The findings come courtesy of Accountemps. They asked chief financial officers (CFOs), “What one mistake do companies make most in managing their employees?” Their responses:

  • Lack of communication between staff and management — 41 percent;
  • Lack of recognition and praise — 28 percent;
  • Lack of training, development and/or educational opportunities — 11 percent;
  • Lack of flexibility in work schedules — 8 percent;
  • Lack of authority given to employees — 6 percent;
  • Don’t know/no answer — 6 percent.

Want to feel appreciated and kept in the loop

The only real surprise to this survey is that 6 percent of those asked the question didn’t seem to have an answer, making you wonder what they’re doing all day at work anyway. But beyond that, it’s not any big surprise to hear that employees want more communication because anyone who has spent much time managing knows that it is just about impossible to over-communicate with the staff. They want as much information as you can give them — and then a little more.

“Employees want to be kept in the loop and feel appreciated,” said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, in a press release accompanying the survey. “An organization can only be successful if its employees have the information and support they need to do their jobs well and a forum for two-way communication.”

Yes, employees DO what to know what is going on, and they DO want to feel appreciated. It is no big shock and surprise that these are the top two employee “wants” out of this survey.

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But this speaks to a bigger question that always hits me when I dig into research like this: if executives and managers know that their workforce wants more communication and appreciation, and the surveys keep telling us that, why aren’t more organizations aggressively doing it and addressing the top two things that will build more engagement in their employees?

If anyone has an answer to THAT survey question, I’d love to hear it.

Should you be yourself at work?

Of course, there’s a lot more going on this week than surveys about how employees want more communication in the workplace. Here are some HR and workplace-related items you may have missed. This is TLNT’s weekly round-up of news, trends, and insights from the world of talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • Is it unproductive to work more than 40 hours? Time magazine digs into the debate that started with comments by Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg that she leaves the office at 5:30 each evening to be with her kids. “What’s insane,” Time says, “is that Sandberg felt the need to hide the fact, since there’s a century of research establishing the undeniable fact that working more than 40 hours per week actually decreases productivity. … Anyone who’s spent time in a corporate environment knows that what was true of factory workers a hundred years ago is true of office workers today. People who put in a solid 40 hours a week get more done than those who regularly work 60 or more hours.”
  • It’s not good for people to be themselves at work. “The next time you want to speak your mind at work, it’s best to keep your mouth shut,” says the story in Bloomberg Businessweek.”Research by the University of Houston in Texas and the University of Greenwich in London shows that while being yourself around family, friends, and loved ones benefits well-being, being yourself at work has no bearing on life satisfaction.” One analyst “points to other research that shows that people often are expected to control what they say and to bottle emotions in the workplace. “There is an awful amount of impression management at work, that is required at work,” he says. “Being yourself at work doesn’t work because of a need to put on a front.”
  • Are you ready for the iGeneration? Think it’s tough managing four generations in the workplace? Well, get ready for one more. The Miami Herald‘s Cindy Krischer Goodman says that the iGeneration — those born after 1990 — are starting work. She writes, “There probably isn’t a company in America that isn’t wrestling with managing different generations. Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials: they all seem to want something different. Now, here comes the iGeneration, also known as Generation Z, with its own distinct way of walking, talking and working. Generational expert Cam Marston predicts a need to manage expectations on both sides. “They will have to get used to email and, God forbid, picking up the phone and calling,” says Marston of Generational Insights. “But at the same time, employers will have to get used to the fact that they may choose to text message even if they’re standing next to you.”
  • What would you do for a job interview? Everyone knows how tough it can be even getting a job interview in this economy, and that’s why this stunt by a woman in San Diego doesn’t come as any big surprise. According to U-T San Diego, “Laurel Durrett, 43, began her public job hunt … hoisting a sign on the corner of Third Avenue and Broadway that read in part, “You want to hire me … I want to work.” She plans to stand on the same downtown corner from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, handing out business cards. … Durrett said the only interest she’s received up to this point has been from insurance companies looking for agents after finding her resume on Monster.com.”
  • Kronos Time Well Spent cartoon. Kronos, the company that probably makes your organization’s time-and-attendance systems, publishes a regular Time Well Spent workplace cartoon by Tom Fishburne. I’ll post them here, from time to time, in the Weekly Wrap.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


1 Comment on “Weekly Wrap: Lack of Communication is Top Management Mistake

  1. I’ll be waiting to hear more about how to get companies to actually pay attention to those employees who desire more communication. Thanks, John, for keeping this on the radar!

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