Effective business communication is essential to the success of any business. It is the blood flow of the company, providing the information employees need to do their jobs and providing the mechanism to build and strengthen relationships at work.
The lack of information and communication generates silos of information that can be felt in all areas, even with external leaks to customers. On an individual level, employees feel disconnected without clear direction from management, leading to low satisfaction, engagement, and performance.
At the department level, silos prevent teams from working together efficiently and the absence of a clear vision and goals from the top can lead to poor performance.
Organizations that do not prioritize communication and ensure employees are connected with the company's goals are likely to experience a variety of negative outcomes. Here's how poor communication commonly affects the workplace:
1. Greater employee turnover
Employee retention is a huge metric because it is not only costly but also affects the company's ability to serve its customers. Research estimates that replacing a worker can cost up to 3 times the person's salary.
On the other hand, when companies communicate effectively, they are 50 percent more likely to report turnover levels below the industry average.
2. Poor customer service
Customer service is affected in two ways by poor communication in the workplace. First, employees don't have the information they need to do quality work, which can be quite detrimental to customer-facing roles like field service technicians.
Second, customers feel low employee morale during their interactions and it creates a negative experience. Sears found that a five-point improvement in employee attitude resulted in a 1.3 percent increase in customer satisfaction, and therefore a 0.5 percent increase in company revenue.
3. Lower return for shareholders
Research by Towers Watson has shown year after year that companies with highly effective communication practices achieve a 47 percent higher total return to shareholders compared to companies that are the least effective at communication. These higher returns to shareholders are also complemented by a higher market premium.
4. Lower employee productivity
Poor communication in the workplace leads to lower productivity because employees don't have access to the people, knowledge, and resources that help them do their jobs, and they don't have the passion and motivation to perform well or even exceed expectations.
5. Higher incidence of injuries
Poor communication about health and safety hazards is not only dangerous, resulting in higher rates of injury and death, but also gives employees the feeling that the company doesn't care about their well-being.
Blueline Rental is the fourth largest construction equipment rental company in North America, which experienced it themselves after deciding to prioritize communication and culture throughout the company. By using Zinc, BlueLine took its TRI Safety Score (which must be 1 or less) from over 3 to 0.74, making it one of the safest companies in the industry.
Similarly, Pepper Construction used real-time safety broadcasts to increase project safety to 98 percent safety, an impressive feat for employees working in one of the most dangerous professions.
6. Increased absenteeism
The impact of the lack of information and communication in the workplace manifests itself quite significantly in employee satisfaction and engagement rates. If workers don't get up and leave the company, research shows that many of them will simply choose not to show up for work.
One company revealed that 18 percent of the variation in sickness and absenteeism rates was due to variations in communication practices. Another study found that when employees feel fully informed, absenteeism rates are below average.
7. Improved communication in the workplace
It is undeniable that the lack of information and communication in the workplace affects the result. For companies to remain competitive, effective communication skills, strategies, and tools are a must.
Fortunately, much research has been done to identify exactly what organizations can do to drive business results through communication.