The effectiveness of our ability to communicate with others is the cornerstone of most successful companies. With so many different channels for communication vying for our attention every moment of the day, the relevance of information and our communications intentions can become lost in translation. This can lead to:
- less than optimal organizational performance,
- poor employee retention rates,
- loss of market share
According to a recent Gallup Poll, 70% of employees in the U.S. are disengaged, which costs U.S. businesses $450 to $550 billion every year in lost productivity. On the flipside, companies with high levels of employee engagement reported an average 19.2% improvement in operating income. Simply put: better engagement leads to increased revenues and expanding business opportunities.
The connection between employee engagement and business performance is backed up by a Work Foundation study, which showed that organizations that improved employee engagement practices by just 10% increased profits by an average of $2,400 per employee per year. These engaged organizations grew profits as much as three times faster than their competitors. Research also shows that the average business with 100 employees spends roughly 17 hours a week of downtime clarifying communications, which amounts to an annual cost of $528,444.
How do we change this?
We can take measures to transform our organizations by closing the “engagement gaps” that exists when:
(1) information is not made clearly relevant,
(2) information is not effectively shared,
(3) people don’t know what information others have looked at or understood (inside or outside the organization) regardless of what email or communications platform has been used.
I believe we need to increase the signal to noise ratio and convey relevance in the communication and information that we share. Doing so enables employees to:
- raise their effectiveness and efficiency, and garner the positive attention and praise
- strengthen their personal accountability
- change their work environment from one of chaos to one of understanding
When all members of an organization demonstrate these behaviors, the result can be the transformation of the business into something that’s more competitive, nimble and profitable. Of course, companies must use other practices – beyond just communications methods – to increase engagement and profitability. Companies must also put tools and processes in place to show employees that their voices and experiences matter, so that everyone knows they’re on the same team and is a valuable contributor towards the same goals.
I’ll expand on this topic in my next post about the importance of understanding relevance to overcome information overload.