Report: Leaving workers uninformed hurts engagement

Employees crave updates on crucial business metrics that might affect their jobs. Transparent, consistent communication can boost morale, commitment and productivity.

Employees are expected to row the company boat each day, but how much do they know about the structural integrity of the corporate vessel?

According to new research from Kimble Applications, workers crave more transparency and straight talk from leaders regarding the health of the business. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they “care a great deal” about crucial business performance metrics, such as revenue and profit forecasts.

Unfortunately, a mere 23 percent of workers reported having “full insight into how their organizations are actually doing.” That lack of clarity prevents workers from fully committing and engaging on the job. It’s hard to do your best work with one eye on the life preservers.

This issue presents a major challenge for communicators, who must strike a delicate balance of sharing enough information to satisfy the rank and file, but not oversharing to the point of causing a mutiny. If you opt for a “less is more” communication approach, leaving workers in the lurch can hamper productivity. The report states:

Nearly a third (31 percent) of employees said that more transparency regarding the overall health of the business would allow them to better understand their employer’s goals and nearly a quarter (23 percent) said that it would cause them to be more motivated. Additionally, more than one in 10 respondents said that they’d perform better (17 percent), take on more of a leadership role (16 percent) and would be less likely to take a competing job offer (14 percent).

What if the news is bad? According to Kimble’s survey, just 7 percent of respondents said that “more transparency would cause them to be more stressed,” which suggests workers prefer being updated and in the loop, regardless of the situation.

Of course, no one wants to sound the alarm every time you’ve sprung a leak, but employees clearly crave updates on important business metrics. Many, understandably, want to know which way the winds are blowing, how the corporate ship is holding up, and what course the company is plotting. Workers’ levels of motivation, engagement and morale depend upon receiving such information.

To read more about navigating this tricky corporate communication issue, read the report here.

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