Survey: Communication gap hampers engagement, retention

More than half of the executives who responded say they can detect discontent yet are ‘unable to remediate the problem.’ Ornery employees have a remedy: They go elsewhere.


If an employee grumbles in an office, but no one’s around to hear it, does it make a noise?

If by “noise” you mean “a devastating effect on morale, retention and engagement,” then yes.

A survey conducted by POPin found that leaders and workers are miles apart in terms of communication, which leads to companywide complications.

Forty-seven percent of the 163 executives polled confirm that employee opinions are “only sometimes” heard in town hall meetings, and 45 percent say they don’t hold such meetings at all. Fifty-six percent of respondents admit to using email as a primary form of communication, with just 21 percent prioritizing personal, face-to-face feedback.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising, then, that 29 percent of executives are “surprised” when an employee resigns.

Brian Anderson, POPin’s chief marketing officer, says:

As social collaboration continues to create new methods of bringing people closer together, most companies continue to follow older, less effective practices. Business leaders continue to prove they are completely unable to establish an effective process for employee engagement and fail to build organizational alignment on key initiatives.

Poor internal communication has cascading consequences. The survey points out the risks:

  • Lack of productivity. Most managers surveyed do not prioritize employee feedback when it comes to productivity improvements. Just 26 percent make this a “high priority.” Twenty percent say it is “too difficult” to sift through feedback to identify employee challenges.
  • Failure to gauge employee satisfaction. Twenty-four percent of respondents say they have “frequent” conversations with employees to solicit feedback, but there is “no quantifiable method” to do so. An alarming 52 percent say that in their conversations with employees they often “do not receive candid feedback.” A quarter of respondents say there is “no process whatsoever” to gauge employee satisfaction.
  • Employee retention. Fifty-three percent of managers can tell when an employee is not happy, but they are often unable to remediate the problem. Nearly 30 percent say it’s “usually a surprise” when an employee resigns.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, and you’d like to try “remediating” communication issues before they fester, you can access the rest of POPin’s survey here.

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