"Huh?" Yes, Bosses Aren’t Listening

Jan 24, 2019

Many organizations are failing when it comes to “upward communication”—the feedback from employees to management—according to the new Organizational Communication Survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and CareerJournal.com, The Wall Street Journal’s executive career site.

Just over half (59%) of employees felt that their organization listened to what they had to say. Organizations fared better with their ability to conduct “downward communication”—or messages coming from management to employees—with 68% of employees and 66% of HR professionals agreeing or strongly agreeing that their organization communicates its business plan and goals to its staff well.

Fewer than half (46%) of all surveyed HR professionals reported that their organization collected employee opinions. Of the HR professionals who used staff feedback forms, 86% rated the effectiveness of these interactions as “good” or “very good.”

Communication is an important key to maintaining a successful relationship between an organization and its employees. Organizations that communicate effectively outpace organizations that don’t,” said Tony Lee, publisher, CareerJournal.com. “Companies should be more proactive in collecting employee feedback and establishing vehicles for employees to express their concerns.”

Eighty percent of HR professionals felt that their organizations was open to suggestions and improvements from employees compared with 66% of employees. “Clear communication must be among the highest priorities in any organization,” said Susan R. Meisinger, SPHR, president and chief executive officer of SHRM. “When employees believe their ideas and concerns have been heard, they are more invested in their contribution to the success of the organization.”

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