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How Bad Communication Practices Affect the Workforce

Every successful business has good communication practices at its core. Communication is essential for businesses to function. Not only is it about disseminating necessary information, communicating with employees is about building strong work relationships founded on trust and commitment to company goals and objectives. Without good communication practices, employees have no clear path, goals are vague and are not easily determined, and there is very little opportunity for growth and progress. Projects that end up successful and leaders who inspire and motivate are rare in companies that do not focus on effective communication.

While the ability to communicate with employees was seen as a “soft” skill in the past, it is now considered necessary. Companies that do not focus on this ability fall short, and are more likely to lose to other organizations that focus on the said skill.

employees communication

Here are the very tangible costs of bad communication practices in the workplace:

1. An increase in employee absence.

Communicating with employees effectively actually decrease absenteeism; on the other hand, inefficient and negative communication actually impacts motivation severely and pushes employees not to go to work. As a matter of fact, a previous study showed that absence rates were below average in organizations wherein employees felt that there were informed properly and consistently in the workplace.

2. An increase in employee turnover.

When employees leave voluntarily, this could cost employers a great deal. Costs to replace employees can actually be as high as three times the annual salary of a person.

In a study initiated by Watson Wyatt, companies that have good communication practices are 50 percent more likely to report below the industry average when it comes to employee turnover.

3. Failure in project delivery.

Unfortunately, two out of three projects that been started will meet project failure. In IT projects, a survey created by the National Association of IT professionals found that 28 percent of respondents said that poor communication is deemed as the main cause of project failure. Remember that when communicating with employees is not a focus, projects can fail, which can then lead to budget overruns, cancellations and cost blowouts.

4. Poor customer service.

When communication is poor in the workplace, it can lead to frustrating interactions with clients and customers. This is because employees who are not given adequate guidance by management are more likely to fail at creating genuine dialogue with customers, and may struggle at fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities that go along with their jobs. After all – how can employees truly communicate the intentions of the company as well as its offerings if they themselves are not fully informed?

A study done by retail giant Sears actually found that when employee attitudes improved, customer satisfaction improved, and consequently, company revenue increased.

5. A greater possibility of injuries in the workplace.

Health and safety incidents, as well as stress-related illnesses, are costing companies billions of dollars every year. A major factor of increased injuries and health issues in the workplace? Inadequate communication. As a matter of fact, the US Joint Commission for Hospital Accreditation found that in over 70 percent of inadvertent patient harm cases, failure to communicate adequately and effectively was found as a major root cause.

6. Lower shareholder return.

Poor communication leads to the previously mentioned results, and the accumulation of the said results then lead to a particular perception and value given to the company. This means that the less effective a company is at in communicating, the more likely people perceive it as a “bad” or “poor” company. As a matter of fact, a study conducted by Towers Watson found that organizations which had good communication practices enjoyed 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders compared to businesses that were deemed to have bad communication practices.

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