Image courtesy of CHSRF

Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

In our last finding from the Emergenetics Industry Insights Survey, we discussed a huge finding for organizationsthat communication issues in the workplace are the most commonly identified challenges that organizational teams regularly face(approximately 59% of respondents agree so). We explored from our findings that there is a link between communication, team dynamics, and trust.

We thought communication in the workplace might be a major finding, so we also asked how HR leaders themselves viewed organizational communication through the lens of its contribution to meeting business objectives.

We surveyed over 150 managers, consultants, and team leaders present at the ATD conference and asked them to rate how effective their organization’s communication was in increasing performance and furthering business objectives. We wanted to see if communication is really a game-changing competitive advantage in organizations.

The results were at first glance unremarkable. 57% of respondents said that their organization’s communication was neither effective nor ineffective at meeting objectives. This may seem like a non-issue since most of the responses are clustered in the middle.

However, looking a bit more critically, it really means that organizations are not using the power of organizational communication to its full potential. They are missing out on a powerful opportunity to have a competitive advantage.

In fact, the rest of the data tells that story. Only 22% of respondents indicated that communication was an Effective tool to help further business objectives. And only 3% of respondents said that their communication was Very Effective at meeting these goals.

Wow! Only a quarter of organizations is able to help teams meet goals and business objectives through effective communication.

Even worse, 18% of respondents said that communication was so Ineffective that it actually had a negative effect on meeting business goals.

See any trends here? In our view, it is a lack of awareness of the importance of organizational communications and an inability to connect communication into real behaviors to enhance the business.

Putting it into action:

We have always contended that the key to effective organizational communication is to understand both the thinking and behavioral preferences of those working with you. Thinking preferences allow you to know the best way to frame ideas and to effectively reach other members of your organization. It is speaking in a language that others can understand, and it comes from a common understanding. For example, a Conceptual thinker may need to see the overarching idea to be convinced on a plan of action while an Analytical thinker will require data, logic, and sources.

Understanding behavioral preferences is also critical in communication, providing ways to elucidate not only other people’s ideas, but also their reactions to yours. Someone in the third-third of Expressiveness and Assertiveness may argue passionately over even the most minor of issues, while someone in the first-third may not be comfortable doing so, even if they feel the same way.

Understanding thinking and behavioral differences allows managers and team members to get the most out of their teammates.

This survey points to important observations for organizations: first, communication is critical to success; second, organizational communication is not being used to its fullest potential and thus are still falling short of maximum performance.