I can’t quantify this as a percentage, but I can say based on anecdotes taken from peers across multiple industries and functional spaces that most organizations have a huge problem with communication. Discussions that need to be had aren’t had at the very highest levels, and the problem becomes more 1. Some groups are better at addressing this than others. Generation Y is notoriously collaborative, and as they start to occupy leadership positions many of the communication issues I’m talking about here will start to fade away. pronounced the further one progresses down an org chart. 1
Managers aren’t transparent with their direct reports around why or how decisions are made, pay and performance criteria are often arbitrary, shrouded in secrecy, or both, and major decisions made by senior leaders are seldom first filtered through lower levels of the organization for feedback (or to generate buy-in).
Corporations today have a communication problem, and it fosters distrust among employees. They often either don’t believe what their leaders tell them, or else don’t expect their leaders to tell them anything of value at all. So they withdraw.
I don’t have an easy answer around how to take on this issue, but I believe companies that start to rise to the challenge now are going to have a built in cultural advantage in the coming years as the economy picks up and employers start having to compete for talent again. Companies whose employees buy-in to organizational initiatives, trust management, and feel they have insight and input into the direction of the enterprise are going to be able to attract a much higher caliber of candidate than competitors who fail on these counts.
Or perhaps I have it wrong? If I do tell me in the comments section below.
If you have questions about something you’ve read here (or simply want to connect) you can reach me at any of the following addresses:
SomethingDifferentHR@gmail.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org