Every year, bad communication costs businesses in the US and the UK $37 billion in unplanned downtime, procurement mistakes, and legal settlements. Large businesses end up paying the equivalent of about $600 per employee, per year due to misunderstandings about company policies, business processes, and job functions. These costs are entirely avoidable.
While only about 6% of businesses take the time to evaluate the effectiveness of employee communication, those that do see a 60% decrease in human error, a decrease in employee churn, and an increase in the health and safety of their employees.
Avoid costly employee mistakes by taking a proactive steps toward better communication in your business. A good employee communication survey can help get you there.
For growing businesses, an online communication survey is the easiest and most scalable way to continuously evaluate how employees are working together. It’s also fairly convenient option for employees, since it doesn’t interrupt daily workflow.
Surveys can also improve the accuracy of your data. Anonymous surveys get more candid responses from employees than face-to-face interviews or other audits, especially if they’re asked about something that might reflect badly on their job performance.
In your communication survey, ask your employees questions like:
Does your manager communicate effectively with his/her team? Unplanned downtime is—by far—the biggest cost of bad communication. (it accounts for 32% of the $37 billion companies lose). Managers can reduce this downtime by being more having better communication about employee bandwidth, resources, and needs.
Our Management Performance Survey template can give managers more ideas about how to collect feedback about your management communication style, so that you keep your team’s workload balanced.
Do you find company announcements—like email blasts and newsletters—useful? When they’re timely and informative, company announcements keep your employees on the same page. When they’re not, they take up valuable time to create and spam employees’ inboxes.
How well do teams coordinate with one another? To get things done in any medium to large business, different teams of employees need to be on the same page. When teams don’t share information effectively, employees in different teams may find themselves working towards conflicting goals or wasting time on abandoned projects. Figure out if there’s dissonance early on, so you can start thinking about solutions if needed.
Do you feel comfortable sharing your ideas with others at work? Clear directive from the top can make business go faster, but great communication doesn’t flow one way. Employees from different levels can offer valuable insights and innovative solutions, that might not be obvious to leadership. Do your employees feel empowered to speak up when they have a good idea? If not, why?
Is the information you receive from others reliable? Your employees should be able to trust the information they receive from coworkers, managers, and executives. Unfortunately, some misunderstandings about company policies, business processes, and job functions are a result of one employee unintentionally misleading another. Find out where there are barriers to trust, and what you can do to address them.
Do you always get the information you need in time to act on it? Ensure that, in your organization’s communication flows fast enough to prevent avoidable mistakes and keep the business running smoothly.
How well do you understand company policy, business processes, and job functions? Legal settlements with employees account for 16% of the $37 billion that businesses lose every year due to bad communication. To prevent misunderstandings that end in legal action, make sure your employees understand their competencies and the competencies of others, particularly where their health and safety is concerned.
More specific survey questions often produce more actionable results, so tailor your questions to be specific to your business or industry.
A single survey gives a good snapshot, but you also need to understand how these communication concerns change over time, and whether the solutions you try actually work.
To make the process easier, consider scheduling a recurring communication survey with Recurring Surveys. Recurring Surveys automates the survey process regularly, so that you’ll get the regular gut-checks that you need. Because they’re automated, you can focus on insights and implementation.
Business communication can get complicated, but surveys give employees a voice, so that they can call attention to specific issues, help offer solutions for what’s not working, and show off the areas that are working really well.
Looking for a comprehensive way to boost employee engagement? Check out SurveyMonkey Engage.