In fact, as we discovered in our Anywhere Work 2023 Employee Experience Survey Report results, 79% of HR executives feel that this “anywhere work” shift has created disconnects on a number of fronts, making internal communications more challenging than it was before.
The struggle is rooted in the fact that most organizations are ill-equipped to manage a hybrid workforce. And combine this with a lack of clarity around how to engage and inspire a workforce, and we have a recipe for a people disaster.
Our HR respondents, all executives from 600+ medium to large companies, shared insight around the realities of these struggles. They shared candid insight around everything from technology purchases and HR policies to communication methods, employee engagement, and retention struggles. Crucially, they also shed light on how they feel about their ability (and sometimes, their inability) to effectively communicate, connect, and engage with employees who work anywhere and everywhere.
The magical salve that calms the blistering internal comms disconnects that have cropped up in recent years is nothing short of revolutionary—and yet also, simple. And this is the heart of our report, and our findings: getting to the root of these disconnects before they grow.
We share the specifics in the report, including the challenges HR faces from:
- Unreliable and inconsistent communication methods
- Company culture lacking clarity and cohesion, with limited segmentation, targeted, and personalized communications
- Trouble engaging and retaining top talent
We’ll touch on each challenge in turn—the methods mismatch, culture lacking clarity, and top talent troubles. A high-level summary follows and be sure to download the 2023 Anywhere Employee Experience Survey Report for a detailed exploration of the results and our nuanced discoveries.
The communications methods mismatch
Today, nurturing a sense of belonging, and making people feel supported and inspired, is vital. Communication is at the heart of this effort, and unfortunately many companies fail before they even get started as their HR technology doesn’t support their efforts. Unfortunately, we’ve found that unreliable and inconsistent communication methods plague HR professionals.
Email is still the main go-to for company communication, with one-third of respondents relying on it as their “most effective form of communication.” But this method is inherently subpar on its own, offering limited segmentation. And this greatly impacts mission-critical communications. As we note in the report:
“When asked about their experience with tailoring and communicating need-to-know company information specific to individual departments or business units via communication channels, most found it challenging or hadn’t attempted this level of segmentation at all.
Many send the same info to everyone all at once, leaving it to each employee to determine what’s relevant to them and what isn’t.”
Nearly half of the respondents identified ineffective inter-company communications as a trouble spot—and this does little to support a cohesive and clear culture.
Company culture lacking clarity
HR leaders fear that employees do not feel connected to their organizations, and “that ensuring critical communications reach everyone is the biggest challenge they face when attempting to communicate effectively with employees.”
Although most respondents have a web-based internal communications system or intranet available for use, as we hinted to above, the technology is unable to efficiently communicate critical information to everyone. And without that capability, creating a cohesive culture is impossible.
“Most critical communications are time-sensitive, so sending them out en masse when they’re irrelevant to a portion of the recipients is counterproductive. When everyone is left to determine if a message relates to their scope of work, it’s possible for mistakes to happen, and essential information can easily get ignored.”
And this certainly impacts employee engagement, as well as employee retention. If employees are unsure of what is important and miss out on critical information, they feel disconnected and ineffectual, because they are! “When part of your team doesn’t get critical information, the resulting problems have a domino effect, ending in frustration and isolation, causing employees to disengage” and look elsewhere for work.
Top talent troubles
Ensuring employees feel heard was the biggest retention challenge respondents identified and it runs in tandem with hearing what management is communicating to them.
“This is where those personalized communications can work wonders, particularly as it can help a distributed workforce feel recognized and important to the team and overarching organization.
It’s vital that you don’t let the talent that you painstakingly recruited fall through your communication cracks. If they feel unheard, they’ll inevitably move on to a company that has its tools and processes in order—one where they feel more connected without having to struggle and fight for it.”
Long-term retention feels impossible these days, but it’s really not. We speak to what you need to make this happen in the report. But to sum it up: Companies must have modern communications and engagement monitoring capabilities to stay current and relevant in the marketplace. Organizations giving their all to create better ways to nurture a sense of community and develop more effective communication and connectedness are seeing transformative retention and engagement results. It’s amazing what happens when employees are empowered to simply flourishTM.
The way the world works has changed, and employees are here for it, assuming companies can create a sense of place that resonates with their workers. When employers fail at this and offer substandard workplace environments, employees move on to greener pastures. Download the Anywhere Work 2023 Employee Experience Survey Report results to ensure your company is on the right side of the employee experience equation.