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Communication ‘Secrets’ of Top Performing Employees

A recent study has found that companies with the most effective communication programs had a 47 percent higher total return to shareholders from 2002 to 2006, compared with companies that communicate least effectively. Moreover, those companies are four times as likely to report high levels of employee engagement as companies that communicate least effectively.

WASHINGTON, December 4, 2007 – Six communication practices distinguish high-performing companies from their competitors, according to a new study by Watson Wyatt, a leading global consulting firm.

The 2007/2008 Communication ROI study™ found that companieswith the most effective communication programs had a 47 percent highertotal return to shareholders from 2002 to 2006, compared with companiesthat communicate least effectively. Moreover, those companies are fourtimes as likely to report high levels of employee engagement ascompanies that communicate least effectively.

The study identified these six practices of high-performing companies:

  • Focusing managers and other employees on customer needs
  • Engaging employees in running the business
  • Helping managers communicate effectively
  • Leveraging the talents of internal communicators to manage change effectively
  • Measuring the impact of employee communication
  • Branding the employee experience

“Top-performing companies treat communication as a key businessdriver,” said Kathryn Yates, global director of communicationconsulting at Watson Wyatt. “They use communication to educate managersand engage employees in the business by providing line-of-sight tocustomers’ needs and business goals. Furthermore, by gaining insightinto what top-performing companies are doing, employers can reorienttheir communication programs, brand their employee experience and makea difference in their business results.”

Other significant trends:

  • More companies are communicating directly with employees onhow their actions affect the customer. The percentage of companiesconsistently providing such feedback increased from 21 percent in 2003to 39 percent in 2007.
  • Fewer than one in five respondents let employees weigh in ondecisions that affect them. Still, top financial performers are 10times more likely to invite employee feedback.
  • The percentage of companies treating managers as a distinctand important audience for advance communication increased 7.5 percentwith the top financial performers 50 percent more likely as others toprovide such information.

“Effective communication programs address the whole gamut ofemployers’ relationships with employees, and help engage and motivateworkers,” Yates said. “This is not just a ‘feel-good’ exercise.Companies that communicate effectively with employees have an engagedworkforce and superior financial results.”

The 2007/2008 Communication ROI study™ is based on responses from 264 companies. More information on the study is available from the Watson Wyatt website here.