Here’s something disturbing: Resent research shows employees value this singular, no-cost perk more than even health insurance — yet, in the vast majority of cases, they aren’t getting it. What is it?
Answer: “Open communication.”
Eighty-one percent of employees said they’d rather join a company that values “open communication” to one that offers great benefits — like health insurance, free food and gym memberships, according to a survey by 15Five, a web-based communication software maker.
There’s just one problem: Employers, and managers in particular, are failing workers in this area.
Just 15% of the more than 1,000 workers surveyed said they were “very satisfied” with the quality of communication within their organizations.
The shortcoming appears to start with their managers — as only 15% of employees said they believe their managers “highly valued” their feedback, and 58% said their managers valued their feedback only moderately, slightly or not at all.
Some other knocks against managers:
- 31% of employees said their higher-ups didn’t create enough transparency
- 24% said their managers were too busy to listen, and
- 23% said their managers simply weren’t good at communicating.
Respondents said having a manager check in with them for five minutes each week is extremely important. In other words, employees don’t want to feel like they’re working on an island.
What can you do about it?
Survey respondents seemed to offer a possible solution to this communication issue, although you’ll want to take their suggestion with a grain of salt, as this is the portion of the survey that appears to be entirely self-serving for 15Five.
According to the results, about 70% said they’d be more likely to share info with their managers, thus opening up the lines of communication, if they could enter comments into a feedback platform that managers could then access.
Plus, 60% said an online Q&A platform would make it easier to communicate with team members of a different generation.
Also contributing to the problem is …
Besides a lack of listening from their managers, employees said generational gaps are also a big roadblock to communication.
The survey pointed out the specific communication faults owned by every generational group in today’s workforce:
- Baby boomers: They tend to be less open and more guarded. This was also tagged as a group that struggles to adapt to new communication technologies like text and chat.
- Gen-Xers: They, too, were labeled as less open and more guarded.
- Millennials: While they tend to be honest, they’re also too brash and opinionated (Millennials themselves, seemed to agree with this finding). This group was also labeled as having an inability to talk face-to-face due to its over reliance on technological tools like chat and text.
Survey respondents said companies could improve communication by addressing these generational faults.