Only half of communicators say all their work is aligned to corporate strategy and goals.
I developed a benchmarking database (covers 81 organizations, across 10 countries, with approximately 390,000 employees) of communication practices, and the link to organizational performance by identifying the #11ways communicators can contribute to performance. It turns out that high-performing organizations (compared to average ones), are:
- Twice as likely to keep language simple and jargon-free
- 80% more likely to have a process for creating great corporate stories.
- Twice as likely to make emotional connections to their audiences
- 60% more likely to think about communication from the audience perspective.
The idea was to develop a database to explore the connections between communication practices and organizational performance, and answer questions like: “what are the common communication practices that have an impact on performance? And are there things that communicators do which actually contribute to organizational under-performance?”Three in particular stood out:
The know-it-all leader and the know-a-little communicator?
Half of organizations say that corporate messages are generally devised by senior executives, potentially relegating the communications team to the role of a paper-boy or paper-girl: just delivering the message.
Indeed, some communications departments are referred to the SOS team : “Send Out Stuff”. If corporate leaders are devising the messages they’d better be good at it, but only 20% of benchmarked organizations think their leaders are good at communicating. There must be a lot of horrible communications going on. Or, as one organization anonymously told us: “Executives that think they know how to communicate with employees, but don’t!”
So it seems that executives should listen to communicators’ advice more. But only a third of communicators admitted that their level of business know-how and understanding was high.
Two-thirds of communicators, we therefore suggest, need to improve their business understanding if they want to advise business people. Repeat: only a third of communicators admitted to knowing their own business. No wonder they don’t feel listened to.