31/08/2012

By Gavin Meikle, Head Of Learning And Founder Of Inter-Activ

Communication is something that we all tend to take for granted but I recently read an interesting article which attempted to make some finacial assessments of the impact of ineffective business communication.

- $37 billion per year lost due to employee misunderstanding or misinformation

- $26 thousand cumulative cost per employee per year due to productivity losses resulting from poor communication

Now I can't vouch for the accuracy of these figures and I can't directly relate them to the costs associated with your business here in the UK but it makes you think doesn't it?

How much could the following all-too-common mistakes be costing your organization?

- Lost sales due to a failure to follow up on customer inquiries?

-Wasted raw materials due to inaccurate project specifications?

- Lost productivity due to poor morale and motivation associated with ineffective management communication?

- Wasted time due completion of reports which are no longer required or not read

- Lost orders due to poor listening and questioning skills from salespeople leading to inappropriate proposals

- Poor productivity as a result of a lack of effective performance management conversations

- The time and monetary cost of employment tribunals resulting from poorly handled disciplinary issues

- The cost of losing quality staff due to poor motivation and a lack of appropriate recognition

The list just goes on and on! Yet how many of you would see a request from your HR manager for investment in regular communications skills training workshops or coaching sessions as being a frivolous waste of money?

Just because it's not easy to measure the cost of poor communication skills doesn't mean that you should stick your head in the sand and assume it isn't important. And of course, communication skills start at the top! How many of you have at some point complained about the poor communication skills of your directors? Yet now, as a director yourself, would you ever consider working on your own skills?

I'll leave you with one final statistic from the article that got me started on this topic.

47% higher shareholder returns over five years seen by companies whose leaders were seen to be highly effective communicators.

So if any of this has made you feel even just a little uncomfortable, it's time to park the excuses excuses and do something. For yourself, your team or the whole company. Start by taking an objective look at the quality of your own communication and if possible get some objective feedback through a 360 degree review process.