Nearly 70 percent of human resource professionals of Northeast organizations believe that open and honest communication is lacking within their companies, according to a new e-survey by the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA). NEHRA, the premier HR association in New England with 3,000 members, conducted the e-survey to determine the effects of open communication on corporate culture.
"The results from our survey were not a surprise given the current economic conditions, where all employees within their respective organizations are being asked to handle more or new responsibilities if the company has experienced downsizing. Unfortunately, the after-effect of this increased multi-tasking can often lead to a decreased level of effective communication,” said Deborah Hicks, NEHRA’s board chair and associate dean/chief human resources officer at Harvard Medical School.
"We understand this is an important issue that human resources professionals are being called upon to provide working solutions to within in their own organizations. This is why we have invited Paul Levy (President/CEO) and Lisa Zankman (SVP, HR) from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to offer attendees a MINI-KEYNOTE on this important topic at NEHRA’s 1st conference program “From Vision to Engagement – Human Resources: Rebuilding. Recreating. Realigning.” on October 21st. We are thrilled they will be joining us, presenting ‘Creating a Culture of Candor: Real Life Lessons from the Frontline’ – which will share their story of how they intentionally and actively seek to demonstrate transparency in the way they run their organization and the practices they have incorporated to build this value into the culture. You won’t want to miss this conference!” she said.
About 57 percent of human resource respondents reported in the survey that employees in their organization have reported (in performance reviews/360 degree feedback or other assessments) that communication practices within the company should be improved. When asked for specific ways in which these communications practices could be improved, the overwhelming answer was more frequent, increasingly transparent (and direct) updates on the decision-making process from top management. Another prevalent suggestion was better communication on the part of middle management to their departmental staff of memos/updates given to them by senior management, and/or more frequent communication to all staff that comes directly from top management.
Over 85 percent of respondents indicated that they either did not have or were not sure if they had a specific “communication” policy within their organization.
When those who did have a policy were asked if they would be willing to share what it states in general terms, the most prevalent answer was “a basic open door policy” where anyone would be free to discuss issues with anyone on the management team at any time – allowing for the free flow of information to and from employees within their organization.
Despite the need for more frequent communication to all employees from top management, nearly 76 percent of respondents did indicate that a supportive level of trust exists between them and those they most closely work with from the management team. Also, over 66 percent of respondents noted that the level of communication that exists makes them feel more engaged within their department/team.
Most notably, over 77 percent of respondents indicated that they believe open and honest communication within their organization positively impacts their level of productivity within their roles at the company.
About NEHRA and the survey
NEHRA is New England’s premier human resources association. Since 1985, NEHRA has provided HR professionals with programs, information and relationships that stimulate professional growth and enhance workplace contributions. The mission of the Northeast Human Resources Association is to lead, advance and influence the management of human resources and its impact on organizational success. For more information, visit www.nehra.com.
About 3,000 HR professionals, representing large and small companies in all industries within the region, as well as individuals providing products and services to the human resources community, comprise NEHRA’s membership base.
A total of 202 NEHRA members responded to the online survey, which was conducted from August 25 to September 8, 2009.