Accountemps Survey: Lack of Communication Is Top Management Mistake

By AccountingWEB Staff
 
The most common mistake management makes is easy to remedy: Don't keep employees in the dark.
 
A recent survey developed by Accountemps, a specialized staffing service for temporary accounting, finance, and bookkeeping professionals, was conducted by an independent research firm. Survey results are based on phone interviews with more than 1,400 CFOs from a stratified random sample of US companies that have twenty or more employees on staff.
 
When CFOs were asked, "What one mistake do companies make most in managing their employees?", here's how they responded:
  • 41 percent said lack of communication between staff and management.
  • 28 percent cited lack of recognition and praise.
  • 11 percent said lack of training, development, and/or educational opportunities.
  • 8 percent said lack of flexibility in work schedules.
  • 6 percent responded with lack of authority given to employees.
  • 6 percent either didn't know or had no answer.

Talking Points
Keith Rosen, CEO of Profit Builders, Master Certified Coach, and a widely published columnist, suggests you ask yourself the following ten questions to determine how effectively communicate:
  • Am I taking full responsibility for the message being heard by the other person? (Remember, it doesn't matter what you say, it only matters what the other person hears.)
  • Did I respect the other person's point of view? Did I have a reaction to what the person way saying that prevented me from listening to their full message?
  • Did the other person feel heard and understood?
  • If I was asking someone to take a specific action, did I make my request clear?
  • Am I speaking in a way the other person can understand? (Am I communicating in a way the other person will listen? i.e., speaking in their "language"/communication style.)
  • Am I checking to see if the conversation worked/was successful?
  • Was I communicating openly, without prejudices, expectations and judgment? (Was I focused on having to be right, or have my point of view be accepted?)
  • Did I leave the conversation with some value? (Did I allow the other person to contribute to me?)
  • Did I give the person the gift of my listening?
  • If the outcome of the conversation didn’t meet my expectations, did I learn what I could improve on to better communicate with that particular person?

"Employees want to be kept in the loop and feel appreciated," said Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of Human Resources Kit for Dummies. "An organization can only be successful if its employees have the information and support they need to do their jobs well and a forum for two-way communication."

Accountemps says there are five things managers should say to employees on a regular basis:
 
1. "Here's what's happening." Keep staff abreast of organizational information that affects them and their responsibilities, whether it's updates on the company's financial performance, department initiatives, or group projects. When people are left in the dark, it leads to tension and rumors.
 
2. "Do you have what you need?" Find out if your team members have the right resources to perform their work effectively.
 
3. "Thank you." Take time to thank and praise employees who go above and beyond. Call attention to employee successes and contributions during staff meetings or via firm-wide e-mails; be sure to copy relevant managers.
 
4. "What challenges are you facing?" Employees often are hesitant to voice concerns when problems arise, so it's essential you talk to staff members to learn what's going on and how you may be able to help.
 
5. "How can we improve the company?" Encourage employees to offer suggestions about what they can do to help achieve business objectives. You might be suprised by how innovative and resourceful your employees are.
 
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