It's not just you: 4 in 5 Americans stressed out from poor office communication

March 20, 2019

With today's technology, we have more ways to communicate than ever before. But that doesn't guarantee effective communication in every situation – including, or perhaps even especially, in the workplace.

According to an annual survey from employee communication and engagement company Dynamic Signal, 80 percent of workers feel stressed because of ineffective company communication.

Dynamic Signal Chief Marketing Officer Joelle Kaufman said it might be symptomatic of a society full of heightened anxiety, but it's also a result of workplace communication like posters and town hall meetings not aligning with the heavily-digitized communication that takes place outside of the office.

"For the most part, work is easily 10 years behind," Kaufman said. While the aforementioned old-school communication styles aren't necessarily bad, "they’re just out of sync with how we get information in every other part of our lives."

Kaufman also pointed to the changing composition of the workforce as a potential cause for this change. While a Pew Research Center report found that an estimated 10,000 baby boomers, or those ages 55 and older, are reaching the retirement age of 65 per day, millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are continually entering the workforce.

Millennials have been connected to technology for most of their lives and thus may have "different expectations" for communication, according to Kaufman. For example, millennials may expect more digitized messages, while baby boomers may be okay with non-technology-based communication.

Poor company communication has not only led employees to feel more stressed, but also to resent their bosses. According to Dynamic Signal's survey, which interviewed 1,000 workers, 17 percent of employees would recommend firing their CEO based on how the company communicates to its employees.

The companies with the best workplace communication use both top-down and bottom-up approaches, according to Kaufman: Chief executives give quick video updates of what's going on with the company, and companies spotlight employees who are excelling in their job. Rather than these videos being live, they are recorded — so employees can watch them on their own time, wherever they may be.

It might be in bosses' best interests to prioritize workplace communication: Kaufman said communication helps increase employee engagement. According to a 2017 Gallup report, organizations with higher employee engagement have 24 percent greater worker retention, 21 percent higher profitability and 17 percent more productivity.

That demonstrates "how powerful employee communication and engagement can be," Kaufman said.

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