May, 18 – Less than 50 percent of Australian business leaders believe enough resources are allocated to training middle and front-line management, resulting in a significant lag behind senior leadership in communication skills of these lynchpin team members, according to a report launched today.

The report, Australia’s Commsoscopy, is the second independent report[1] commissioned by leading employee communications consultancy, Impact Employee Communications examining the effectiveness of medium to large organisations in communicating the employment ‘deal’, or Employee Value Proposition (EVP), to Australian workers.

According to Impact’s Managing Director, Tam Sandeman: “We know that clearly communicating the employment ‘deal’ – what employees get for what they give – is one of the main ways employees are attracted, engaged and retained by organisations.  This is ever critical given the talent shortage.

“However, our study found there are some significant gaps in its delivery, particularly in terms of communication frequency and the ongoing role of an organisation’s leadership team throughout an employee’s tenure with an organisation,” she said.

The study also found that while most organisations recognise the importance of communicating the ‘deal’ and believe they have the right communications abilities within their senior teams to deliver this message, they often fall short as they are failing to put the right tools or resources in place.

“Given the vital role people managers play in retaining employees and improving their performance, the resistance from organisations to introduce communications skills for middle or front-line managers is an unnecessary and damaging compromise,” she added.

Social media was also found to be an increasingly used tool in making a difference in the effectiveness of communicating and demonstrating most of the EVP attributes.

“We found organisations that embrace social media perceive themselves as better communicators of their employment deal than those that don’t. This included allocating more support resources for middle and front line management,” said Sandeman.

“Currently, only 29% of Australian organisations are using social media for employee communication. Respondents cited that the slow growth has been due to a range of barriers (46% s believing that it poses too many legal and other risks).

“Considering and including elements of social media as part of internal communication strategies is now a must-have. It can not only engage employees but be used to identify knowledge, ambassadors and talent. It also ensures businesses look as though they’re keeping up with the fast-paced external media world we all experience outside work,” she explained.

These findings aim to help organisations identify some of the gaps in communication and ultimately assist in building this approach. By doing this, they are able to ensure the employment story improves relations between the organisation and employee but importantly, delivers a tangible impact on retention and engagement.

“Organisations need a strong, strategic internal communications plan, and it’s got to be more than a newsletter, the odd roadshow or the company strategy on a mouse-mat,” said Sandeman. “It was surprising to see only 38% of organisations with 500-599 employees had an internal communication approach in place. They’re missing an opportunity.  We know companies who are communicating effectively are delivering greater returns to shareholders than those which are not. So it’s a costly oversight.[2]

The 18 page report can be downloaded here: Impact Employee Communications, Australia’s Commsoscopy

Impact Employee Communications is Australia’s leading employee communication consultancy and is part of Ogilvy PR, the largest and most awarded public relations agency in Australia.  Ogilvy PR Australia is a joint venture between Ogilvy PR Worldwide and STW Group, Australia’s leading marketing content and communications services group.

For further information:

Tessa Sexton

STW Group

Ph: +61 421 098 674

[1] Australia’s Commsoscopy Survey is the second study of the internal communication landscape carried out by the Australian Research Unit and commissioned by Impact Employee Communications. The research included phone interviews with 100 C-level executives – excluding those solely with HR and/or communications responsibility. It included executives from organisations with 100+ full time employees through to large organisations with 1000+ employees. 86% of companies interviewed were Australian-owned.
[2] Watson Wyatt 2009/2010 Communications ROI Study Report:  “Companies with highly effective communication have a 47 percent higher total return to shareholders over a five year period compared with companies with less effective communication practices.”