Friday, January 06, 2006

Reputation & Communications

Good communications and reputation go hand in hand. Research consistently shows that the most admired companies have effective top-down communications. Information flows from the top to bottom and back up.

I always like reading Watson Wyatt's research on the ROI of effective communications. The newest study (2005/2006) found evidence that communication effectiveness is a leading indicator of financial performance and that companies that communicate effectively also have...

**19.4 percent higher market premium than companies that do not
**higher levels of employee engagement
**lower turnover rates than peers.

These findings are staggering if you are concerned about talent and growth. It makes you wonder why companies do not treat communications as seriously as financial and legal matters. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says: "It is not our job to convince people of our strategy. It is our job to articulate it clearly." How often can you say that you worked in a company where the CEO thinks this way about communications? Maybe once in a lifetime.

CEOs and leaders have to plan their communications, coordinate communications internally and externally, and measure the impact. I know one well-respected company that surveys its employees monthly to see if communications are cascading downward and being understood. When the information is not reaching the right people or is too complicated, supervisors are asked to repeat the messages and clarify any ambiguity.

Reputation is many things. Good communications only helps.

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