My Employees Stink at Communicating!

Looks like we hit a nerve last month with the first piece in this limited series. We had fun sticking it to bosses who are poor workplace communicators. At least, I had fun.

We concluded that their skills are weak because they weren’t an important factor in the hiring process, they didn’t learn them in school and few executives find them mentioned in their performance objectives or evaluations.

The simple, and often painful, reality – they got hired and rewarded in spite of their skills, certainly not because of them.

But, that’s only one side of the workplace communication equation; the other side is employees with similarly weak skills. And we can identify surprisingly similar reasons for this collective weakness.

  • Not on the test. Few organizations place written or verbal skills on the gotta havelist when interviewing candidates, unless the open position is in sales or customer-facing areas. You get what you look for.
  • No big deal. Many employers don’t include written or verbal skills in their performance management system because they don’t see that much value in them. Again, unless the positions are in sales or customer service. You get what you reward.
  • They didnt learn them in school. Most high schools offer few, if any, courses in presentation or interpersonal communication skills. The same is true for many college business curricula. You get what they learned.

So, if your sad fate is to deal with poor employee communication skills, you’re certainly not alone. But, what can organizations do about this scenario? Not to worry – tune in next time for part III – a summary of simple, but effective, best practices to create organizations that communicate effectively.