Open Communication at Work Pays Off

Companies rated by their employees as being in the top 25% in openness of communication delivered an average shareholder return of 7.9% over a 10-year period, compared with only 2.1% at companies that ranked lower in openness of communication. Among 7 key indicators the Corporate Executive Board tracked in 130 companies worldwide, the indicator that most strongly correlated with higher returns was the employees’ comfort in being able to speak up about any and all issues.

The success of Pixar Studios (of “Finding Nemo” and “Toy Story” fame) is at least partially driven by a culture that actively fights against complacency by encouraging any and all employees to question everything and voice their opinions in respectful, open and honest ways.

Another stand out in this area is Google, which holds a company-wide weekly meeting called TGIF where new employees are welcomed and senior executives share news. The highlight of the meetings are the Q & A sessions, where all employees are encouraged to ask the senior-most leaders absolutely any question, reflecting the leaders’ beliefs that employees should feel completely comfortable asking any question, and that senior leaders should always talk with employees as openly as possible.

Michael Kerr, 2012  www.HumoratWork.com

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