Communication is what we do all day. I recently changed careers and during my transition period, I reflected on how information is communicated and distributed from the top down in organizations. When information is shared from a corporate level it is dispersed based on the general assumption that the person on the receiving end has a certain level of comprehension and education to understand what they have read. Let’s start with my Three C’s of Communication: clarity, confidently and correctly, all these aspects need to present when communicating on any level. The organization has a responsibility to be clear on what they want to communicate, confident in what they are saying and they must confirm the information being shared is correct. However, during my transition up the career ladder, I realized there is an unspoken 4th rule of Communication: Comprehension! Allow me to explain how comprehension is part of my Three C’s of Communication.
I educated myself as a manager working with front-line employees; they did not always understand what I understood. As managers, we automatically assume that all employees read and understand on our level. Once I became aware that most of my employees were unable to comprehend the overall communication that the organization had shared; I decided to take the time to frame the corporate communication into something my front line employees could understand and carry out.
SHRM in 2013 reported that the cost of poor communication in organization’s cost companies an average of $62.4 million per year because of inadequate communication between employees (Buhler, Worder, 2013) THAT IS INSANE!! As an organization can you imagine losing this much money because your employees are not able to comprehend the information they receive? Precisely what is inadequate information? Inadequate information is when an employee is unable to understand and carry out a task that has been communicated to them.
Organizations must understand that while the Three C’s are essential to communication comprehension is the most important. I recommend that organizations find creative ways to offer the same information on different comprehension levels to their employees. A base line to follow would be to provide communication on a basic 5th grade reading comprehension level. This will ensure that most employees will be able to understand, comprehend and communicate out to the organizations customers and clients.
Front-line employees are responsible for communicating an organizations’ message to clients and customers, however, if they are unable to comprehend the information they are receiving, it will cause customer & client abrasion. This leads us right back to our discussion of organizations providing inadequate information thus costing organizations millions of dollars each year.
I recommend that organizations take a moment and develop corporate communications on different comprehension levels. Just this one basic change will save the organizations millions of dollars in employee time, disgruntled customers and clients. Think of this way, your front-line employees represent the organization in every way, it is worth the investment to create more documentation so that employees are able to comprehend, present and carry out the organization's goals.
J’Anmetra is uniquely positioned to understand the many nuisances business owners face when they’re just starting out. Coaching services are provided online, via email, in person, or via phone. As a survivor of Domestic Violence J'Anmetra has lived by the following quote that motivates her daily is from John Wooden