The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted communication as the area leadership most needs to improve on, according to almost half (43%) of professionals in a nationwide survey conducted by recruiting experts, Hays. This is well ahead of other areas including strategy and planning (23%) and remote staff management (13%).
From over 16,000 respondents, two in five (40%) also say that communication is the aspect of their organisation that has undergone the most change since the coronavirus outbreak, ahead of people (24%) and processes (22%).
Over half (51%) of employees rate their leadership’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far as excellent or good, whilst 49% said their leadership’s response has been OK to poor.
Communication dwindles since lockdown
Workplace communication is at concerningly low levels, as a third (33%) of employees reveal that they currently have contact with their manager less than once a week. Only 29% say they have contact with their manager on a daily basis.
This has dwindled in recent months according to over a third (34%), who say the amount of contact they now have with their manager is less than before the lockdown was enforced.
Teams and colleagues more distant
The impact of reduced communication is being felt in working relationships, as a fifth (20%) of employers report that relationships with their team have become more distant since lockdown began.
This feeling is shared by employees, roughly two in five (39%) of whom say that their relationships with colleagues also feels more distant than it did prior to lockdown. Compounding this is the fact that 40% don’t have access to a work support network while working remotely.
Simon Winfield, Managing Director of Hays UK & Ireland, comments: “Clear, effective and timely communication from leaders to their staff is even more important in a crisis, and it is clear professionals believe there is vast room for improvement.
There’s no doubt that the swift exit from office settings and changing guidance made it difficult for leaders to communicate effectively, but as many plan for a slower transition back to the workplace leaders now have an opportunity to make an impact and drive engagement from their teams. Employers should ensure they update their team regularly on their plans to mitigate any uncertainty or anxiety their staff have. They should also consider bolstering support networks by facilitating conversations between staff and scheduling social events over video calls.”