U.S. firms ignoring global communication

Jan 31 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Few U.S. multinationals are doing a good job when it comes to communicating with their employees and business units around the world, with only three out of 10 global firms having designated communication resources in other countries, and even fewer having a formal documented global communication strategy.

According to the 2005/2006 Communication ROI Study by consultants Watson Wyatt, fewer than half of U.S. companies with global operations admit to doing an effective job with their global communication.

According to the study, only three out of 10 global companies have designated communication resources in other countries, and even fewer (18 per cent) have a formal, documented global communication strategy.

Fewer than one in five of global employers even said they bother to customise their corporate messages for workers in other countries. Instead, many companies rely on their local managers to interpret and deliver messages, with little communication training or support.

"With more companies becoming global, the challenges of communicating effectively with workers have become much more complex," said Robert Wesselkamper, director of international consulting at Watson Wyatt.

"To be truly global, employees throughout the world need to feel like they are part of the company's overall strategy. Making sure all employees receive the same information is crucial to that effort."

But only one in five of those surveyed said that they share best practices with global communication colleague and a similarly low proportion of firms said that they maintain a global communication committee or advisory group.

"One way for organisations to make sure their messages are heard in all offices is to integrate the global communication programs into the company's overall communication strategy," said Kathryn Yates, global director of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt.

"Companies may also want to consider forming a global advisory group to identify and voice local needs, customise the message and make sure local managers are up to speed."