British managers failing to say what they mean

2006

British boardrooms suffer from a chronic lack of direction when it comes to communicating with staff, with even senior managers often unclear what is going on and unable to get their message across, according to new research.

The study by specialist title IRS Employment Review found there were often communication problems at all levels.

More than 20 per cent of the 72 companies questioned said they did not communicate their strategic direction effectively to staff.

Mark Crail, managing editor of IRS Employment Review, said: "Few employers believe their board's attempt to communicate the direction in which they want to take the organisation are reaching the shop floor and being understood.

"This is especially true of companies that rely on informal approaches to strategic planning and communications – with some of these admitting that even senior managers do not know where the organisation is heading," he added.

Just as worrying, nearly three quarters of HR managers said they failed to review whether their strategy was meshing with the wider goals of their business.

A total of 72 per cent said they had no formal process for reviewing company performance against their own strategic plans.

Just one in four had a formal process in place for strategic planning and only a third believed their HR strategy was linked to organisational planning.

The finding goes to the heart of the ongoing debate within HR about how the profession can gain and maintain credibility within their businesses.

Most HR managers – 88 per cent – said the company strategy was developed by the board of directors.

Just under half – 47 per cent – said it was determined by senior management.