HR Gives Senior Management Mostly B's and C's for Communication

August 3, 2007 ( - Senior management received only mediocre marks from Human Resource professionals for communicating with employees, according to a survey by Novations Group, a global consulting and training firm based in Boston.

When asked to grade the effectiveness of senior management’s communications with employees, only 14% of HR professionals answered with an A, while 39% gave senior management a B and 32% gave senior management a C, Novations said in a press release. A few HR professionals handed out a communications grade of D (13%) and F (2%) to their senior managers.

Causes cited for senior management’s difficulty connecting with employees, according to the release, included:

  • Senior management relies too much on e-mail (and little face-to-face time with employees) – 35%,
  • Senior management assumes a single message is enough – 30%,
  • Senior management has no feedback loop in place – 28%, and
  • Senior management’s messages often lack clarity – 24%.

Only 3% of respondents accused senior management of communicating too much, too often.

“What stands out is the inherent weakness of e-mail for employee communications. The Internet is used more and more, but there seems to be a point of diminishing returns when e-mail is relied upon so much. Employees like to see and hear their management and may feel depersonalized by too much e-mail messaging, instead of direct contact,” said Rebecca Hefter, Novations Senior Vice President for Training, in the release.

The Novations Group Internet survey of 2,046 senior human resources and training & development executives was conducted by Equation Research.