Survey finds lack of trust in internal communications

STAMFORD, CT: American workers are skeptical of their companies' internal communications efforts, according to a study released last week by HR services firm Towers Perrin. The study is called Enhancing Corporate Credibility: Is it Time to Take the Spin Out of Employee Communication?

STAMFORD, CT: American workers are skeptical of their companies' internal communications efforts, according to a study released last week by HR services firm Towers Perrin. The study is called Enhancing Corporate Credibility: Is it Time to Take the Spin Out of Employee Communication?

Of the 1,000 respondents, just more than half (51%) said they believe their company generally tells employees the truth, while almost one-fifth (19%) disagreed. Fifty-one percent said they think their company tries too hard to spin the truth.

Respondents also believe there is an imbalance between the employer's truthfulness with them as employees and other corporate constituencies. Sixty percent of respondents said that their company is more truthful with shareholders, while 58% said their employer is more honest with its customers.

Almost half (48%) said they view information from senior leadership as the least reliable, and that they receive more credible information from their direct supervisors than from the CEO. More than half said they are more likely to believe information about their pay (64%) and benefits (59%) than about company direction and strategies - the information most often communicated by management.

The survey reported disparities in employee perceptions of corporate credibility on different subjects. Most respondents said their employer is least open when communicating what the company needs from employees and what employees can expect in return. Only half of respondents called employers forthright about what the organization needs from its workers, and well under half (39%) said their company is completely open and honest in communicating what the organization offers.

Harris InterActive conducted the survey in mid-2003 on behalf of Towers Perrin. The sample was designed to represent a typical cross section of workers at US-based organizations with at least 1,000 employees. Respondents cut across a range of industries, ages, education levels, genders, and incomes.

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