Employees craving top-down discussion on economy

NEW YORK: More than half of working Americans said their employers have not addressed their concerns about the impact of the current economic turmoil, according to a new survey by Weber Shandwick.

NEW YORK: More than half of working Americans said their employers have not addressed their concerns about the impact of the current economic turmoil, according to a new survey by Weber Shandwick.

In its survey of 514 employed Americans, the agency found that 70% expected the current economic situation to have a negative impact on the companies they work for, while 62% of those said their companies would have trouble meeting its goals.

And although 54% said their company leaders have stayed mum on the impact of the financial turmoil, nearly three-quarters said their colleagues are discussing the possibilities.

“They basically want to understand how their company will do… and how they're going to handle issues confronting their company,” said Harris Diamond, CEO of Weber Shandwick. “Whether you communicate with [staff members], they're communicating among themselves. Rumors are generally worse than reality.”

Negative talk among employees can be self-fulfilling, Diamond continued.

“People will make wrong assumptions about the company's future,” he said. “A motivated workforce requires factual data to know which direction they should be pushing.”

The study also found that 86% consider their company's senior executives “believable” and “trustworthy.”

“This shows that individual companies, with respect to their own company leaders, have tremendous credibility with their own workforce,” said Diamond. “That's an opportunity for company leaders to communicate.”

The survey was conducted by KRC Research between October 3 and October 6 with a margin of error of +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level.

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