EDITORIAL: Staff not the only victims of bad IC

When the downturn first began to make itself felt, internal communications was among those sectors seen as a great white hope. The rationale was that, with retrenchment, IC would gain in importance as CEOs sought to manage wide-scale redundancies, and maintain the productivity of remaining staff.

However, Henley Management Centre and Blue Rubicon's recent Employee Communications and Relationship Report has revealed a profound disregard for the importance of dialogue with employees among leading blue-chip firms.

The picture that emerges of British business is autocratic and didactic, with CEOs issuing electronic missives from their ivory towers, blissfully unaware of how the actions of their organisation affect employee behaviour.

So divorced are they from their workforce that the majority say they do not also know whether staff will remain loyal, be co-operative and productive or even stay with the organisation. And to add insult to injury around half of those companies questioned now expect their employee communications budgets to be frozen or even cut.

But such short-termism will undoubtedly come back to haunt the guilty companies. According to another recent report by Henley's Centre for Organisational Reputation and Relationships, indifference of staff is the cause of more then two thirds of customer defections.

So by the time an upturn finally comes into sight, those CEOs who fail to recognise the importance of engaging with employees might find themselves waving goodbye to more than just their disgruntled staff.

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