A new study has found that companies who fail to build cultures that espouse open communication – that is, those environments in which employees are afraid to “speak up” – can bleed thousands of dollars a week in lost time and resources.
The survey was led by Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, co-authors of the New York Times bestseller, “Crucial Conversations.” By studying more than 1,000 employees, the researchers found that more than 70 percent of workers reported being too afraid to speak up when a colleague was failing to pull their weight on a team, 68 percent did not report incidents of “disrespect” and 57 percent did not flag co-workers who failed to comply with company policy.
The researchers then asked respondents to estimate how much these avoided conversations ultimately cost their organizations per week. The average estimate for that prompt: $7,500 in lost time and resources – per week.
It is not surprising that avoiding difficult conversations is commonplace in many work environments; in fact, one in three people surveyed for this study said that their culture does not support “holding crucial conversations.” Most people do not feel comfortable rocking the boat or earning the moniker of “office tattle-tale.” That said, failing to address challenges head on can lead to weeks of wasted time “ruminating” about what might be relatively minor issues.
Beyond the financial cost associated, avoiding tough conversations can also have detrimental effects on morale and engagement. The solution for managers: Promote environments where transparency and open communication are the norm, and lead by example. Instead of non-constructive finger-pointing, create a system for providing solutions-based feedback to peers in which fixing an issue is prioritized above assigning blame.
You can learn more about this study at Recruiter.com.