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  • Writer's pictureEllen Gardner

In the dark


Employees are 10 times (!) more likely to be frustrated by leaders who under-communicate than those who over-communicate.


Ask employees about their preferences, and when in doubt, *increase* the amount of communication.

~ Daniel Pink

My husband works for a midsize organization that is hired by large (usually tech and consulting) companies who want to get their employees acclimatized to Canada. His job is completely remote.

Other than instructions from their direct manager, there is no company-wide communication to employees. No information about how they’ve managed during the crisis or changes to programs and services. Employees hear nothing about the company’s strategic plan (hard to believe they don’t have one), feedback from clients, who’s leaving and who’s just joined. Leadership is completely silent.

The grapevine is alive and well, but as expected it’s selective and unreliable.

When you don’t communicate with employees, they do their jobs but feel no connection to the mission of the organization. They don’t feel celebrated for their accomplishments; they don’t see how they fit into the larger picture. Mostly they feel isolated and frustrated at the lack of news and connection. The other day my husband commented that there hasn’t been a single team meeting or note from leadership since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

Communication doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. A regular roundup email, a note on Slack, a zoom touch-base with the team.

To leaders immersed in putting out their own fires, telling employees what’s going on can seem time-consuming and unnecessary. Culture counts and if you want employees to care and be committed, talk to them. They’ll definitely notice if you don’t.

~ Ellen

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