Friday, April 27, 2012

Communicate or Suffer the Consequences

So, do you think your organization needs some improved communication? Don’t we all, right? Hopefully we are not as bad off as these folks….

In a session today at the Oklahoma HR State Conference, a few of the topics of conversation left my jaw on the floor. When speaker, Dr. Nate Regier, asked the audience for some examples of poor communication in their organizations, you won’t believe the amounts of money that people throw at problems without understanding the root of the problem. Band-aid solutions can be very costly and not helpful at all.

Story # 1, one of my favorites, a city government organization while attempting to be open to new ideas heard a suggestion about going to a 4 day work week and then jumped on it and implemented it before investigating what impact it would have. The result… workers who were now forced into a 10 hour day 4 day a week scenario struggled to find daycare that would meet their needs. The fact that services which had been available to customers were no longer available on Fridays, with little to no notice to the customer. Trash pick up was disrupted because no one worked that day. Oh, and payroll… who wants to still get paid? Well, they were always paid every other Friday and now they are closed on Fridays. Isn’t that something that should have been communicated with payroll BEFORE it was approved? You would think so, right? But the payroll department found out when it was announced to all other staff… you can imagine there were a lot of complaints and frustration surrounding this sudden change.

Story # 2, back in 1996 a great idea was discussed in the manufacturing industry with one local Oklahoma company, getting away from manual time punch cards and moving to a hand print bio-metric time keeping system. So, without much further discussion, some folks in charge went ahead and bought a nice $125,000 time keeping system. Unfortunately, they forgot to discuss this with the front line folks and even with those handling payroll and time tracking. As it turned out, that system would not integrate and did not work with their other systems. So, it was never implemented and ended up being the equivalent of a really pricey paperweight. Yikes!

Story # 3, much like story # 2, another Oklahoma company spent OVER $1 million on a new talent management and evaluation system, which was never implemented due to poor communication and lack of support within the organization.

Is this just an Oklahoma problem? NO. I am confident that if you ask (and folks are honest) there are stories like this all over the country. Not every story has the impact of hundreds of thousands in financial loss, but the important lesson here is that whether big or small your organization can suffer when open communication is not a part of your culture.

1 comment:

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