Employee Communication: Can Better Communications Really Pay Off?

By Frank Kenna

There’s always been a debate about the return on investment for communicating with employees.  These days, for example, a question we often get from managers considering our digital signage systems is, “What’s the ROI on this?  I need to know it in order to justify the budget line item.” 

Fair enough.  Annualized properly, the ROI is usually many times the investment.  The trick is figuring out what corporate objectives will be met through better communications.

So let’s look at one example regarding safety that’s in the news this week, that being the decrease in the number of workplace injuries.  The 7.23.13 issue of The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of workplace injuries recorded by the federal government has dropped 31% over the past decade. Over the years that progress has resulted in a workers’ comp rate reduction from $2.67 per 100 workers to $1.79. 

This is a huge savings.  For example, if your company has 200 manufacturing workers at an average hourly wage of $20 per hour, your company’s workers’ comp costs have dropped from $222k to $148k per year, for an annual savings of $74k per year.  That’ll pay for a lot of communications!

Now the question is, how much of that annualized savings is attributable to better workplace communications?  While debatable, to get results from safety initiatives, visual communications are key; that’s why they’re an integral ingredient of initiatives like Six Sigma and Kaizen. 

You have to sell your ideas to get people to act on them, just like selling a brand of soda or sneakers.  Visual communication is a proven way to do this, and the resulting savings can be very substantial as outlined above.  And you’ll use your communication system for other initiatives besides safety.  In fact, whatever the organization’s objectives are, they will be much easier to achieve if you use your system to market it.  Think the $74k in savings above is a lot?  Well how about adding similar savings from productivity, quality, cost containment and employee turnover objectives?  The savings can easily soar into the six figures per year for a medium-size company.

While there are many ways to communicate effectively, I of course recommend The Marlin Company’s.  We’ve been in the biz for 100 years and lead the field in digital workplace communications.  Check us out, or read case studies of how our customers have done it.

Frank Kenna III
July 25, 2013

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