Survey: The Most Difficult Issues to Communicate

By Frank Kenna

We all need to communicate workplace issues, and most managers can readily come up with the top list for their particular organization.  But knowing what the issues are, versus being able to effectively communicate them, are two different things.

Here at The Marlin Company, we recently conducted a survey of our customers and asked them, “What do you believe are the two most difficult issues for you to communicate?”  The top two answers were surprising, being workplace safety and quality improvement.  Not because these issues are top of mind for managers – what was surprising was that managers find it difficult to communicate them.  After all, these have probably been the top two workplace issues for decades. You’d think the typical manager would have figured them out by now, but according to our survey, they haven’t.

I think the reason for this is that it’s hard to tell employees to “be safe” for the millionth time and expect them to pay attention.  And it is tough. I know since that’s what we do every day; it’s our reason for existing as a company.  The challenge is similar to that faced by advertisers – how to sell the same product in a fresh new way, year in, year out.  It requires innovation, conceptualization & creativity, professional writing, graphic artists, researchers, photographers, and artists.

The next two issues, employee morale and teamwork, weren’t as surprising, as they are more intangible issues, so are even harder to communicate.

The top 10 most difficult issues from our survey are, in order of frequency mentioned, safety, quality, morale, teamwork, attitude, communication, productivity, respect, attendance and responsibility.

Jude Carter
June 7, 2010

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