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An employee-ranked list of topics they want to hear from leaders

Nearly 50% of leaders say the biggest challenge they face when sharing internal communications — the critical updates that keep their organization aligned — is understanding what’s actually important to employees.

The big picture: Employees have a clear perspective on what topics and details set them up for success. About 50% agreed the two that are most critical to helping them do their job well are:

  1. Operational changes, like process, and policy updates.

  2. Organizational goals, plans, and new initiatives.

That also exposed a few glaring issues. Biggest among them: Leaders ranked those same topics among the lowest they thought were essential for a team or department to stay aligned with its leadership.

  • Only 16% of employees said the updates they get about operational changes and organizational goals are “very effective.”

And the two topics employees say are least critical to their jobs — business updates, like project, product, or client news, and macro updates, like industry news and competitive insight — are the ones they hear about most often. 

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It’s time for a reset. “When we think about communication, it's easy to get stuck in the trap that it's all about what I need you to do and want you to know — but that's only one part,” says Patricia Kiernan Johnson, the Curtis Institute of Music’s VP of Communications. “It's crucial to listen to your audiences, really hear what they need, and to act on it.”

It's also time to check your cadence. The topics employees say are least essential to doing their jobs well are the ones they hear about most often from leaders — and much more often than the topics they say they need.

  At least weekly A few times a month Every few months Once or twice a year Never
Operational changes 19% 25% 28% 22% 6%
Organizational goals 18% 26% 28% 22% 6%
Business updates 27% 27% 27% 15% 4%
Macro updates 23% 25% 27% 19% 6%

Go deeper: Learn more about the 2023 State of Essential Workplace Communications

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