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Ineffective internal comms create a massive retention risk

Things like employee alignment and motivation connect to productivity and profit, and they also ladder up to something equally important — retention. 

  • Why it matters: When alignment is strong, you have experienced teammates ready to stay with you for 5–10 years. When it’s weak, many employees will admit they’re job hunting, and leaders will soon carry the cost of replacing them.

Right now, only 14% of employees say they feel fully aligned with their organization’s goals. And the quality of the updates employees receive have a big impact on how engaged and aligned they feel. 

To find out what’s going on, Axios HQ surveyed 400+ leaders who send critical communications at organizations large and small and 1,000+ employees receiving similar messages. The data that came out of it was eye-opening. 

Internal communication are ineffective

Even excellent goals will fail if the details leaders share are hard to parse or overwhelming. This time last year, there was a glaring gap — 78% of leaders thought their communications were clear and engaging. Only 51% of employees agreed.

This year, that gap grew:

  • 83% of leaders think their internal communications are clear and engaging.
  • 47% of employees agree.

Worse, roughly 50% of all employees surveyed say the key updates they receive from leaders are somewhat ineffective, very ineffective, or they’re neutral about how effective they are. That can spark frustration, confusion, and disengagement at work.

2024 Report social charts7 (1)

Zoom in, and the topic employees say is most critical to their success — hearing from leaders about operational changes — is middle of the pack for effectiveness. Not only does that drag down their ability to move quickly and make more unblocked, independent decisions, but it also weighs on their motivation and willingness to work for those leaders. 

Misaligned employees are job hunting 

It’s clear ineffective communications lead to breakdowns in team alignment with business goals. But that breakdown is drawing another line: The more misaligned and demotivated employees are, the more likely they are to leave their job.

  • 49% of unaligned employees plan to leave their job in the next two years.
  • 44% of unmotivated employees plan to leave their job in the next two years.

Leaders have to create change now or continue replacing valuable players — which Gallup estimates can cost up to double the departing employee’s salary to do.

2024 Report social charts8

That change starts by listening to employees and what they value, investing in communication tools that empower your leaders and communication professionals, and continuing to evolve your internal comms strategy to make sure teams have what they need to feel informed, stay engaged, and feel motivated to continue sharing their time toward your mission. 

Go deeper: Read the full 2024 state of internal communications report

Comms Report 2024

The 2024 state of internal communications

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