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The Fast Company Executive Board is a private, fee-based network of influential leaders, experts, executives, and entrepreneurs who share their insights with our audience.

Why business communications in 2022 don’t have to be problematic

Communication in today’s hybrid and remote workplaces requires more thought and attention than the traditional in-person office. Employers can no longer assume that workers are getting the message or will “catch on.”

Why business communications in 2022 don’t have to be problematic
[Maksym Povozniuk / Adobe Stock]

In the business world, effective communication is the key to success, and many businesses have struggled with it since the onset of the pandemic. The communication challenges posed by hybrid and remote workplaces have made it even more clear that good communication on all levels is essential for growth and prosperity.

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A recent Grammarly study on the value of business communications underscores how vital internal and external communications are in the modern workplace. Grammarly’s “State of Business Communication” estimated a $1.2 trillion loss among businesses due to poor communication. That is why I believe all business leaders need a seat at the table when it comes to connecting with employees and each other.

The study, conducted in partnership with the Harris Poll, found that 72% of business leaders surveyed said their teams experienced problems communicating effectively during the past year. In fact, 82% of business leaders and 59% of employees noted concern about effective communication with businesses operating remotely or as hybrid models.

The results of the Grammarly study are telling. Business leaders told Grammarly they lost an estimated 7.47 hours a week—nearly an entire day—due to poor communication. That adds up to an estimated loss of $12,506 per employee every year. And that can be a lot of money lost, depending on how many employees your business has.

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According to the study, it’s a big mistake for employers to assume the exchange and receipt of information is happening effectively. In fact, 86% of the workers surveyed reported having communication issues throughout their work weeks. This is especially problematic for businesses that are adjusting to a hybrid or fully remote work model.

Results of the study show that nearly nine out of 10 business leaders surveyed have experienced the adverse impact of poor communication in the workplace, with 45% experiencing increased costs, 39% experiencing increased time to resolution or missed deadlines, and 34% experiencing eroded brand or reputation credibility.

In addition, 82% of business leaders noted concern about effective communication with hybrid or remote work models.

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POOR COMMUNICATION IS AVOIDABLE

Flexibility and creativity are two key factors for successful communication. The challenges posed by the pandemic are proof. Businesses relied on innovation to stay afloat: Video conferencing became the order of the day, and online inter-office communication platforms like Slack and Google Chat kept coworkers in touch, even if they were working in different time zones.

Companies that were able to pivot away from a traditional business model and embrace new communication modes not only kept the lights on, but also thrived.

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The fourth annual JOTW Strategic Communications Survey reinforced this message of the importance of effective communication. The study, which polled 300 communications professionals, found that 80% of organizations now place a greater value on communications, in part due to the enormous disruptions caused by work challenges resulting from COVID-19.

The survey spotlighted three areas of concern for effective business communications:

  • Business leaders with a limited understanding of the value of communications
  • Poor media relations with limited interest doing more
  • A lack of credible, sponsored content, such as blogs

The takeaway is clear—good communication can no longer be taken for granted.

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GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS

Public relations professionals are in the communications business, so if your organization is struggling with internal and external communications, get help. PR experts can evaluate your communications networks and tweak them if necessary so that everyone is kept in the loop. With so many available resources, there’s no reason for communication gaps.

More importantly, businesses can’t afford shoddy communications, because poor communications equal lost time and revenue. Prioritizing communications is critical because so much is at stake.

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PR professionals can also help build brand awareness, establish brand credibility through earned media, write thought leadership pieces, and verify that your marketing efforts are aimed at the appropriate target audience.

Does your organization have impactful messaging that targets the right groups? Public relations experts can audit your content and determine if your campaigns are effective and well-thought-out.

Here are some additional outtakes from the Grammarly survey:

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  • Ninety-six percent of business leaders said that “effective communication is essential for delivering the business results expected of [their teams] in the coming year,” but 74 percent said their company “underestimates the cost of poor communication.”
  • Employees spend nearly half of a 40-hour work week on written communication alone: 88% of business leaders and 63% of employees said their employers need better tools to communicate effectively.
  • Seventy-five percent of business leaders said they spend too much time resolving miscommunications.

Communication in today’s hybrid and remote workplaces requires more thought and attention than the traditional in-person office. Employers can no longer assume that workers are getting the message or will “catch on.”

I believe employers must consciously change communication in the workplace to achieve success by prioritizing all forms of communication so that everyone from C-suite executives to rank-and-file employees are equally informed.


Evan Nierman is Founder and CEO of Red Banyan, an international crisis PR agency, and author of Amazon bestseller Crisis Averted.

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