The Watson Wyatt Worldwide report on Capitalizing on Effective Communication [pdf] is essential reading for internal communications professionals. Here are the key findings:

  1. Effective employee communication is a leading indicator of financial performance and a driver of employee engagement. Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators.
  2. Despite all of the organizational and benefit changes employers have been making in response to challenging economic conditions, only 14 percent of the survey participants are explaining the terms of the new employee value proposition (EVP) to their employees.
  3. The best invest in helping leaders and managers communicate with employees. While only three out of 10 organizations are training managers to deal openly with resistance to change, highly effective communicators are more than three times as likely to do this as the least effective communicators.
  4. Despite the increased use of social media, companies are still struggling to measure the return on their investment in these tools. Highly effective communicators are more likely than the least effective communicators to report their social media tools are cost-effective (37 percent vs. 14 percent).
  5. Measurement is critical. Companies that are less-effective communicators are three times as likely as highly effective communicators to report having no formal measurements of communication effectiveness.