Managing employee to supervisor communication today

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Employee communication is a continuous process involving skillful sending and receiving of messages. The term communication is defined as the process of passing information and understanding from one person to another. As a supervisory responsibility, the process is frequently called employee communication, although the communicating process is equally important between supervisors and manager. The term communications is more narrowly used to describe the mechanical and electronic means of transmitting and receiving information, such as newspapers, bulletin - board announcements, computer printouts, radios, telephones and video screens. Employees communication has many of the qualities - and limitations - of these means, but it is infinitely more subtle and complex. So employee communication needs to be managed carefully.

In the corporate environment, individuals are rarely conscious of engaging in communication practices because communication is to a great extent invisible and intangible. It is only in the areas of planned communication, such as advertising, organizational directives or the corporate website, that communication becomes tangible. Nonetheless, planned communication is only one, limited manifestation of the communication that makes the organization's existence possible. The remainder is far more difficult to discern, understand and deal with. Communication as it exists in the organizational context is therefore a complex phenomenon.

The goals that can be achieved through managed employee communication are numerous. For systematization, and for external communication policy, one can differentiate between economic and communication goals. Economic goals, such as improving profits by reducing coasts and / or increased revenues, can be achieved by employee communication only indirectly, for example, by improved work performance. In contrast, communication can be concerned to directly affect the knowledge, attitude and behavioral level of the addressees. Because the latter effects can be measured directly, communication goals are remarkably more useful here for controlling the company than are economic goals.


"Any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that person's needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or nonlinguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes." Communication of often described as the glue that binds together the various components of an organization, enabling interaction with its agents, its customers and broader public. The degree to which an organization can achieve its objectives is largely determined by its communication. Through communication, the organization's members are able to work with each other, their customers and their clients.

Employee communication denotes the planned use of communication actions to systematically influence the knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of current employees. This definition comprises several substantial components like employee communication goes along with a planned application of communication measures. Therefore, not all internal information processes are enclosed in the underlying definition, but rather those measures that are used intentionally. This dies in no way imply that employee communication must always be one - sided top - down communication. Included are also measures of planned bottom - up (or feedback) communication and lateral communication between employees on the same hierarchical level. Employee communication is directed potentially towards all current employees, which means that no target group should be excluded in principle, while it may still be reasonable to differentiate between internal target groups (high - level personnel, office personnel, customer service representatives and so on). Employee communication is systematically aligned to influence employees, thus serving to attain business goals.


A number of approaches have been developed for employee opinion surveys, and they have been assigned a variety of names. In addition to employee opinion surveys, they are called employee attitude surveys, annual employee questionnaires, morale indexes, work attitude questions, work satisfaction surveys and company scorecards. Here we are using a similar kind of a questionnaire. It provides us with a method to discover what the employees perceptions are and how to use that information to improve communication, conditions of employment, morale and performance.

3.1 Primary Sources of Data Collection

Primary data is the information which is composed by the researcher directly from their personal interpretation and experiences. Primary sources are unique way from which the researcher honestly brings together the data's that have not been formerly collected. This are the first - hand data's composed all the way through different tools and techniques such as observation, personal interview, emails, mails etc.

The primary source for data collection used here is a questionnaire. The following sets of questions were asked to the employees of the organization:

I am kept sound knowledgeable concerning my work group's strategy and development.

I am kept well up to date regarding business policy and advancement.

Opportunities are available for me to express my ideas to senior management.

There is healthy communication in my work group.

There is excellent communication involving people in several departments of the firm.

I am kept fine up to date by senior management on what's happening in the business.

Taking into consideration of everything, how satisfied are you with the amount of quality of business communications?

The parameters used to measure were:

Extremely disappointed

To some extent dissatisfied

In doubt

To some extent satisfied

Extremely satisfied

3.2 Random Sampling

Random sampling is a selection of some employees who will represent the entire employee population from which they are drawn. This could mean selecting employees to represent all the employees or subgroups. The key to successful random sampling is to ensure it is random. If not, the results of the survey will be skewed to the bias of the group. In such a case, the survey result will not be reliable for all employees.

3.3 Secondary Sources of Data Collection

Secondary data are essential for the organization of most research. Secondary data refers to information collected by someone other than the researcher conducting the study. These data can be internal or external to the organization and access to the Internet or reading or information recorded or published. There are several secondary data sources, including books and periodicals from the government's economic indicators, census data, statistical abstracts, databases, media, annual reports, case studies and other footage. Secondary data sources provide much information for the investigation and resolution of problems. This data is mainly qualitative. Also included in the secondary sources are kept for hours or organizations of key personnel, the timing of office managers and the speeches made by them. Much of this information may be internal, but owners and are not available for all available financial databases for research are also sources of secondary data. The Compustat database contains information on thousands of companies organized by industry and information on global companies is also available through Compustat. The advantage of locating sources of secondary data is saving time and cost of data gaining.

The secondary sources of data used for this survey are the market research data, statistical abstracts, data basis and annual reports of the company.

3.4 Analysis of the Data

Given below is the analysis of the survey:

I am kept sound knowledgeable concerning my work group's strategy and development.

Fig: 3.1

2% of the total sample said that they are answered that they are very dissatisfied, 8% said that they were somewhat dissatisfied, 26% were not able to decide, 55%were satisfied and 9% were very satisfied.

I am kept well up to date regarding business policy and advancement.

Fig: 3.2

To this question, 43% people answered as very dissatisfied, 21% people were somewhat dissatisfied, 12% of them were undecided, 8% of them were somewhat satisfied and 16% of them were very satisfied.

Opportunities are available for me to express my ideas to senior management.

Fig: 3.3

To this question 6% of them responded as very dissatisfied, 11% responded as somewhat dissatisfied, 33% of them responded as undecided, 40% of them said that they are somewhat satisfied and 10% of them said that they are very satisfied.

There is healthy communication in my work group.

Fig: 3.4

When asked whether there is good communication in their groups, 3% of them said that they are very dissatisfied, 14% of them said that they are somewhat dissatisfied, 18% of them were undecided, 48% of them were somewhat satisfied and 17% of them were very satisfied.

There is excellent communication involving people in several departments of the firm.

Fig: 3.5

When asked whether there is good communication between people in different areas of the company, 31% of the people said the they are not very satisfied with it, 26% of them said that they are somewhat satisfied, 13% of them were not able to decide, 15% each were in the category of satisfied and very satisfied.

I am kept fine up to date by senior management on what's happening in the business.

Fig: 3.6

When asked whether the employees are kept well informed by upper management on what's going on in the company, 46% of them said that they are not been informed, 32% of them said that they are sometimes informed, 14% of them were not able to decide, 6% of them were somewhat happy that they are at times informed and 2% of them were very happy that they are always informed.

Taking into consideration of everything, how satisfied are you with the amount of quality of business communications?

Fig: 3.7

Finally asked how satisfied they are with the amount of quality of communication in the company, 18% of them said that they are not at all satisfied, 16% of them said that they are somewhat satisfied, 22% of them said that they can't decide, 24% of them said that they are somewhat satisfied and 20% of them said that they are very satisfied.


The importance of employee communications is not new. The recognition that 'we have to take the people with us' is something of which all good managers are aware. The way we actually achieve this desirable objective has also been around for a good while. There have been great strides made through technology having a greater part to play in communication process is easier. But just when we have solved the issue of rapid global communications through technology, we read that it is now too impersonal. Getting employee communication right is difficult.

Recent research has shown a variety of methods that have been used to communicate 'the organization's promises and commitments to employees'. These included:

Downward communication

It's easy to disparage downward communication. The fact that it is a one - way street means that there is little or no opportunity for adaptation or contextualizing. Nonetheless it remains a common form of information transmission. Downward communication has many advantages, some of which are:

It's a quick way of getting important information out.

If it's simple, it's an effective way of achieving a consistent message - there's less debate or interpretation.

It can add personality to the senior management team if delivered effectively.

So it's not always wrong just to have downward communication. The context for this, though, has to be right.

Upward Communication

The counterpart of downward communication is, of course, upward communication. This is an area that in most organizations is at best mediocre and at worst non - existent. And yet communication doesn't exist without a two - way flow of information. Upward communication can:

Allow employees to contribute information and ideas.

Keep management in touch with concerns, issues and questions.

Contribute to the development of a shared understanding of organizational goals.

Employee Voice

Another way is to embrace the idea of employee voice - which is gaining in importance and credibility. It is part of a whole new approach to partnership. With trade unions this is seen as a move towards relationship. It is an important concept, essential to the process of effective employee communication. An increasing body of research is building up around the whole question of employee voice, which means:

Two - way communications / exchange of views.

Upward problem - solving - by project teams and attitude surveys.

Collective representation - partnership schemes and joint consultation.

Employee engagement.

Having a say about issues.

Internal Corporate /magazine

The corporate magazine (a rather grand - sounding description of wide variety of staff journals) is a good source of employee communication. The magazine is a growing aspect of social life and despite the tabloids, self - created and high - profile publishers know that the real growth in the British reading market over the past ten years across all social groupings has actually been in magazines. The staff magazine is less about new information, more about people and issues in the news, seen as a mix of increased understanding, behind - the scenes information / education and entertainment.

The company magazine can include:

Information about individual employees - successes in the organization or in their non - company achievements.

Popular descriptions of business strategies or projects - popular is not a pejorative word here but one that recognizes that the jargon and acronyms so often used in business need translation for most people outside the immediate sphere of the project in question.

People policies and practices

Business information - profit, sales turnover and so on:

Information on pay and reward - in totality and by particular groups.

Key milestones in change programmes

Information of staff attitudes

Information on training ratios, speed and activity

Benchmarks against industry or top - performing company norms.

So various channels can be used to deliver employee communication, and developing a channel mix is a key part of the communication process.


Effective employee communication is an important feature of organization life. Employees report that they feel more satisfied when they have the information needed to be effective. Organizations that have clear, well planned and managed communication strategies tend to outperform their competitors. It is important to start from a clear understanding of the principles of effective communication. At root, communication has only taken place when the subject has received and understood the message intended by the sender. Being aware of different ways of using language between sender and receiver, and how these may create barriers in large organizations, is vital for effective employee communication.

Companies in different developmental stages and different industries can institute program that nurture and promote the pursuit of excellence in internal communication. Employee communication in many diverse companies have a common focus - providing care to employees as a way to support the growth of business in the ever - changing economy. What seems to be at the heart of these companies is the notion that employee care really means good company care. Enlightened managers know that the more relevant and timely the information they provide to employees, the more likely the employees are to be highly motivated to do a better job, to advance in their positions, and to further the goals of the organization itself.


Book References

Conrad Lashley, Darren Lee-Ross(2003)Organization behaviour for leisure services, Butterworth - Heinemann, Oxford, United Kingdom. Page No: 201

John H. McConnell(2003)How to design, implement, and interpret an employee survey, Volume 1.AMACOM, New York, USA. Page No: 6,19

Lester R. Bittel, John W. Newstrom (1992)What Every Supervisor Should Know. McGrew Hill, USA. Page No: 290

Paul Turner(2003)Organisational communication: the role of the HR professional,CIPD House, London, United Kingdom. Page No: 136-142

Paul A. Argenti, Janis Forman(2002)The power of corporate communication: crafting the voice and image of your business, McGrew Hill, USA. Page No: 155.

Rachel Barker, George Charles Angelopulo(2005) Integrated Organisational Communication, Juta & Co (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town, South Africa.  Page No: 3

Richard J. Varey, Barbara R. Lewis(2000)Internal marketing: directions for management, Routledge, London, United Kingdom. Paga No:142-144

Web References

Internal communication evolution Present + Future, available at, last accessed on 10th January 2011.

Julia Scherba de Valenzuela, Definition of communication, available at,, last accessed on 11th January 2011.

Methods of data collection, available at, last accessed on 15th January 2011.