The case for investing in employee communication at global in-house centres (GICs) has never been stronger. The 2015 Employee Communications in GICs Survey, a first such study which gauges the current scope, relevance and understanding of employee communication within GICs indicates a need to improve the level of communication satisfaction with about 30% sharing high satisfaction ratings with what they received. A GIC that works to strengthen its communication improves its ability to rally employees and get everyone to work as one team.
To put that in context, a study by Deloitte – ‘Taking global in-house centers to the next level – connect at the core’ indicates that a 24% increase in investments in information sharing could lead to a decrease of US$11,000 in operating cost per employee and a 33% investment in building common ground could lead to a decrease of US$2,133 in operating cost per employee. Likewise, a 11% increase in investments in information sharing could result in 99 more patents filed per year. Moreover, employee communication is seen as a shared services function enabling businesses to deliver more value.
The 2015 Employee Communication in GICs Survey serves to gather insights about how satisfied employees are with communication in the global in-house centres they work for. In 2014 we invited corporate communication leaders from GICs to participate and share their opinion on the state of the function. Results from the study are available online. For the 2015 study, employees from GICs were invited to share satisfaction levels within their organizations.
Communication within a GIC is unique due to the demographics, distributed teams, parent company expectations, regulatory environment and restrictions among others. While most organizations measure employee engagement in annual or bi-annual studies there is limited understanding of how employees perceive the quality and effectiveness of employee communication in such environments. Message content, channel efficiency, communication improvements are among factors that impact how employees identify with their organizations.
- The level of communication satisfaction about an employee’s job, progress, personal news, recognition were rated average
- When asked how problems reported at job were handled the satisfaction levels were below average indicating a need for quick redressal
- On the communication about the organization in general (policies and goals, financial standing, accomplishments and failures) – the level of satisfaction was higher.
- The satisfaction levels related to supervisor communication with subordinates most felt they received adequate motivation and interactions
- Respondents indicated that the organization did well in choosing people with good communication abilities and that had a positive impact on their satisfaction levels
- Furthermore, supervisors were perceived as open to new ideas and giving employees the autonomy to express their best selves
- The extent to which respondents receive information in time to do their work is low
- The satisfaction levels related to work meetings and group compatibility were moderately ranked
- About half of respondents indicated that communication helped identify and connect with their organization better
- A third of respondents found organizational communication interesting and helpful
- Supervisors indicated satisfaction with communication related to their teams basis the flow of information, responsiveness and employees ability to engage in conversations
- Supervisors also shared that they didn’t face much communication overload
Overall, the results highlight the growing importance of employee communication within global in-house centres and areas that need more focus to build trust and engagement. Two-way communication is crucial for information flow with channel efficiency and content appreciated by all levels within the organization.
What are GICs?
Global in-house centres refer to the service and delivery operations units that serve parent companies around the world to standardize processes, systems and programs and in turn save costs, improve efficacies and enhance centralized capabilities. They are often referred to as ‘captives’ or ‘shared services’.
According to NASSCOM, there are over 825 GICs in India itself, offering the entire spectrum of services – IT services, BPM, ER&D, and software products, employ over 530,000 people, and account for 17 per cent of the total export revenues in India. It is estimated that 50% of Fortune 500 firms to have GIC footprint in India by 2015. While hiring, engaging and retailing employees are important for GICs very little is understood or researched on the role of communication within these centres.
A quick call out to the students from the University of Windsor/Alliance University who helped me conduct the study: Jenny Perla, Alexandra zamfirescu and Ricky Thomas
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