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UK Boards missing out on staff ideas

UK Boards missing out on staff ideas

UK boards are missing out on valuable staff ideas, reducing their profitability and increasing staff churn – at a typical cost of  £943 per employee, per year - simply because they don’t talk to and listen to staff enough. 


The finds have been made in, 'The Human Touch', a research project from Crystal Interactive. It shows that while boards are adept at dealing with the City and commercial partners, over half (55 per cent) struggle to get their staff communication right and 47 per cent are poor or very poor at communicating with their most junior employees.  Furthermore 95 per cent of the103 senior managers and directors studied said staff ideas and opinions are not always valued.


The research highlights the commercial costs of this poor communication. Organisations that are better at internal communications are far more likely to get new ideas from staff – 90 per cent of the best communicators’ ideas come from staff compared with the average of just 20 per cent. 


Feeling part of a team, a by-product of good internal communications, comes ahead of pay, bonuses and flexible working in terms of its impact on employee morale. However, boards are twice as good at dealing with external audiences as internal ones, and at least five times better at dealing with investors, stakeholders and partners than employees.


Director of Crystal Interactive, Chris Elmitt says, “Organisations spent £17 billion on R&D in 2005, who’s to say that money was focused on the best ideas, if over half of companies offered no formal opportunity for new ideas to be fed through? It’s madness that companies worry about huge churn costs, go to enormous lengths looking for even modest improvements in margin, and spend time debating flexible working – yet some boards still haven’t mastered how to simply interact with staff.”


The study suggests that 79% of senior teams make important announcements via email, 65% also rely on managers to disseminate news and 2% admit to texting staff with vital announcements.  Events are favoured by 58% as a way to break important news, yet despite these being an opportunity for direct interaction, they typically allow staff only 20 minutes of Q&A time.


Just 18% of senior managers interviewed say the communication between them and the board is very good and only 37% can put their ideas and questions to the board at events, according to Crystal Interactive, which specialises in building interactivity into events.


A full copy of the report is available from

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