#142 Bad communication costs your company $21B a week!

Blog header #142 Bad communication costs your company $21B a week!  - Building a modern, magnetic employer brand podcast with Susanna Rantanen

Bad communication costs your company $21B a week.

That’s right.

According to a recent study by Loom, a video app company, bad communication costs your company a whopping $21B a week.

Communication is a funny thing. Just because we learn to speak as kids don’t automatically make us good communicators. 

Many people aspire to be great communicators. I do too. That’s why I’ve spent tens of thousands of hours learning communication techniques for writing and speaking.

Why are too many employers not meeting expectations when it comes to communication? And how that bad communication is costing fortunes to your company. Every single week!

In today’s Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast episodewe talk about communication. And not just any communication but bad communication.

Listen to this podcast on your favourite podcast app

Subscribe to this podcast on your favourite app, and you’ll never miss a new episode!

Better yet, if you love this podcast, make sure you rate it on your favourite podcast app!


Bad communication is costing your company $21B a week

Last week I received an email from Loom Marketing.

The subject line stated: Bad communication is costing your company $21B a week.

I immediately clicked the email open because even though I know what all bad communication does, I never saw anyone put a price on it.

This is how Loom Marketing came up with the number.

“The average worker spends 3 hours and 43 minutes a day communicating — a whopping 252M combined hours every single day. That much talk time is costing businesses over $21B per week.* Communication is essential to productivity, but balancing it with focused execution time is key.”

What Loom report is saying is: There is too much time spent talking.

”Between emails, instant messages, video conferences and phone calls, workers in America report spending so much time communicating about work; they’re struggling actually to get work done.”

Communication is something we all do daily

Based on the Loom report, 31% of employees struggle to find time to work because of constant interruptions from “a dizzying number of tools.”

85% of employees send the same information and messages multiple times or in multiple places at least weekly.

68% do so every day!

“The reasons for redundancy vary: Some workers who double up on messages do so to create a trail of accountability (51%), some want to make sure their message is visible to more people (50%), and others say it’s to make sure they accommodate the recipient’s preference (38%).”

The true cost of poor communication in the workplace

I talk a lot about why good communication matters and how to be a great communicator.

But I’ve never spoken about the costs of poor communication.

In the workplace.

I read an article on Forbes about the true cost of poor communication, and it said:

While we see the benefits of good communication, we generally think about poor communication as a momentary setback.

We fail to see the ways in which poor communication costs us personally over the long term, in a loss of credibility and a drag on advancement.

As individuals, poor communication essentially equals an inability to communicate our value to the team — and a loss of value could mean the loss of a job.

Company leadership often fail to see how poor communication hinders the organization as a whole. Collectively, poor communication can disrupt business on a fundamental level.”

The true cost of poor communication goes beyond a weekly cost.

Regardless of your role, becoming better in communication will help you to get your point across, convince others of your ideas, achieve your goals and get the results you seek.

Professionally and personally.

5 key areas where the cost of poor communication is most often seen

#1 Lack of Focus

In workplaces where good communication is not a priority, meetings are inefficient and ineffective.

We all have experience of meetings lacking an agenda, a purpose and goals. w

Where time is spent on random discussions that do not get us anywhere.

No one is holding us accountable for action afterwards.

When little gets accomplished over an hour’s meeting, more meetings get booked. 

Workplaces that opt for inclusivity open meeting doors for every employee. When you attend a meeting with little to do with your tasks and deadlines, your work days become longer, yet you achieve less.

The more you have to attend meetings that do not add value to your daily goals and objectives, the more overbooked and overworked you get.

#2 Failure of purpose

According to the Forbes article, the inability to communicate well daily is a symptom of larger communication disruption. If a company can’t communicate its vision and purpose, it has effectively lost them.

#3 Lack of innovation and progress

Imagine you are in a meeting where a team or manager presents a new product, service, process or even a new strategy. 

This innovation requires you to change some of your work ways and mess up the routines you are used to for a while until you adapt to the change.

All you hear is more work and more stress.

What you don’t hear is the why. So, you check out.

The inability to cast the vision, communicate the benefits of change and explain what happens if we don’t make this change is the only way to get people on board with the expected change.

When no one in the room understands what you are talking about and why they should care, whatever you are talking about will be discarded. 

When you multiply the same effect across the organisation from meeting to meeting, a company stagnates. Nothing will effectively move forward because the audience doesn’t understand why.

Humans are by nature anti-change because change is risky. 

So many changes are taking place in the world, and have done for years and years.

Everyone working in a position where you must convince others to follow, adopt, and say yes, you must learn how to become a great communicator.

#4 Drop in work morale

Needless to say, sitting in lots of meetings, flooded with random talk, thoughts, ideas, suggestions and expectations can kill your motivation.

Having little time to do your work and feel the important sense of accomplishment can turn into overwork and stress.

People burn out.

People lose the joy of work.

They try to chase productivity but never quite catch it.

Their bosses evaluate their work as not quite meeting expectations.

You could always be better,” they say.

Work morale goes underground.

And my friend, that is not trendy!

People leave the company. 

#5 Loss of credibility

The company can lose its credibility, but so can you as an individual.

Did you know that your ability to express yourself confidently and persuasively directly affects your ability to reach your goals? To get results and make results for others.

Whether you represent the company or yourself, your ability to state your point clearly is key.

Knowing how to inspire your audience and get them to take the action you suggest, recommend, or boldly ask has an immediate effect on your professional or business metrics.

Without the ability to effectively communicate and persuade your audience everything from sales to talent acquisition to business growth to even stock price will decline.

Why is bad communication so common?

The Loom Marketing Report sums this up so well:

A decade ago, the pace of comms was slower, and the channels were fewer.

Today, employees need to master a whole suite of tools just to talk to one another.

Not to mention the ability to think and move quickly.

And the skill to convey nuanced ideas, often without the benefit of in-person nonverbal cues. 

While technology has opened amazing new ways to collaborate with teams around the world, it’s also created a Communication Gap, an overload of apps and messages that are causing communication pitfalls and wrecking productivity.”

Furthermore, many organisations are operating internationally where communication takes place in a language that is foreign to most participants.

If communicating well in your mother tongue is difficult, can it be automatically better in a foreign language?

Of course not!

Why fixing the communication problem is key to work life, leadership, innovation, success and our mental health?

Workplaces are not doing much to clear up miscommunication or help leaders and other employees learn how to become better communicators.

When in fact, they clearly should.

Daniel Pink, a best-selling author, talks a lot about persuasive communication in the workplace, especially in connection with sales.

He tells us everybody sells at the workplace. 

According to him, 40% of our time at work is spent on influencing, convincing and persuading others to our ideas. 

Do you know how much 40% of our working time is?

That’s 24 minutes of every single hour at work!

We all spend almost half of our working time trying to persuade others!

Knowing how to communicate well starts to sound like a pretty elementary skill for every single employee in the organization, doesn’t it?

When we take this back to the cost of bad communication.

That is $21B a day, according to Loom’s report.  

And we consider that half of our working time is spent communicating to persuade others.

Don’t you agree that employers should start investing in their people’s abilities to communicate better?

If only to stop wasting working hours in endless meetings where people switch off the minute they walk in and sit on that chair back of the room.

Or keep their Teams video turned off so they can do something else while they pretend to listen to your meeting.

What a waste of time for everyone!

A working time that you have to make up later.

What better communication skills deliver to you and the workplace

Let me wrap up this episode with some clear examples of what we do better when we have better communication skills. I have more, but I’m going to give you three solid examples.

#1 Better leadership – in teams, divisions and the business

Employees look for their leaders for clarity and direction.

Management that cannot clearly communicate the why and where lacks leadership abilities.

And if the management lacks leadership abilities, what happens to the growth of the company?

#2 Clear goals and clarity of expectations for all employees

You can’t imagine how common it is to hire people and not communicate clearly what is expected of them!

Managers may communicate the expectations for after the employees have been onboarded, but those can easily seem unreachable when you start as a new employee and need time to learn the ropes first.

In the Instant Employer Brand Accelerator™️ coaching program, we teach our students how to discuss and implement goals for new employees already for the first 6 and 12 months of employment.

And how to communicate those goals in the recruitment marketing phase already. 

This brings incredible clarity for job seekers and helps them understand what my first year will look like in this company.

If you want to learn how to implement this in your organisation, contact me about the Instant Employer Branding Accelerator™️ coaching program.

#3 Better abilities to give and receive feedback and collaborate in a more successful way

We all want feedback. Not just employees, but managers and leaders too.

We all want to hear whether our people are satisfied and empowered by our collaboration regardless of our roles.

I have had such incredible employees through my years as an entrepreneur who have always given me feedback too.

And not just development points or what they wish I do better, but also feedback on what inspires them in my work and behaviour or what I do well. 

And I have always thanked them wholeheartedly because I too crave feedback.

When we are better communicators, we become better at gracing people, thanking them for their good deeds and work.

But what’s more, we also become better at talking about pain points and challenges, what we struggle with, and our expectations and wishes.

In fact, better communication skills help as collaborate in a more successful ways because we learn to persuade others in good ways to follow, accept, adhere, collaborate, join, listen, pay attention to, find out, take on. And so on.

I’ve spoken about how to become a great communicator many times. 

In fact, I’ll link some great previous episodes for you to check out if you want to start becoming a great communicator!

In episode 82, I spoke about getting your key message right in whatever you must get through to your audience.

In episode 87, I spoke about persuasive communication. What are persuasive communication skills, and why do they matter?

Becoming a great communicator doesn’t require becoming a super human

With this episode, I also want to say, becoming a great communicator doesn’t mean you cannot be a human and have bad days and sometimes fail in communication. 

But we should know how to be great communicators and opt to communicate well at most times.

Simply because when we all communicate better, we stop wasting time. And time is money.

We stop burning each other out and can become more efficient in our ways of work, collaboration and preserving our brains from unclear messages and expectations.

Regardless of your role, becoming a good communicator should be your goal.

If you want to learn how to become a great communicator, contact me! I coach communication in connection with marketing and branding in the context of work life.

If you need better communication skills as a recruiting professional, coach, manager, entrepreneur, or team leader, contact me at susanna @ emine.fi.

Ok, that’s all for this week, my friends! 


You might also like these ones:


Other posts