Ground-breaking research into the internal communications landscape in South Africa delivers much-needed data to help frame employee engagement strategies.
Earlier this year New Media partnered with insights consultancy WhyFive, powered by BrandMapp, SA’s largest independent annual survey of economically active South African adults. The study unpacked the state of internal communications by asking key questions that internal communicators are grappling with.
The key findings were extensive and revealed that South Africans actually love their jobs. 69% of the respondents said they were ‘quite happy’ or indeed, ‘love their work’.
The survey also showed a direct link between South Africans’ job satisfaction and good internal communications. Of the respondents who ‘love their work’, 45% said their company communicated ‘extremely well’ or ‘quite well’. On the flip side, of those respondents who said they were ‘miserable’ in their jobs, 36% felt their employers were bad communicators (compared to only 9% who felt their employers communicated well).
What makes this important is the proven link between job satisfaction and productivity. A 2015 study by Mental Health America estimated that disengaged employees cost up to US$500-billion a year in productivity losses. The study showed that the biggest reason employees became disengaged was a lack of trust, and one of the key tools for building trust amongst employees is open and engaging communication.
The understanding of the importance of effective communications with employees is on the rise internationally, with a growing body of research clearly indicating how the function is mission critical to the long-term success of organisations.
“There has been very little data that shows how South Africans feel about their company’s communication, which platforms they prefer to engage with and what their main topics of interest are,” says Brendan Cooper, head of Internal Communications at New Media.
“We recognised the need for more quantitative data to help guide the conversation,” explains Cooper.
“The sample group of close to 30 000 respondents has given us an accurate overview of the internal comms landscape in South Africa – we believe this will be invaluable to businesses looking to devise (or revise) their employee engagement communications strategies.”
New Media has published their findings in an easy-to-digest white paper available for download on their website, with additional information about specific industry sectors available on request.