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New Research from Grammarly and Harris Poll Estimates U.S. Businesses Lose $1.2 Trillion Annually to Poor Communication
Contributed Article by Grammarly
Grammarly’s new report “State of Business Communication: The
Backbone of Business Is Broken” the far-reaching impacts of poor workplace
communication on U.S. businesses and employees. In partnership with The Harris
Poll, the study estimates up to a $1.2 trillion annual loss among businesses
due to ineffective communication.
Effective communication with teams, customers, and
stakeholders is pivotal as the hybrid workplace continues to evolve business
demands. Among respondents, nearly 75% of business leaders say their team
struggled with communicating effectively over the last year, and most business
leaders (82%) and employees (59%) are concerned about effective communication
with remote or hybrid working models in the future. Leaders estimate teams lose
the equivalent of almost an entire workday (7.47 hours) each week to poor
communication—or approximately $12,506 per employee every year.
“Poor communication permeates the workplace—we all know that
intuitively. This research finally puts a number on how massively it’s costing
businesses,” said Dorian Stone, Grammarly Head of Organizations Revenue who
leads the company’s enterprise offering, Grammarly Business. “Businesses must
stop ignoring the impact of poor communication and commit to making
communication a competitive advantage to move faster, be more efficient, and do
better for customers and employees. It’s time for a reckoning of how we
communicate in the digital workplace and empower teams to be successful.”
By exploring communication trends, challenges, preferences,
and tools, the survey of U.S. business leaders and knowledge workers highlights
why success in a hybrid landscape hinges on improving communication. Additional
top-line findings include:
- 96% of business leaders agree that effective communication
is essential for delivering the business results expected of their team in the
coming year, but nearly three in four (74%) say their company underestimates
the cost of poor communication.
- Employees spend nearly half of a 40-hour workweek on written
communication alone (19.93 hours), and business leaders (88%) and employees
(63%) alike wish their company had better tools to communicate effectively.
- Three in four business leaders (75%) say they spend too much
time and energy resolving miscommunications, and those that grew revenue in the
last year are more likely to say their team communicates effectively (92%, vs.
81% whose revenue declined or did not change).
Overcome bad communication to achieve growth and
profitability: Nearly all business leaders (93%) acknowledge that effective
communication is the backbone of business, but the new study reveals the
widespread effects of poor communication on business results. Over nine in 10
business leaders say poor communication impacts productivity, growth, and
morale, contributing to increased costs, missed or extended deadlines, and
reputational erosion. One in five leaders even lost business or deals due to
Evolve the employee experience with better communication: Amid
the Great Resignation and rising workforce expectations, most business leaders
(57%) cite employee satisfaction and retention as a top priority for the coming
year—ahead of customer satisfaction and team productivity. But the vast
majority of employees (86%) experience communication issues at work, and they
cite increased stress as the top impact. The study also links communication
with turnover: business leaders reporting higher employee retention were more
likely to have better communication.
Revisit lagging technology to underpin the digital
workplace: Written communication occupies a significant part of employees’
workdays; over half (57%) say they communicate in a written format a majority
of the time, and email remains the most popular and preferred method. But
business leaders and employees cite the need for tools to make communication
easier. Teams may also be collaborating more than leaders realize: they
estimate their team spends 29% of the time working with others when employees
say it’s nearly half of their time (49%).
For more findings and insights on the state of workplace
communication across industries, download the full report, “The
State of Business Communication: The Backbone of Business Is Broken.”
The findings are based on a survey conducted online byThe Harris Poll from October 1–28, 2021
among 1,001 knowledge workers and 251 business leaders in the U.S. Respondents
include employees working full-time at corporations with 150 employees or more
and represent a diverse mix of industries and job functions. The online survey
is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no estimate of theoretical
sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, download
the full report.