In a survey of more than 16,000 UK professionals and employers, Hays found that clear communication from leaders is lacking.
One of the most critical requirements for business continuity and employee wellbeing during the Covid-19 pandemic has been robust communication. But in a new Hays survey of more than 16,000 professionals in the UK, almost half said that communication is the area that leadership needs to improve on most during the ongoing crisis.
This was deemed more important than strategy and planning, which was identified by 23pc of respondents, and remote management, identified by 13pc.
More than half (51pc) said their leadership’s response to the coronavirus outbreak so far has been excellent or good. But 49pc rated their leadership’s response as OK to poor.
The survey was carried out by Hays in April and May, receiving responses from 16,228 UK professionals and employers.
‘Concerningly low levels’ of communication
Based on these figures, the recruitment and HR agency said that “workplace communication is at concerningly low levels”.
Two-in-five (40pc) said communication is the aspect of their organisation that has undergone the most change since the start of the pandemic. However, one-third of respondents said they currently have contact with their managers less than once a week, and just 29pc speak to their manager every day.
More than one-third said that the amount of contact they now have with their manager is less than before UK government restrictions were put in place in response to the pandemic.
These changes are impacting workplace relationships, Hays said, with 20pc of employers saying that their teams had become more distant during Covid-19.
Simon Winfield, managing director of Hays UK & Ireland, commented: “Clear, effective and timely communication from leaders to their staff is even more important in a crisis, and it is clear professionals believe there is vast room for improvement.
“There’s no doubt that the swift exit from office settings and changing guidance made it difficult for leaders to communicate effectively but as many plan for a slower transition back to the workplace, leaders now have an opportunity to make an impact and drive engagement from their teams.
“Employers should ensure they update their team regularly on their plans to mitigate any uncertainty or anxiety their staff have. They should also consider bolstering support networks by facilitating conversations between staff and scheduling social events over video calls.”