Improve Communications to Drive Growth
By Becca Davis | director of practice growth | Rea & Associates, Inc. | [email protected] |
As marketers, we’re all well aware of the ways to drive revenue and growth to our firms. But as you spend your days feverishly getting your message out to the right audience, at the right time, through the right medium – did you know that about 25 percent of the revenue you work so hard to win could be slipping right through your fingers?
It’s true. If the leaders within your firm aren’t communicating directly, openly, consistently and intentionally with their teams, engagement could suffer. And if your employees aren’t engaged, your firm’s revenue is at risk.
Internal communications is one of those gray areas: is it HR? Is it marketing? Is it firm operations? Truth be told, it’s a little bit of everything. But if no one has taken ownership of it at your firm, it may be up to you to make it a priority. Here’s why.
Simply put, internal communication has a direct impact on employee engagement, which has a direct impact on your firm’s revenue, client satisfaction and the bottom line.
Why Engagement Matters
Research shows that as many as seven out of 10 people are disengaged at work, and companies lose between 20 and 25 percent of their revenue each year due to disengaged employees. Further, 68 percent of employees experience difficulty communicating between team members, and 40 percent of the work week is lost to communication inefficiencies.
For a firm the size of mine, that means that 168 of our employees could be disengaged, and 114 of them might struggle to communicate within their teams. Nearly 3,800 of the 9,400 hours worked per week by full-time employees may be lost to communication inefficiencies, and as much as $8.5 million in revenue each year goes right down the drain. (And believe me, when we presented those figures to firm leadership, they paid attention.)
On the other hand, companies with an engaged workforce have a 10 percent higher customer satisfaction rate and are 22 percent more profitable than businesses with low engagement rates.
How Communication Affects Engagement
Research shows that the single largest driver of employee engagement is the strength of communication between employers and supervisors. But to see an impact, this must go from the top-down, the bottom-up and across different groups within the firm.
Your employees must feel a sense of connection to your firm’s vision and purpose. They must feel like their efforts mean something. And they must feel like they have a voice.
Where To Start
A solid internal communications strategy should focus on carefully listening to conversations happening throughout the firm and picking out the pieces of information that are important, who needs to know about it, who should communicate it and how.
If your firm can’t support a full-time internal communications position to take this on, consider building a communications framework for your firm leadership to follow. Spell out the types of messages that your CEO, finance team, segment leaders, office managers and department heads should communicate regularly. Encourage your CEO to do a short monthly update video. Create a standard agenda for all office meetings. Hold focus groups to gather feedback from members in your firm.
The key is to start somewhere. Tell firm leadership how communication affects engagement and engagement affects the bottom line. If you can open the lines of communications in all directions, you’ll be helping to create more engaged employees, more satisfied clients and a more profitable firm.
About Becca Davis
Welcome to CPA Growth Trends — your source for information, insights, tools and best practices to drive growth within an accounting firm.
with Danielle Reynolds, Business Development, Manager with Whitley Penn
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