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Is communication an answer to insecurity?

View profile for Phil Cookson
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The results of a survey conducted by Peninsula and analysis of statistics by Citizens Advice have highlighted two issues which will be of concern for employers.

Citizens Advice analysed statistics produced by the Office of National Statistics which suggest that one in six employees are in “insecure” work.  Whilst the definition of “insecure” may be open to interpretation, the statistics refer to the use of temporary contracts or contracts with varying shift patterns and zero hours contracts.

Separately, the survey of employees revealed that “communication” is a reason why almost half of employees want to leave their job.  Issues including being left out of key decisions, failing to provide clear objectives and not having a “voice” were cited by employees as problems caused by poor communication from employers.

Whilst the two reports were not connected but having read both I did consider whether “good” communication might in some way combat what might be perceived to be “insecurity” caused by variable contracts of employment, including zero hours contracts.  I say this as the contracts perceived by some to be insecure are not likely to disappear from the employment landscape; many employees report the positive benefits of such contracts (as well as employers) and on 8th June 2016 David Cameron confirmed, in the midst of the BIS committee questioning Sports Direct, that zero hours contracts would not be banned.

It is perhaps an obvious point that communication with employees is part of good employment relations.  However, in my experience it is something all too often overlooked by employers or perhaps not taken seriously by some.  It is of course a reality that employers of all sizes have many pressing issues to deal with in running their businesses, most of which would have an immediate impact if not addressed but poor communication with staff is likely to lead to long term problems which may, in the long run, be more time consuming and expensive to address.

How good is your communication with staff?