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‘Bahrain managers poor in communicating’

Manama, May 13, 2008

A new study has revealed that managers in Bahrain are not as good as they think they are at communicating their organisation’s business objectives to their employees.

The findings are published in Middle East Corporate Reputation Watch 2008 – Getting the Message Across, a survey of more than 500 managers and employees in the GCC conducted by leading communications consultancy Hill & Knowlton, using YouGov Siraj.

The study found that while 90 per cent of Bahrain managers believe they make a point of explaining their organisation’s strategic objectives to staff, only 44 per cent of employees in Bahrain feel that these objectives are properly explained to them. 

Only 54 per cent of employees believe that their direct manager helps them to understand how their job connects to their company’s business objectives.

Two-fifths (39 per cent) of employees surveyed in Bahrain do not feel that they receive the information they need to do their job well while 41 per cent do not feel valued for the contribution they make.

While 95 per cent of employees would like to develop their skills and advance professionally in their job, only 41 per cent feel that the way to do this been properly explained to them.

“The Bahrain findings are broadly consistent with the results in other GCC States. They suggest that, although managers in Bahrain understand the importance of communicating with employees, many of them are failing to get the message across,” said director of change and organisational communications, Hill & Knowlton Middle East, Fran McElwaine.

 “This is a vitally important issue for corporate managers in this region. Companies are under pressure to lift productivity and it is becoming harder to attract and retain top talent. The ability to engage employees and align them with a company’s strategic objectives is a key to better motivation, productivity and staff retention.

“International research suggests that highly engaged employees try 57 per cent harder, perform 20 per cent better and are 87 per cent less likely to leave than the less engaged employees identified in the Hill & Knowlton study,” McElwaine added.

Many employees in Bahrain also believe that their managers are simply not listening to them. Most managers (88 per cent) agree with using staff feedback when making decisions.

However, only 31 per cent of employees believe that their manager usually acts on employee feedback. In fact, Bahrain employees are less likely that those anywhere else in the GCC to believe that their manager acts on employee feedback.

A possible reason for the disconnect between managers and employees may be that many managers do not feel empowered to communicate, or even make, decisions.
Fifty-eight per cent of Bahrain managers believe that making decisions increases the chances of being blamed if something goes wrong.

Thirty-six per cent admit to following decisions made by others without fully thinking through the consequences. A third (33 per cent) of managers believe that keeping a low profile at work will help ensure their position is safe.

The lack of effective communication by managers has led many employees to look elsewhere for the information they need. Only 44 per cent of Bahrain employees think their manager is very useful for obtaining important information, while 39 per cent rely on external media and friends for information about their job.

Managers themselves admit that the responsibility for communicating with employees is often pushed off to specialised departments such as Marketing (15 per cent), Human Resources (28 per cent) or Internal Communications (28 per cent).

Twenty per cent of Bahrain managers say they don’t know who is responsible for internal communications in their company. Twenty-three per cent of managers believe it is not necessary for staff members to understand how t


Tags: Communication | study | Managers |

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