Survey Points to Lack of Communication Between IT Staff and Management

Apr 6, 2000

MENLO PARK, CA -- Are you a "virtual" manager, relying on voicemail or e-mail to stay in touch with employees? If so, your staff may need more face time with you, suggests a recent nationwide survey. More than half (52 percent) of chief information officers (CIOs) polled said inadequate communication with information technology (IT) employees is a company's most common management mistake. Lack of recognition and praise ranked second, receiving 17 percent of the response.

The survey was developed by RHI Consulting, a leading specialized consulting firm that provides information technology professionals on a project and full-time basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 1,400 CIOs from a stratified random sample of U.S. companies with more than 100 employees.

CIOs were asked, "What one mistake do companies make most in managing their IT employees?" Their responses:

Lack of communication between staff and management 52%
Lack of recognition and praise 17%
Lack of flexibility in scheduling hours worked 8%
Lack of authority given to employees 7%
Lack of training, development and/or educational opportunities 3%
Other/Don't know   13%

"When communicating with employees, many companies rely on the 'trickle down effect,' hoping that key messages will somehow make their way from senior management to the staff level," said Greg Scileppi, executive director of RHI Consulting. "Apprising your team of the big picture increases motivation and allows them to develop more targeted solutions. The result is greater job satisfaction and, ultimately, reduced turnover."

Scileppi noted that while managing projects and staff remotely is often necessary in an accelerated business climate, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings. He offers these tips to open lines of communication:

  • Make time for regular dialogue. Conduct weekly informal meetings or project status checks to provide a forum for regular communication.
  • Share the 'big picture.' The more you convey the organization's vision, the more dedicated employees will be in fulfilling it.
  • Establish an open door policy. Be accessible to your team and encourage them to voice issues and concerns.
  • Empower employees. Delegate authority and allow employees greater autonomy -- and accountability -- in meeting goals. Solicit creative ideas from your staff regularly.
  • Recognize accomplishments. Bonus pay, extra vacation time and public praise are effective ways to boost morale and reward employees for outstanding work.

RHI Consulting provides firms with skilled IT professionals for projects ranging from e-commerce initiatives and multiplatform systems integration to help desk and network support. The company has locations throughout North America and Europe, and offers online job search services at

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