Clear communication is hard work – even for communications professionals. Our company has always skewed in the direction of over-communication. We have weekly staff meetings, biweekly practice group meetings and daily team meetings. We set financial and operating goals collectively, as a company, and provide regular updates throughout the year.
Sometimes, open communication feels thankless. It takes time to keep everyone in the loop. But the alternative, as Karen Berman and Joe Knight report in The Wall Street Journal, can be costly and de-motivating. In their recent article, titled “What Your Employees Don’t Know Will Hurt You,” Berman and Knight note:
“Many, if not most, companies refuse to share much financial data with any employee other than top executives. The unfortunate message this sends to anyone outside the loop: We’ll tell you what you need to know. Period. Yet when employees don’t see financial data, they don’t know critical facts….Without such information, people can’t make good decisions in their daily work.”
Here are five data points that most BlissPR professionals find helpful:
- YTD earnings (actual vs. goal, current year vs. previous year)
- YTD profitability (actual vs. goal, current year vs. previous year)
- Realization rates (time per account as a percentage of revenue billed). Realization rates provide directional information about account profitability and resource allocation
- Account profitability. Profitability rates are based on the actual revenues and costs (salaries, benefits, fixed costs, variable costs) associated with each client account. They are therefore the best measure we have of financial contribution
- Source of revenue growth/loss (where are wins and losses coming from? – New business? Existing relationships?)
Open financial communication requires trust. It also requires patience. But the payoff is worth it. “Nearly every company…wants its employees to be engaged in the business,” Berman and Knight assert. “They want everyone to think like a CEO and to make smart decisions.”
When I joined BlissPR 18 years ago, our founder, John Bliss, told me that he wanted every professional to “think like an owner.” Nearly two decades later, our core business has evolved but our philosophy remains the same. Share information. Empower employees. Create accountability through an ownership mindset.
What data does your organization share?
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