by Alex Palmer | June 04, 2015

Most managers are aware that communication is key to creating a successful workplace, but new research finds many have work ahead of them in putting that into action. A recent study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of consultancy Interact, finds that 91 percent of American workers feel that communication issues can create trouble for organizations -- and that failing to recognize employee achievements is the top communication failure on the job.

According to the report, which drew on the responses of 1,000 American workers, 63 percent of respondents see "not recognizing employee achievements" as a communication issue preventing manager effectiveness -- the issue receiving the highest level of response. This was followed by not giving clear instructions (57 percent), not having time to meet with workers (52 percent), and refusing to talk to subordinates (51 percent).
"Effective leaders know productivity is tied to communication," Lou Solomon, CEO and founder of Interact, told Incentive. "They accept responsibility for being a lightning rod for trust -- and they don't leave it up to someone else." 

She added that leaders also have a keen eye for opportunities to engage workers and take those opportunities, as opposed to executives who too often "are overwhelmed with their own agenda and forget one of the most important roles they play, which is encouraging performance through inclusion, recognition, clear directions, meaningful interaction and feedback." She calls these efforts "the nerve center of a great company."

Solomon laid out six ways effective managers provide this sort of recognition to employees: 

• Tell workers what they are doing well

• Thank workers in public and private

• Ask employees for their input

• Explain to them what is going on in the organization and how it may impact them

• Provide feedback beyond the standard performance review

• Describe a time the manager him- or herself made a mistake

Solomon also recommended rewards based on peer nominations, which she says are "the best way to uncover the folks who are doing a great job at communicating. If the entire team sets up the criteria for the recognition and then operates on some sort of peer-to-peer point collection, leaders who communicate well will surface."