Communication Gap Between IT Staff & Management

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 CIOs polled said inadequate communication with 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 and was conducted by an independent research firm. It 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 were:

Lack of communication between staff and management


Lack of recognition and praise


Lack of flexibility in scheduling hours worked


Lack of authority given to employees


Lack of training, development and/or educational opportunities


Other/Don't know



"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," says 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 notes 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.

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