Slack's State of Work survey finds communications gap between aligned and unaligned workers

Enterprises need to communicate the corporate strategy at least once a month to keep employees engaged, according to a Slack survey.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

A survey by Slack found that meetings have diminishing returns, companies need to outline strategy once a month and there's a race to keep employees aligned with goals.

Slack's State of Work report is based on a survey of 17,000 knowledge workers ages 16 to 64 across multiple industries, locations and titles. Slack also followed up the data with interviews of economists, workplace psychologists and respondents for context.

The survey, conducted by Slack and GlobalWebIndex, found that workers wanted a connection to their organization's strategic vision and communication about the strategy. People who had monthly communication about strategy felt more engaged. Unaligned workers from the corporate strategy didn't hear the company discuss strategic goals and suffered with poor morale and less communication.

Now Slack's report is partly designed to get enterprises on the collaboration bandwagon and consolidate their software footprint, but it has some notable nuggets to ponder. Slack's report highlights multiple disconnects that could be solved by technology but often need cultural changes. Figures to know:

  • When workers understand their company's strategy 84% felt aligned and 88% said they know how their day-to-day work contributes to goals.
  • When workers don't understand their company's strategy 22% felt aligned with the vision and 33% knew how their work contributes to it.
  • 75% of aligned workers said they felt empowered to make strategic decisions or to pursue new business opportunities, but only 22% of unaligned workers did.
  • 75% of aligned workers that understood the company strategy said collaboration was good or excellent, but only 37% of unaligned employees did.
  • Most workers--61%--were in the middle of the alignment pack and were agnostic or somewhat aligned.
  • Technology and communications had the most aligned workers at 90% with healthcare at 79% having the least.
  • Aligned workers are nearly twice as likely as unaligned workers to predict significant workforce and revenue growth.
  • Unaligned workers are 12 times as likely as aligned workers to rate employee morale and satisfaction as very poor.
  • 63% of knowledge workers who communicate hourly with colleagues feel aligned compared to 45% for those who communicate once a day.
  • 4 meetings a day is the alignment sweet spot for both management and non-management employees.
  • 90% of executive management understand the company strategy and that percentage holds from senior management to management, but then declines to 77% for general staff.
  • Most aligned workers lose 130 hours each year switching between applications.
  • The top cultural challenge was collaborating with people across time zones followed by using more than six apps a day, receiving more than 25 emails daily and working with different people and teams.


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