Go to content

Management Report

Management reports, briefs and video-clips issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

Emotional Communication

Emotional Communication


Nov. 19, 2010


Welcome to our video program. I’m Jun-Ho Chae, Research Fellow from the HR department.

One of the biggest issues in the business world is communication. In fact, the way people communicate within an organization has been evolving continuously. Top-down communication was common in the past to enhance work efficiency, but interactive and horizontal communication has taken hold that involves all employees and non-work related matters.

In emphasizing the importance of communication within a company, Peter Drucker once noted that 60% of all management problems are the result of poor communication.

Then how do we improve the way we interact with others? Today, I’d like to share my thoughts about “emotional communication” that makes employees happier.

Emotional communication can be defined as the communication which prioritizes mutual understanding, personal interaction and relations between individuals. It is about creating an environment where all members care for each other.

The trust and confidence employees build through emotional communication contributes to stabilizing an organization, thereby improving the company’s competitiveness.

Depending on who communicates with who, emotional communication can be divided into three types: communication between employees, employees and managers, and between a company and employees’ families.

First, communication between employees.

This makes members of an organization feel united and proud of the organization based on mutual understanding and consideration. Now it is commonplace for employees to interact with each other via their company’s intranet or through social media. Let’s take IBM for instance. The company launched its “Beehive” service to help connect employees who share interests and professional knowledge.

Softbank also noticed the importance of communication and has introduced Peer Support systems that facilitate counseling among peers. The company has selected employees who studied psychology or worked as a therapist and instructed them to listen to their peers and help them manage stress. One good thing about the system is that employees can more easily open up to their peers than they do to therapists, and peer supporters are well aware of what is going on in the organization, thereby providing more useable advice.

Second, emotional communication between employees and managers.

This is about communicating with each other thru unofficial and open communication channels or a specific complaint handling channel.

It is crucial to listen to each other as equal colleagues, not as bosses and subordinates.

Google holds a party called TGIF on every Friday at its company cafeteria to facilitate active interaction between the CEO and employees.

In this type of emotional communication, what matters is to promptly fix complaints or problems individual employees have. To do that, IBM, for example, has adopted a policy called “Open Door” to allow an employee to report a complaint to someone higher in the hierarchy than his or her boss, when the boss cannot fix it.

Lastly, communication between a company and employees’ families.

This is about a company stepping in to solve problems employees have regarding education for their children or family health. More companies are now trying to improve work-family balance and work on family-friendly HR. This, in turn, enhances employee satisfaction and productivity.

Samsung Total, for instance, has introduced its “Hompany” concept which combines home and company, based on its motto that a company can grow when employees are happy. Helped by 10 operation committees run by mothers, the company has launched a center for education and cultural activities for employees’ families. Study rooms and counseling by employees with Masters or Ph.D. degrees is provided for children. IT education is also provided for employees’ children and spouses.

This shows that the “Homepany” policy really pays off, demonstrating an exemplary case of industrial relations. The policy is more than just about providing welfare and indeed contributes to creating a stable organization culture based on active communication and mutual trust.

So far we have looked at what emotional communication is.

Companies can grow on a sustainable basis when emotional communication comes ahead of work related communication. CEOs and executives can truly connect to their employees only when they accept them as colleagues and friends.

Thank you for watching. I’m Jun-Ho Chae.

Go to list