Companies like yours spend a lot of time and money on developing compensation and benefits programs that will attract and retain talented, hard-working employees.

But the most comprehensive benefits program isn't worth the effort if employees don't understand what they receive and how best to use their benefits. And the most carefully designed compensation program (with base salary, incentive pay/bonuses) won't give you the desired return on investment if employees don't know what they're supposed to do to earn great money.

That's why these new survey results are so sobering. While my firm has conducted extensive research with employees at specific companies, we wanted to step back and look at the big picture: how employees across the United States experience HR communication.

So we commissioned a survey of 1,000 employees who work at companies with more than 5,000 workers.

The results: Most employees say HR communication doesn't prepare them to make smart decisions about pay, benefits and performance management.

There is good news: Employees care about HR communication and pay attention to it--nearly 100 say they spend time with communication they receive.

But only 30% of employees are happy with communication they receive (50% are indifferent). More importantly, less than 25% of employees feel communication gives them the knowledge they need to make decisions or take action.

Luckily, the remedy is simple: Change the way you communicate. Most HR communication is too complex and comprehensive--companies insist on giving employees a full banquet of information, when all they want is a snack.

In this blog (and elsewhere), I've provided extensive advice about how to communicate pay, benefits and other HR issues to get employees' attention and help them truly understand a topic.

Need a reminder? Here are the 4 essentials of how to communicate more effectively: