One-third (33 percent) of executives are not confident that their employees could accurately communicate the company’s business strategy to others and only 19 percent were very confident that their employees could do so, according to Zeno Group’s “Barriers to Employee Engagement” Study, conducted by Harris Poll among more than 300 executives at firms with revenues of $1 billion or more.

At the same time, in Zeno’s related survey of 1,000 Americans, a majority (57 percent) reported they “would perform better at their jobs if they better understood the company’s direction.”

The survey findings also suggest that employees may be taking their disengaged attitudes home with them. Only 21 percent of executives say that they are very confident their employees talk positively about their company to their friends and family.

“The annual statistics we see on employee engagement—or disengagement—should serve as an alarm bell for management and communicators alike,” said Mark Shadle, managing director of Zeno’s corporate practice. “The results suggest companies should make their strategy understandable to all employees and give them the opportunity to be believers, supporters and ambassadors.”

The frequency of enterprise-wide communications may be an issue worth attention, the agency says. When asked how often the company’s CEO communicates directly—either in-person, via teleconference or email—to all of their employees, the greatest proportion of executives (43 percent) report that quarterly communications are the norm.

But executives of large firms posted the lowest confidence in employees’ ability to communicate the business strategy to others (59 percent whose companies have 10,000+ employees vs. 78 percent whose companies have less than 10,000 employees) and were also less confident in their employees speaking favorably about the company to family and friends (72 percent vs. 89 percent, respectively).