For companies, effective communication is essential to effect change and create and sustain a culture of collaboration and engagement. Companies are not always successful in terms of designing communication in such a way that it accomplishes the desired outcome. In fact, many businesses fail dismally with their communication efforts – the same communication being fragmented, reactive and ad hoc. As a result, their attempts cause uncertainty, a lack of clarity, confusion and diminished trust.
In order for corporate communication to engage employees authentically, leaders need to focus on the following ingredients, as suggested by Free To Grow (www.freetogrow.com):
- Intimacy – the communication style from leadership should create safety for employees and relate to them personally. A mental and emotional closeness with staff creates an environment where engagement and contribution can take place. Here leaders emphasise listening to employees rather than just speaking to them. Employees engage in a bottom-up exchange of ideas. Trust is the key factor in achieving effectiveness.
- Interactivity – ensuring that employees are actually sharing and participating instead of being passive recipients of the messages that leaders communicate. So, managers talk with employees, not to them. Leaders use video and social media tools to facilitate two-way communication (dialogue). Employees retreat when messages are broadcast by leaders – e.g. printed newsletters, memos, speeches, posters, etc.
- Inclusion – allowing employees to participate fully in what we are creating in our teams, departments and ultimately in the organisation as a whole. Employees want to be contributors and co-creators, so they need to be included in thinking, problem-solving and decision-making. If done correctly, employees end up being brand ambassadors and thought leaders.
- Intentionality – every conversation should have an aim or have intent. The communicator’s messaging is built around company strategy, values and vision. It connects employees to where we are going as a company and gives them a part to assist formulating direction. Conversations that can be held here include those pertaining to growth and development, performance, contribution, purpose, etc.
To achieve radical company change and sustainable culture, collaboration and engagement initiatives, leaders need to design communication processes that are authentic, safe and those that engender trust. Employees only respond positively to dialogue with leadership that is genuine and personal.
Free To Grow assists managers in corporations with effective delivery and engagement with important company messages (www.freetogrow.com)