Ever wondered how you can make your employee communications more focused and meaningful, almost like breaking open a six pack with your employees and sitting down to really understand their needs? Here are 6 rules you can use to get closer to your employees.
Rule #1 Internal communications is about the employee
Too many communications to employees are high-handed. They tend to be about what the senior management think is important. This just makes your internal communications a bullhorn. It’s heard, but too many employees have their hands over their ears. Start from where the employee is, do communicate on what they find important, and you’ll reach them. Be empathetic to your employees.
Rule #2 Assume transparency
The world is never going to be less transparent than it is today, so get used to it if you aren’t already. Many companies today are fearful of social media because it is transparent, but taking this approach is setting your business back. Your employees are your best ambassadors, and when they are unhappy they tell everyone whether you like it or not, and vice-versa they tell everyone what a great company they work for when they are cared for. Be open with your employees.
Rule #3 Don’t let the outside media tell the news first
Ensure that you announce things internally and externally at the same time. The no.1 thing which alienates an employee most is hearing what their company is doing from their newspaper, TV or even a neighbor. Even in the case of stock exchange rules covering announcements, you can coincide announcements. Include your employees sooner.
Rule # 4 Go Glocal on your employees
For international business, maintaining a balance between the global and local messages is critical. There has to be a mix, and there are numerous ways you can involve employees in global messaging, such as featuring them in the global publications, competitions and company Intranet stories. Treat your employees as a local participant in a global community.
Rule #5 Don’t “cascade”, create dynamic dialog
The idea of “cascading” communications is insulting, ban the word! It assumes communications has to go from top to bottom, it is hierarchy, not communications. You will find people in your company who think that information “cascaded” down to them gives them power, so they hold on to it. Unleash the power of communications by analyzing how information goes up, down and across, and even jumps around! Communicate to your employees from different directions.
Rule #6 Find that guy!
Throughout your company there are guys who are natural communicators. They may be blue collar, white collar, running a department or packing shelves. Whatever their position, they are good at communicating. Get the message to them and they will communicate to others around the company. Word of mouth remains the most powerful form of communication. Reach your employees by finding that guy!