Posted by Sandy Yu on 3.28.2019
You’ve been chipping away at your new employee communication goals for a few months. If you’re like many internal communicators, however, tackling those goals has been slowed by various unexpected snags early in the year.
This doesn’t just hurt employee communication efforts, it also takes a toll on your confidence in reaching your goals. The good news is that we’ve reached out to a few leadership experts who say it’s not too late. You can pick up where you left off with those goals, refocus, reenergize, and get back on track.
Here’s how these three experts are doing it:
New goals mean new changes. And whenever any change is happening, be it strategy, leadership, or technology, employees tend to be skeptical. Employees, in general, are apprehensive about any impending change because they are comfortable with the status quo.
The announcement of major change management efforts has to be time-sensitive. It’s extremely important to understand the changes your employees will face before announcing to them something they are skeptical about. Explain why you are doing it, what benefits it will bring to the organization and to the employees, and where you wish to go with the plan five or 10 years down the line.
To be able to handle communication management effectively, it’s crucial to stand on the same level as your people. You should have a transparent and streamlined process of filtering down the communication through the pipeline and reaching employees.
Lastly, leverage various soft skills, like empathy, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, and compassion effectively, communicate with employees, and put them on the same page as you. The authority, affirmations, and trust level you command should be such that employees are ready to invest their beliefs and vision in your communication goals.
As much as we want to strengthen our internal communication, the pressure to achieve quick results and hit goals can actually push it to the sideline.
For example, in a previous role, the company vowed to keep everyone in the loop on project statuses. Unfortunately, to speed things up, a ‘less talk, more do’ approach was employed and tasks were distributed with no in-depth context as to how they fit into the broader project goals.
Employees became frustrated trying to do tasks with little background information, causing them to do their own independent research. Emails and IMs were flying all over the place. This seriously hampered their speed to accomplish tasks.
Eventually, it all came to a head and more stringent communications procedures were put into place. A weekly 15-minute meeting was firmly scheduled, following a template agenda in which each meeting attendee added details about the work they had been doing on the project. This allowed people to see how everything tied together.
When following through on internal communication goals, it’s important that concrete ways to achieve them are identified. In this case, it was as simple as setting a short weekly meeting that cannot be moved.
We must put aside ideas that were useful at the moment but are increasingly dismissed. It’s time to get innovative. For example, internal magazines, long and boring mail chains, and extensive meetings that seem to have no clear objectives won’t get you to your goals.
To change things up, we created an initiative last year for Earth Day. We organized a paper recycling competition by employee teams. The success of this program helped employees get closer to each other and motivated them to improve their cleaning habits in the office. We plan to do an activity every two months of this type, or a small celebration of the birthdays of the employees, to continue focusing on positive communication.