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Leadership Lessons: effective employee communication

by Chris Cooley

Whilst there are many different and wide-ranging theories on leadership, surely the common element in all theories is effective employee communication. Therefore if it is a common link, effective employee communication should be seen as the single most important leadership factor.

Goal Deployment

The first step for good communication practice is Goal Cascade – more detail regarding effective goal deployment can be seen in our recent article addressing employee fears and Goal Deployment. In summary goal deployment is key to initially engage people and therefore bring them on-board by understanding what the business is striving for (Business Goals) and their role in achieving the goals (goal deployment).

The purpose of effective employee communicationPeople working together

Once you have engaged the people in your organisation you then need to keep their interest and most importantly keep them informed. The greatest threat to a successful business is inertia through fear due to poor communication.

Clearly not all your employees can or will have access to the complete business strategy and plans. It is obviously dangerous to give away too much information due to it being taken out of context. However, consider the situation where your employees see or hear something that is not explained or explainable. For example, a visitor on the shop-floor; the MD going on a visit to Head Office; unusual meeting activity – the smallest things in the eyes of top management can create the most bizarre rumours. If this happens the focus quickly changes from achieving business goals to ruminating when the business will be closing down. Once this rumour-mill gets out of hand it is difficult to stop it and the damage to the company can be long-lasting.

This is all common sense and hopefully quite obvious to most business leaders – whilst the effect of poor communication may be understood, how many organisations can truly say that their communication is world-class and their relationship with their employees is positively enhanced because of this ? This also depends where on the leadership journey your company is  and where you want to get to – if you want full employee empowerment then effective employee communication is essential.

What is effective employee communication ?

Again, there are many theories, but our belief is that good employee communication should have the following:

  • It should primarily be to foster a relationship
  • It should inform without overtly putting a spin on it
  • It should reassure
  • It can challenge but not be excessively aggressive
  • It should be fully inclusive but pertinent, giving the right amount of information to be able to address the point to the right people
  • It should be timely
  • It should be honest and true

Effective employee communication and new technology

Company intranets have been around for sometime, but rarely have we seem them used effectively. Social networking allied to blog posting and mobile technology are ideal opportunities to reach your employees. We believe that the new technology is a new opportunity to reach your people on a regular basis. It shouldn’t replace good verbal systems – meetings, works councils, seminars, company presentations, appraisals etc –  but it can be a good tool to supplement current methods.

Intrasplash

Lean QCD and Datasplash are jointly developing an exciting new business communication product using current technology and best leadership practice to help all types of organisations to improve their employee communication.

Main features are:

  • Web based company communications
  • Links to and from Twitter, Facebook and other social streams (optionally)
  • Real-time company updates
  • Draft policy feedback system
  • Employee surveys
  • Employee forum
  • Sales team news and postings (or any department)
  • Customers can share their direct updates (optionally)
  • Incorporates newsletter

We expect this product to be launched by end October 2010 – if you would like to receive more information and development updates please complete the form below.

Register – Intrasplash

Receive exclusive priority updates
from the development team
as Intrasplash progresses.

Only subscribers will get access to the latest developments, screenshots and video that will be developed over the coming weeks. No subscription means no updates – subscribe now.

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