“If you want to establish a clear image in the minds of consumers, you first need a clear image in your own mind.” – Sergio Zyman
Employee Communications is a tool that helps an organization understand itself. Communications and management are directly linked. If you want to understand how a company communicates, understand how it manages. If you find a company where employee communication is not considered a top priority, it might be the case that communication in general is not considered important. When employee communications is seen simply as a function and not an integral part of the organization, messages do not reflect the company’s core. Nothing in communication should be done if it is not directly tied to the strategy of the business, which also means communicators need to know what the strategy of the business is.
If there is a challenge, there is always a corresponding opportunity. The future cannot be managed with the mindset of the past. Communicators often chase symptoms. “We aren’t selling products”, “our employees are leaving”, “our stock is down,” all symptoms. You have to dig deeper to find the cause and by correcting the root of the problem, you eliminate it. Here are some buzz words to delete from your vocabulary: “happy employee,” “motivation,” and “generating awareness.” The purpose of employee communications is not any of the things mentioned above. Employee communications departments need to provide people with the information they need to understand where they fit within the organization. By virtue of how we communicate those messages, we will lower turnover rates as employees will become people who love to work, think and ideate for your business because they love their jobs. There is a difference in defining a job as putting a door on a Cadillac vs. building safe vehicles for families to enjoy. Organizations must do everything to stress the latter point and make employees aware that they are part of something greater.
Once a company understands who they are, they can communicate it to their employees. Employees will embody that vision and exude that through their actions, which ultimately brands the company. So simply put: it all begins with understanding who you are and where you want to go.
This is the first of a series of posts on Employee Communications.