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Many organizations neglect the role of communication when they plan an employee engagement strategy. They undertake copious surveys and feed the results into their strategy, along with the musings of management discussions from daily meetings. What is overlooked is how to communicate the organization’s vision and purpose. This can be fatal.
A poor communication strategy has a domino topple effect within an organization. It leads to misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities, misreading of internal values and beliefs, and misconception of business strategy.
Employee engagement leads to greater loyalty, higher productivity, and more persuasive company advocates. In a Gallup study, it was shown that employee engagement drives growth. Engaged employees are more likely to be self-developers, seek opportunities to improve their skill sets, and adjust to organizational change.
Despite these benefits of employee engagement, communicating effectively presents several challenges. Yet it is crucial that organizations convey their messages consistently across multiple functions, bridging cultural and generational gaps and capabilities. This is, perhaps, the most challenging aspect of communication in any employee engagement strategy. Those organizations who communicate their values, beliefs, and purpose effectively are more likely to reap the rewards of employee engagement.
Engagement generally happens at a personal level, and not a business level. An employee who can identify with their employer is more likely to be engaged in the work they do and the strategic direction of their organization. If your employees don’t understand who you are, what you stand for, and the future you visualize, they are less likely to strive to achieve personal and business goals.
Employees who understand the value of the contribution they make and how they fit into the aims of the organization are more likely to push themselves and help others to reach their full potential.
The rules of communicating effectively are well known. In employee engagement strategies, the responsibility for communicating messages falls upon leaders and managers, who should provide:
Consistency and clarity
Transparency and accountability
Alignment with the organization’s vision
Communicating openly and honestly, messages should be shared with passion, connecting people to the organization’s values and beliefs. Finally, communication should be appropriate, with information made accessible to all.
How messages are received impacts perceptions of importance. With different people preferring to communicate in different ways, providing consistency of message is difficult.
Should communication channels be personalized to groups of different employees? Should you segment people into groups for email communication, face-to-face meetings, and social media messaging? While this may satisfy individual preferences, it doesn’t guarantee consistency of message. It also increases the workload of managers, distracting them from running their teams and developing business.
One similarity that runs through the employee spectrum is the enjoyment of interactive conversation. People enjoy expressing views and opinions. They desire to ask questions that clarify their own understanding of disseminated messages.
Team meetings are invaluable to enable the process of conversation. They enable relationships and empower ideas and innovation.
Unless you keep your employees informed, you will not engage them. Often, communicating vision and mission is left to individual managers. They determine how to communicate with their people, and often this communication is made in line with their personal communication preferences. Consequently, important messages are misconceived. People are left with a different understanding of what the future holds for them.
Improving how managers communicate the big picture should lift employee engagement rates. Could visualization be the answer to provide consistency of understanding and improve employee engagement?
Visualization is not a new concept. We see evidence of the technique in cave drawings. Everyday life is impacted by visualization:
We teach children with the aid of visualization
Salespeople and marketers employ visualization to present a consistent and understandable message in commercials and on billboards
Complex theories are taught in universities by lecturers who use visuals
An organization’s annual report includes charts and graphs to illustrate results
Visualization works with diverse groups as it breaks down complexity. Even when a language barrier exists, the power of visualization enables consistent understanding.
Contact Primeast today to discover how an Emotional Intelligence course will help develop the communication skills of your managers, team leaders and supervisors.
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