Effective Communication is Your Responsibility

I was working with a CEO recently and she couldn’t understand why it was that her employees had difficulty in remembering the key objectives of the company as they related to mission and vision. She told me how she had posters printed with the objectives and had them posted in all of the working areas of the company. She had them on the screen savers on all of the company computers. She had them included in the monthly company newsletter.

Unfortunately, this is the case with many of the clients that I work with. Despite their efforts to create a visual impression of their values, objectives or vision/mission statements, there is a lack of universal knowledge or understanding of them throughout the company.

All of us have pictures that we hang on the walls in our home. When we first put them up, we see them, admire them, and compliment ourselves on how wonderful they make our rooms look. Alas, it is not too long before we no longer see the pictures when we enter each room. They have become a part of the familiar landscape and do not catch our attention. It is no different in the workplace.

In the early days of my business career, I worked for a large retail book seller. We had discounted books displayed at the front of the store on tables to generate impulse sales. It was mandated that we move the books to a new table each week, so that the consumer would think that we had new offerings to entice them. Some were new, but most were not, but because the store looked different, the perception was that we had a great deal of new inventory.

So, like the pictures in your home, the methods you choose to use to communicate with your employees may also be getting stale.

If you really want your employees to know and understand what you are trying to accomplish, you have to make it personal. The old saying “see it, say it” is very applicable here. When you see them do something well, compliment them and tell them how that action relates to one or more of your objectives, values, mission/vision. If they do something that needs to be changed, do the same thing, help them understand how it could have a negative impact on your objectives, values, mission/vision.

This keeps the message consistent and relatable for them. Employees do not want to do the wrong things, and they want to earn the respect and admiration of their leader. Make sure your managers are doing the same thing. If they are constantly reinforcing these key aspects of your business, they will obviously be on the same page with you. In every employee meeting, go over the recent key accomplishments and make them relatable to the message. You will soon find that not only will everyone be on the same page, but they will all be able to communicate the key objectives, values, mission/vision of your company internally and externally. Soon your posters, screen savers and newsletters will have even more impact.

It starts with you. You are in charge and if you want to successfully have every employee on the same page, you need to build the foundation yourself, through effective and meaningful communication.

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