Communication is about closing the gap in employee’s knowledge, beliefs, or actions. To shift the organization from where it is, perhaps low-performing, to where you want it to be - high-performing. Now what are the right communication tools to use for the job, if you've identified a beliefs gap? It helps here to consider engagement communication as a journey, to move your organization, your department, or your team from where it is, to where you want it to be.
Now the aim of your engagement communication is to get your employees to come along with you on that journey. Now your people’s beliefs about making that journey will vary… They may be jaded from previous journey's i.e. engagement communications that have gone wrong. Where they haven't ended up where they were told they were going to end up. Or perhaps they found the experience incredibly frustrating, delaying, demoralizing. So the critical step for you to lead the journey is to identify who needs to come with you and what they believe about making that journey.
Now, every time you communicate you are dealing with the other person’s belief systems. Did you know that no two people anywhere in the world see things exactly the same way? We all have our very own belief systems that influence what we pay attention to and where we focus our efforts. So their belief system, without any shadow of a doubt, will be different to yours. So this means they are likely to either generalize or distort, or delete some aspect of your engagement communication. Now research by news organizations, such as the corporate executive counsel at Hewitt, show that on an average, 75% of employees are fence sittes. They are neither engaged, nor dis-engaged. They leave their hearts and their passion at the door and they do the minimum amount of work required - just enough to stop getting fired.
Can you imagine what would happen to the performance of your organization if you could shift that bell curve? To do that, we need to understand what employees believe that results in them not being engaged. Is it a gap in their beliefs regarding trust? Do they not trust you as a credible leader? Do they not trust the organization to do the right thing by them, and equip them with the right information, the right resources, and the right support to do what is being asked of them?
What drives credibility and trust? The key driver of credibility and trust is a consistency of your leadership communication behavior. How consistent are you in walking the talk? Is there a gap between your say and your do? How consistent are you in embodying the organizational values? You know, employees will always hear what you say, but they will always see what you do. Because, as a leader, you cast a very long shadow. How consistent are you in doing what you say you are going to do?
Now, there's a whole range of face to face tactics that you can deploy, to help your engagement communications. There are thirty-five face to face tactics, in "Tactics in a box". Things like brown bag lunches, hypothetical's, recognition events, road shows, and walk-a-bouts. Face-to-face communication enables you to firstly understand, and then shift the beliefs that your employees have about you and your organization, that may be adversely impacting the performance of your organization. OK, that's it for today. Hope to see you for the next "Tactics Tuesday". Until then, happy communicating.
Lorri Lennon is an award-winning advisor, trainer and author in leadership communication. She has 20 years’ experience managing communications for large global organisations.
Lorri conducts master classes to help participants maximise their communications ROI.
Mariska Mannes is an experienced communication consultant. She holds a Master of Management majoring in Communication, which allows her to bring a blend of qualification and practical experiences to her training programmes. Her expertise is in business and cross cultural communication and behaviour. For more information visit Mariska's LinkedIn profile.