Harness the Power of Communication

 Harness the Power of Communication

Clarity from the CEO creates a successful culture.

Knowledge is power. However, without strong communication methods, that knowledge can’t be transferred. While workers expect to receive information from their employers, the reality is less than 50 percent of leaders are engaged in communications with their employees.

CEOs lead busy lives. From managing business needs and strategic planning to engaging in new partnerships, prioritizing communication strategies can slip through the cracks. Consequently, employees feel disconnected and productivity declines. A Towers Watson report found that organizations with effective communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.

Creating a culture that promotes informed, well-connected employees starts at the top. As the business landscape in Texas continues to grow and attract outsiders to the market, CEOs should be especially attuned to employees’ personal goals and values. Achieving this insight comes from a budget and strategy that fosters these relationships and earns trust through transparent communication.

Determining the most optimal communications strategy for your business can be challenging, but harnessing the power of effective communications can be boiled down to a few key points.

Establish an inspiring company narrative

At a fundamental level, your employees need to understand what the company wants to achieve and how their contributions help fulfill that mission. CEOs can miss the mark when approaching their brand narrative when they are laser focused on their public perception. However, having a story to share with both new and current employees goes a long way. Rather than being siloed in their job functions, employees can better understand the overarching vision with a story that includes goals, narratives, and facts.

The brand narrative is a cornerstone for the CEO to come back to and track the company’s progress. It’s up to executives to set the tone. Those who consistently leverage the company’s story line and evolve it over time create more buy-in from employees. Those who don’t risk losing their workers’ attention, which could lead to lower satisfaction rates and increased turnover.

Facilitate trust and transparency through accessibility

Despite the limitations of a packed schedule, CEOs need to offer employees their time. Leaders with boots on the ground can learn firsthand about employees’ day-to-day efforts, hear about the problems they are facing, and experience the dynamics of different teams. Most importantly, leaders can make informal relationships and find out which topics employees are genuinely interested in.

As an example, monthly coffee one-on-ones and an open-door policy offer employees the opportunity to approach leadership and ask questions. Being consistent and informal creates a comfortable environment for employees. As a result, they are more prone to give honest assessments and feedback to employers.

Organizations with effective communication programs are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers.

On the contrary, a lack of respect and trust is a leading cause of employee turnover. Executives can counter these sentiments by creating opportunities for one-on-one growth, acknowledging employees’ successes, and providing feedback when applicable. In turn, those at the top glean a rewarding sense of self and community by being part of their company’s everyday operations.

Accessibility also fosters transparency. Communicating honestly about the issues that impact business, from major news events to financial challenges, humanizes management and keeps employees informed. Setting a transparent structure from the start is a key differentiator for companies with a strong internal communications strategy.

Clarify ownership and roles

Communication roles often differ between CEOs and the broader leadership team. As the visionary for the company, the CEO’s role is likely to articulate the organization’s vision and mission. The supporting executives should relay this vision and plan to their sector of the business while explaining how their department will be held accountable.

Clarifying roles helps prevent overlap and reminds each executive of their responsibilities when it comes to communicating with employees. A playbook outlining roles is one method to accomplish this. Tools like these are helpful to refer back to when in doubt.

Collect data to understand employees’ needs

It’s difficult to track progress without metrics. The final step in a communications plan should be to collect data, both formally and informally. While this can take many different forms, “lunch and learns” where employees have the floor to share their insights can help determine themes for future communication and refine tactics. Results can be used to expand on solid internal communications by designating company-wide communication roles to leadership members.

Subsequent to collecting data is actually reading the data. Executive team members should spend some time understanding when and how employees digest information and assess what’s working versus what’s not. Based on these evaluations, they can make adjustments so that employees feel engaged, heard, and valued.

The bottom line is that harnessing the power of communications comes from within an organization. Once these strategies are in place, success in the public eye can follow.

Kathleen Lucente

Kathleen Lucente is the founder and CEO of Red Fan Communications. Lucente has witnessed and played a part in the evolution of communications since her entrance into the tech industry more than 20 years ago, first as a journalist, then as a PR professional. Lucente is a regular contributor to the Forbes Agency Council, covering critical communications topics like crisis management, brand positioning, thought leadership, corporate communications, and the fundamentals of great brand storytelling.

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