Put People and Purpose as your business Priorities and Profits will follow.
Business success, more than ever, is about building and supporting a positive, profitable culture, which is a hard asset; and culture comes down to communication. How companies talk to and with their employees, and all stakeholders for that matter, is the ultimate expression of an organization’s values and brand, and that’s one reason a leader’s role as Communicator in Chief is more critical than ever before. Clear, proactive, authentic communication from leadership is the key to success, and it’s a two-way proposition.
Everyone is experiencing life and work in unheard of, unforeseen ways, so it’s more important than ever for leaders to communicate with compassion. It doesn’t mean being mushy and touchy-feely, it means being an empathetic human being who takes the time to ask your people how they’re doing and what’s on their minds. Communicating that you care about them as individuals and not simply cogs in the machine is the key to retaining your employees and developing loyalty.
The need to communicate clearly and accurately took on heightened importance amid the firehose of information that spewed out daily during the pandemic, but clarity will always be king. That means being succinct and focused, and using plain language. Keep communications to one or two key points rather than flooding employees with five messages at once.
What you say is important, but how your words are received is ultimately what matters. Everyone has their own lens when they read or hear something because we’re all absorbing it from our own individual perspective, so give it context. Information without context is communication without meaning. Deliver the information and tell employees what it means for them and why they should care and pay attention. The goal is to communicate with purpose and engagement, so think about what you want them to know, think, feel, do or understand.
Great leaders are consistent in living the mission, vision, and values of their organization, and that needs to come across in communications. Develop a consistent approach, theme and underlying message that reflects you as a leader and your brand. Communicate your organization’s business goals consistently and employees will be more engaged, motivated, and equipped to help achieve them.
Cadence is about how often you communicate but also it refers to the channels you choose. How often do your employees need to hear from you or should hear from you? Develop a cadence that resonates with your audiences so that you don’t become white noise. That may change depending on circumstances—a pandemic, for example—and what and how much needs to be communicated at any given time. Also consider your audience’s appetite for the communications channels you are using, whether it’s an email memo, a Zoom town hall or video message.