By Terry Thompson & Jason Kipps
In our last entry (Effective Corporate Communication Made Easy – The Must Do’s), we listed a number of guidelines that are critical to maximizing the impact of any organization’s internal communication efforts. The following are some additional items that should also be observed:
- CEOs and managers must view communication initiatives as an opportunity to improve corporate culture (and thereby corporate performance) rather than as a nuisance or inconvenience. Only when management embraces communication initiatives will they devote the required effort and maintain the appropriate frequency to obtain the desired results.
- The primary reason that most communication efforts are not as effective as intended is not because the party delivering the message delivers it poorly, rather it is because the people listening do not listen well. For some reason, most of us are much better at speaking than at listening. This is something that you will not change – you can only anticipate it and take extra steps (as outlined in our last article) to minimize this obstacle. Remember, the primary tactic for ensuring effective communication is to confirm, post-communication, that the audience understood the message as intended.
Note: Communication breakdowns also commonly occur in the training process. The most prevalent reason for less-than-effective training is the failure to have the person being trained demonstrate, after they have received their training, that they are, in fact, self-sufficient in the activities that they have just been trained to perform.
How frequently should corporate communication happen?
We found that monthly staff meetings were a good frequency. You may want to refer back to the last article for the preparation recommended for this type of communication.
What should the content of the corporate communication be?
Our generic checklist included:
- Vision Update: Description and status of key corporate initiatives that support the corporation’s vision and mission
- Financial Update: Any new significant opportunities and/or challenges that have arisen since the last meeting or may have been raised at the last meeting
- People & Culture Update: Important personnel items (e.g. recognizing achievement, personnel changes, etc.)
- Anything else that you feel is important to communicate on a group basis rather than one-on-one
What do you do if it is difficult to have all employees attend staff meetings?
Monthly meetings can be held via Webinar in a town-hall format and a written summary of the key items and a link to a recording of the webinar can be distributed it to all employees for their reference. Further, the managers of those employees who could not attend should be responsible for ensuring that the key items are communicated to their team members.
Our next series of articles will be devoted to by far the most important (and difficult) area of corporate culture – getting the right people in the right positions.