There is an endless number of ways that organizations can approach internal communications. That means that there is also an endless number of ways that organizations can get it wrong or right. When leaders push a message from the top down the message can and will change – sometimes quite significantly. Poor communications cause confusion and hinder engagement.
As the New Year begins, executives and HR leaders should jointly review their internal communications practices and work together to effectively communicate the company’s yearly goals in a way that will improve engagement and employee buy-in.
Is There An Effective Approach To Top-Down Communication? Yes!
In a classic top-down approach to communication, the CEO makes a grand pronouncement to the leadership team and waits for it to trickle down through the organization. There’s little follow up, and communication work in only one direction.
However, leadership and HR can work together to develop a more effective top-down approach:
- Executive leadership rolls out the overarching plan to the management team.
- Managers communicate the “big picture” goals to their teams.
- Next, those managers sit down with the team and show how their group efforts and goals fit in to that “big picture.”
- During employee one-on-ones, managers show each individual how their performance goals fit in to the big picture.
- During regular, town-hall style meetings, the CEO addresses yearly goals and initiatives, and the company’s progress with the workforce.
As you can see, this type of top-down communication strategy is far more detailed than issuing a one-time memo and assuming everyone will hop on board – and stay on board for the entire year ahead.
The Impact Of Personalized Attention
When employees are the focus of an internal communication strategy, it does more than ensure the organization’s message remains intact across the company. It gives individuals the opportunity to see how their work and their efforts drive success. When they feel connected to the business strategy, they have a stake in seeing it through.
Giving employees that type of stake also improves engagement. The old, once-a-year approach to measuring performance does little to maintain connection between individuals and the organization. Employees dread the meetings, and those reviews have little impact on their day-to-day performance. When managers sit down with them and regularly review their individual work against the company’s performance, it shows that the company cares about what they do every day. It can be difficult, for example, for a purchasing agent to feel as though her daily efforts, stresses, and obstacles mean anything to leadership. When her manager sits down with her and shows her just how those efforts drive the success of the company, it shows her first-hand how she contributes to the big picture.
Effective internal communication can have a far-reaching, positive impact on the productivity, engagement, and effectiveness of the workforce. This year, work alongside HR leaders and plan a process that ensures effective communication of the organization’s annual goals and relates those goals to individual employees. Then, watch the organizational morale and performance skyrocket in the New Year.
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