With today’s blog post, I want to share a story about employee communication. But actually, it is much more. It is a story about employee communication but also about the “new normal.” And a story about why employee communication is so critical in tomorrow’s world.
Employee Communication — A Personal Story
So let me give you a little bit of backstory first. I had a meeting with a manager from a large company — let’s call him Jeff. Jeff is the Chief HR Officer of that company. I met Jeff earlier this month. We agreed to meet and discuss the topic of employee communication.
I presented him with our ideas of employee communication. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that we think that employee communication has to change.
First, it is no longer solely about information employees. On the contrary, it is about creating emotions, driving motivation, insights, knowledge, and awareness.
Second, and linked to the first aspect, it is creating attention and meeting the employees’ needs. That —first and foremost— means to follow a mobile-only strategy. Why’s that? Because the smartphone is the single most crucial tool for your employees when it comes to consuming content.
And third, it is about creating a humongous amount of content, allowing them to realize goal number one and two.
That Makes Sense, But…
So I explained Jeff all these aspects. And at the first moment, I was satisfied. Jeff liked the approach. He told me, “Yes, Ben, that absolutely makes sense.”
But then he continued, “but you know, I think we won’t go down that road.” Jeff explained that more in detail. Although he liked the idea, he wants to stick to his current solutions. That means, using the intranet and a monthly, printed corporate newspaper.
I was even more confused at that moment. I asked what’s the reason behind it. He outlined that —although he gets the idea— his personal preference is to use the intranet and printed newspaper. He simply is not used to that “mobile stuff.”
Managers Consider Their Preferences As Standard When It Comes To Employee Communication
I have to say that this behavior isn’t unusual. Many managers —regardless of age— consider their preferences as the standard. And probably as they consider their personal preferences as more critical.
So what did I do? I’m actually not the person who tries to convince people. I genuinely believe that either someone gets the message or not.
Employee Communication — My Very Personal Advice
That’s why I gave Jeff a piece of very personal advice. I said, “look, Jeff, I get that, and I don’t want to convince you.” However, I explained to him that this is not about his preferences. It is merely a fact that —in today’s world— the vast majority of people consume content on their smartphones.
And if he continues to rely on outdated technology and approaches, he disrespects his employees’ needs. Moreover, he will leave a significant opportunity on the table. A possibility to motivate, drive awareness, and ultimately improve corporate performance. On the contrary, he will create vulnerability.
Here’s The Punchline
So why I’m writing this blog post. Because I want to encourage people that are stuck in similar situations. People that are dedicated to employee communication and understood the massive potential of this discipline. Moreover, people that want to improve employee communication but get blocked by their management.
I think that the most crucial advice these people can give to their management is the following: It’s absolutely fine that managers have their own preferences. However, a good manager a) always accepts the facts and b) put their personal preferences behind their employees’ needs. Period.