Effective communications are about building trust and helping others, such as senior managers, develop trusting relationships with other employees. As Sarah Lazenby said at our Aspic conference in August 2013, about being a trusted advisor, “People want to hear what’s going on directly from their manager, so you need to be able to build your leaders’ confidence and enable them to have effective conversations with their teams”.
In our July 2013 issue Storyboard, our monthly comms emailer, we included an article about the Barbara Streisand effect, which “describes how actions with an intended purpose can backfire, making things worse than if just left alone.” One of the fictitious examples of this is a man being rewarded for working over a weekend by his boss with a $50 gift card to a steak house – a nice gesture, until you are told that this employee is a vegan. The boss’ gesture is now not only an empty one, it is also damaging as having worked hard his employee now feels disengaged and frustrated that his manager “doesn’t seem to know him very well as a person.”
By approaching employee engagement from a personal angle, or inspiring managers to do so, you encourage staff to give back and get involved as well. As we said in our blog post on Valentine’s Day last year – Winning employee’ hearts and minds the old school way – it is so important to ensure the communications you send are “clear, concise and engaging, accessible and delivered simply and effectively”. Don’t lose the engaging and accessible elements in the range of communication channels at our disposal nowadays, instead make sure to remember the personal touch when sharing your messages.