The workforce is changing. Our organizations are more global, more employees work remotely and our co-workers span multiple distinct generations. To be the type of leader who inspires an organization to succeed, you need to push your communication boundaries to effectively communicate with the evolving workforce.
These changing dynamics create new challenges for leaders trying to remain connected to people in the business and help connect employees with the organization and each other. With a more mobile and remote workforce, leaders must utilize new tools and methods to reach their people where they are — and in a way that they are used to receiving information. Leaders can no longer rely on the traditional face-to-face Monday morning meeting, so new technologies and strategies must now be used.
Changing the Channel
Leaders today reach their people through traditional channels, including email and text messaging, but they also have newer messaging applications such as Slack and other employee communication and engagement platforms. Incorporating social media platforms into a communication strategy enables leaders to be more human, authentic and approachable with their people. Whatever the tool is, the objective is to reach your people where they are and to allow them to connect with the business and you as a leader.
Once leaders have sorted out how to find and connect with their people, they then need to decide what to communicate. Employees are interested in what their leaders are thinking and what they have to say. It may seem intuitive that people are eager to hear about decisions, but they are also interested in the related thought process. In fact, research from Reward Gateway found that organizations with high employee net promoter scores (eNPS) have a workforce where more than 80% of employees agree that their employer is transparent about how the organization plans to achieve its mission.
For important matters that require leadership discussion — such as strategic and organizational matters — personal companywide announcements on multiple communication platforms can be an effective way to maximize reach and engagement. To showcase less mission-critical events, established social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram can also be helpful. Finally, sharing photos and videos also allows employees to see the work being done (and fun being had) by their colleagues, while creating opportunities for global recognition, which can enhance culture.
Giving It the Human Touch
Leaders can also establish a regular dialogue with their people by incorporating routine blogs aimed at highlighting major events and observations, recognizing individuals or groups, announcing or promoting upcoming events and initiatives that they wish to prioritize, and occasionally sharing musings or personal reflections on the business, strategy or culture. Personal videos can also help make a connection with employees.
Blogs and other regular communications allow leaders to use their personal platforms to set the agenda for the business, focus their people on mission-critical items, strategically recognize individuals or groups — all while presenting themselves in such a way as to make them a little more accessible, human and credible.
Doug Butler is CEO of Reward Gateway.