by Kristin Alm
“In the absence of information, we jump to the worst conclusions.”
As a professional communicator, I think a lot about the act of communicating…
What’s our message?
How do we convey it?
Who does it come from?
What’s the appropriate tone?
When should it be received?
Recently, in a routine operations check-in with one of Greater Sum Ventures’ many SaaS businesses, the CEO admitted that he’d been neglectful of regular and thoughtful communication with the workforce. “We’ve just been so busy and so focused on a few high-profile projects, that I haven’t been communicating with the team like I should,” he said.
Was there any bad news to share with the team? No. Any negativity in terms of company outlook? Not at all – quite the opposite, actually. The company is healthy and growing like a weed. No need to hold back, right?
Sometimes leaders put off company communications when there are contentious issues to deal with or bad news to disseminate. But other times – even during the good times – the busy-ness of business can get in the way of communication flow. Keeping in touch with employees should always be a top priority, just like increasing sales or closing the books each month.
Especially during the recent pandemic as colleagues have been scattered from offices and connected only by technology, frequent communication is more critical than ever. In an uncertain post-pandemic work environment, progressive companies are closely monitoring employee retention trends. Regardless of whether your teams work together in an office, remotely, or in some sort of hybrid situation, keeping the lines of communication open is key to ensuring people feel connected – with each other, with leadership, and with the company as a whole.
Rest assured, employees always want to hear from “the top.” An informed workforce is more engaged, more productive, and more satisfied and secure in the job. Individual contributors working away in their silo are often unaware of company initiatives, events, milestones and progress. (Even the ones you think are obvious!) But they want to know all the company news: how the business is doing, who is innovating and excelling, and where they can get plugged in to more info and resources.
This recent admission by my CEO friend made me realize that sometimes we all need reminders on even the basics. My humble recommendation to the C-suite is a simple threefold internal communications strategy:
- Set a regular cadence for all-hands meetings to provide critical updates, share information, celebrate results, and simply show the workforce that you care enough to take time to address them directly.
- Examine your suite of communications tools and tactics to be sure you’re connecting with people in every way possible. As most things in life, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. And it should always be a two-way conversation.
- Enlist your divisional leaders as well as people at all levels of the organization to contribute to both the creation and dissemination of company messaging. It’s bigger than a one-person job and great ideas can come from anywhere.
I believe that people generally want to do a great job and be a team player. Empower them to do good work and be brand ambassadors. In the long run, clear and regular communication fosters a successful culture that produces inspiring results.
Kristin Alm leads PR and communications for Greater Sum Ventures and its brand families. She joined the firm in 2019 after spending 18 years leading communications and publicity efforts for global media brands such as HGTV and Food Network, and for family retail clothier Goody’s. Kristin is passionate about helping entrepreneurs leverage storytelling and authentic messaging to elevate their business.