Just a quick thought, but with regard to your company’s communications, what’s the balance between broadcasting (one to many) and your feedback channels (many to one)? Do you even encourage conversations and bottom-up communication at all?
Find your current balance
Consider the channels you and your company use to communicate:
- team talk and management cascade
- town hall
- video briefing
- blogs and comments
- message board / forum
Now consider the usage of your channels – do you see which ones tend to get used by ‘the company’ and the directors? Would you say that there’s a preponderance of mass email communication, perhaps with a lot of intranet news stories?
How do you balance these broadcasting channels with the need to hear from your people on the ground? Where are the feedback channels?
Don’t rely on email for feedback
“But anyone can email me with their observations, ideas or concerns” your CEO says. Yeah, sure. But how many of your staff know that? And what do they really think will happen when they send a frank email to the boss? Nothing? Or something worse…?
If you want people to feel listened to, you can’t just expect people to take the initiative and blast of emails to the board of directors. Why would people feel comfortable doing that?
Email feedback channels have to be promoted, and the use of them needs to be publicised. Imagine that Geoff sends an email to the CEO observing that contractors at the sites have no car park spaces allocated to them, even if they’ve been ‘with’ the company for over a year. Not only should the CEO reflect and respond to Geoff, but the Internal Communications team should work with the CEO to get something on the intranet to show the CEO’s response. It doesn’t have to be front page news, but a regularly updated section of the intranet with CEO conversational pieces can help the staff see what happens when they use a feedback channel.
“You can always email me” I say – and you can, and I’ll make sure I demonstrate I’ve listened.
So, what channels have I missed, and how do you solicit feedback from the workforce?