The title of this entry could be “That’s What I Said” or “ProCulture’s Engagement Philosophy.” However, as much as this is how PCC views corporate culture and employee engagement, Jack Welch lays it out better than just about anyone.
According to Welch’s recent musings on LinkedIn titled, “ ‘Rank-and-Yank’? That’s Not How It’s Done”, one of the keys to employee engagement and success is communication. Welch uses the term “exhaustive” to describe the communication level company leaders must exercise to engage employees.
Do your employees know your corporate values? Your mission statement? They should. Why you exist, what you believe, and how you behave must be common language across your entire organization. Leaders must regularly speak to these areas.
How about corporate goals? Do employees have a clear understanding of your yearly financial demands and objectives? Do they know how the company is tracking throughout the year? Employees are unable to support those goals if they don’t know what they are.
What about individual performance? Are employees receiving clear – Welch uses the term “candor” – and consistent feedback?
Of particular interest is Welch’s approach to under-performing employees, particularly those bottom ten percenters. Welch is well known for getting rid of those bottom performers but he still recognizes these employees as real people who must be treated with dignity and respect. Welch writes:
“And the bottom 10% is never surprised when the conversation sometimes
turns, after a year of candid appraisals, to moving on. No, they are not
summarily shown the door. When differentiation is done right, their manager
helps them find their next job with compassion and respect.”
(This comment brings up another point. Are your managers prepared to help their employees find that next job? We’ll tackle this in a later blog)
It seems so simple. Communicate with your employees. Unfortunately, this simple concept is difficult to put into practice for a majority of companies. How do I know most companies fail to communicate up and down their organization? First, I’ve experienced and second, I read about it. And read about it. And read about it. And . . .
Communicating with employees, especially those frontline associates slogging through their daily responsibilities, will do more for employee engagement and performance that just about any other business activity. So why doesn’t it happen?
Or lack of it.
Communicating with employees takes time, something most leaders find in short supply. Yet making the time to get all of your employees on the same page is arguably just as important as board meetings and strategic plans. Taking the time to pen a company update or, better yet, pulling your group together for a live update will give your employees a boost of energy just as much as a free lunch. And these company updates are free! Clear communication must be a company expectation and must be demonstrated at all levels of leadership, particularly from the very top.
So how can organizations take effective communication from concept to reality?
Darren K. Ford
I've enjoyed a great career. Worked in many different industries with great coworkers and customers. I talk to a lot of people while drinking a lot of coffee. I read constantly. From all of this, I have much to say.