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 approaches corporate culture and employee engagement, Jack Welch lays it out better than just about anyone.
According to Welch’s late-2013 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.
I love strong, descriptive words like “exhaustive” when describing work. In my previous blog regarding culture, I define “Be Focused” on developing a healthy corporate culture as attack your culture, be fanatical about culture, enthusiastically build your culture, aggressively address your culture, and be obsessive about culture-building efforts.
So, exhaustive communication. A great word to describe the type of communication necessary to engage and involve employees, isn’t it?
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.
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 in this difficult situation. 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 their next job? A subject worthy of a future blog entry!)
It seems so simple. Communicate with your employees. Unfortunately, this simple concept is difficult to put into practice. How do I know most companies fail to communicate up and down their organization? First, I’ve worked in a poor-communication culture and second, I read about it. And read about it. And read about it. And . . .
Exhaustively communicating with employees, especially those frontline employees slogging through their daily responsibilities, will do more for employee engagement and performance than 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 that time to get all of your employees on the same page can greatly improve morale and performance. Clear communication must be a company expectation and must be demonstrated from the very top of the organization.
How can organizations take effective communication from concept to reality? Click here to read my blog entry titled Steps To Effective Communication.
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.