Great e-book from David Grossman of The Grossman Group, entitled, "Five Steps to Thrive."
I had to opportunity to hear David speak a couple of years ago and read his book You Can't Not Communicate2 which aspires to make leaders better communicators -- especially within their own companies.
Times are difficult for business communicators with economic crises, cutbacks, layoffs and reduced budgets being the norm at many companies.
Worker morale and engagement is affected. According to Towers Watson, employee engagement scores are down 9% for all companies in the U.S. and down 25% for top-performing companies that have implemented cost cutting.
In the event you are not aware, the effects of a disengaged workforce are:
- More absenteeism
- More turnover
- More theft
- More injuries
- Lower customer satisfaction
- Lower productivity and profitability
Here are David's five steps for improving employee engagement:
- Get a mirror for you and your leadership team. Employees pay as close attention to what you do as what you say. Your actions speak louder than words. Develop awareness or what others are seeing in you as a leader. I once worked at a small professional services firm that laid off about 10% of the staff in the morning and the president drove his new Mercedes and parked it in front of our building that afternoon. Not good for morale or engagement.
- Plan your communication. Regardless of how engaging you are, "just do it," doesn't work. Be transparent. Be honest. Be human. Address the issues at hand before the rumor mill takes over. Six steps to consider: 1) identify the problem; 2) identify the desired outcome; 3) identify your audience; 4) structure your key messages/conversation; 5) consider how you will say your message; 6) follow-up to ensure your message was understood and to answer any outstanding questions.
- Listen. Listen some more. Then communicate. Engage employees in a dialog and allow to share what's on their mind or vent. Use face-to-face communications when addressing a topic that requires immediate action, when discussing complex, confidential or sensitive topics and when you want to gather feedback and input. I used to end company meetings by asking people what was on their minds and encouraging them to share with the group or with me one-on-one. Some members of the management team felt like this was asking for complaints; however, I'd rather know what was on people's minds and address it rather than have something festering for a few days or weeks before I was made aware of it.
- You are always communicating, so control the message. Your employees will read your behavior even when you do not say anything. By not communicating, you make your employees feel undervalued and underappreciated. You create questions, distrust and churn.
- Think about who else can benefit from your communication. At the end of every meeting, or when you make a key decision, ask yourself, who else needs to know this information and how will I get it to them. This ensures you are keeping others apprised of their need-to-know information while also keeping everyone aligned.
Can you improve your communication with employees thereby improving employee engagement?