The past few weeks have been a blur… have been fortunate enough to talk to a lot of senior leaders across diverse industries, the discussions being centered on something that keeps me up at night (and happily so!) – Communication….more specifically internal communication.
Some themes that emerged from these discussions were:
- We are spending a great deal of time and effort on communicating our purpose, vision et al with our employees (we are using technology too), yet …..
- We are making conscious efforts to ensure that there is consistency in messaging, yet….
- Expectation and goal setting is getting more attention (better tracking, better metrics), yet…
- Inter-functional cohesion and co-operation is being stressed upon and emphasized, yet….
What is the solution?
More monies being pumped into office interiors being adorned with ‘mission’ and ‘value’ statements, more ‘Town Hall’ meetings, more daily meetings with the teams, investing in upgrading one’s company intranet with the best-in-class features (bring on the bots !) or investing in fancy apps so that information is on-line and real time ..or is it a bit of all of these and maybe more ?
While all of these are important and relevant, I believe that these are the components that makeup that chunk of the ice-berg that we see…detailed discussions with the leaders threw up some interesting insights and I realized that the answers to the “yet” lie in what I would like to call ‘Orgspeak’..that part of the iceberg that is not seen.
I would define ‘Orgspeak’ as ‘non-verbal internal communication’ ..one that gives away lot of clues without the organization realizing so. I believe there are 4 key components of ‘Orgspeak’ that says a lot about any organization and how employees interpret what the leaders believe in and thus how the organization functions ….these are over and above the formal means of communication.
The four components can be encapsuled in a 4G framework….Get, Give, Grow and Goodbye
Organizations end up communicating a lot, non-verbally, through the quality of new recruits they get into the organization. A relaxation or dip in the standards of recruitment has a huge impact on existing employee morale, irrespective of the phase an organization is in… It sends out mixed signals…that the organization is not able to attract good people, is not concerned about quality, is not fair to existing employees etc.
The second component of ‘Orgspeak’ is what the organization ‘gives’ their employees. This by nature is all encompassing and broadly covers what is normally termed as ’employee engagement initiatives’. An organization that pays little or scant attention to employee engagement sends out a loud and clear message to employees…we are not bothered about caring for you and we don’t care if you are bothered about it.
Organizations can neglect robust performance processes and talent development processes like leadership development, technical development, team building secondments etc at their own risk. Ineffective talent management approaches say a lot about the indifference and ignorance with which talent is treated.
The end of a relationship is also the beginning of a new one. Exit management must go beyond the process of harping on the notice period and filling out perfunctory exit interview forms. Poor exit management could shape up the entire work experience of an employee thus impacting how he/she would nurture the organization brand, even after his/her exit.
Internal communication is an ongoing job and often a thankless one…the key to success, I believe, lies in getting one’s act right with the hidden part of the iceberg, the 4G’s of Orgspeak as it is with getting the means and methods of communication right.
Where do rate your organization on Orgspeak and how do you think you would want to make it better ? Would love to hear from you.