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04/20/2012

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Spot on, Ann. As a consultant myself, it is often frustrating when you work with a client on a new program that is not only more effective, but gives employees more opportunity to control their destinies, only to see that the message never gets through. I fear that too often, organizations really don't understand that "communications" isn't just a memo, or twenty minutes at a monthly employee meeting. I worked with a client last year that really did "get it." We had eight two-hour sessions over two days, to give all 150+ employees an opportunity for a more personalized presentation, and get their questions answered. As you'd expect, not everyone liked it, but everyone understood it.

Recently, communicators have been urging HR to speak with courage. Ann, it's clear that that's what you are urging as well.

I see so many companies thinking, in our current economy, that they only need to mention things to their employees, because after all employees are worrying about job security and their family income. They are devoted to keeping their job. Where's the ROI, HR asks?

Well, we taught them to ask the ROI question, but we never dwelled much on the answer. For over 10 years, Towers Watson has published solid research that indicates that companies that talk about their new deal have a higher Return to Shareholders. There's other research out there, as well.

Of course, companies that are highly effective at communication talk about a lot of other things besides the new deal. But in this economy, the new deal is what employees want to talk about. They are tightly focused on what they can do to keep their company successful. Why not have the courage to talk out loud and often with them about it?

Ed:

Sounds like you and I have had some parallel client experiences - it is frustrating to see a new plan, particularly one with exciting possibilities, miss the mark because of lousy communication efforts.

Margaret:

Great points all from our "go to" expert on communication. You're right, and its not a small thing, that companies who communicate well on rewards tend to communicate well in other important arenas. The courage to communicate clearly generates returns in a lot of areas.

Thanks for the comments!

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