Driving Engagement Through Recognition and Communication? A Love Story
The art of communication lies within the art of making people embrace - love vs. hate
It all comes down to communication. The do's and don'ts of communication in the workplace will define the "love" companies will get from their people. We are talking love of their work, love toward leadership, love for the company, all translated into engagement.
Do We Have a Unique Notion of Communication?
Yes, first and foremost how do you define communication? I have no doubt that all understand that the basic rule of communication is that it requires an exchange between two parties at least. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines communication as "a process by which information is exchanged between individuals". However the communication or exchange is, it does require an exchange: input and output, listening and talking, and maybe pulling and pushing (sic). In any event there should be an exchange. No shutting down. Not a one-way pushing or pulling. Basics aside, what does communication involve?
Communication, like Love, is NOT meant to:..
- Flatter the community of people: Your work community, that is, your Human Resources, is made of a mix of talents, individuals, and generations. You cannot win by trying to flatter the community as a whole: it is a community but variations do exist and need to be acknowledged. While everybody is on the same boat, only the boat is the constant invariable, especially in global organizations. Accept and embrace the diversity of personalities, accomplishments, environments, professional motivations and potentials. In return, the community will bring their riches to the company;
- Flatter individuals: Most people - at least the ones that you want to be contributors in your organization - value constructive feedback. Be honest with them: coaching and mentoring call for great communication skills.
- Boost personal ego: Leadership ego? Employee X or Y ego? Forget about ego alltogether. Use communication to build leadership and individuals that form your Human resources. "Errare humanum est": human error happens. It can and needs to be addressed adequately, constructively, not undermined to boost personal ego. This is why prompt and honest feedback is paramount to building professionals.
- Conduct personal agenda: Let communication be truthful and used for organizational growth. Our touching point here is the world of ethics. There is no need to dramatize human errors in order to to unfairly or hastily weed out some members of the work community. Organizational communication is not to be manipulative. Do not interpret policies and manipulate words or situations to carry- out personal agendas or vendettas. Not true? Authoritarian-type of leadership need not be construed for strong leadership. There is truly a fine line between corrective/punitive discipline and progressive discipline. Fear of retaliation is counterintuitive to engagement efforts.
Successful Communication Involves:
- Transparency: Is key to a culture of open communication and engagement. It is the foundation of trust between partners and stakeholders. Changes need not only to be timely but also clearly communicated for people to understand and support them. I love the idea of "open houses" and discussion groups; but with communication comes information, education, and training. This leads us to filters.
- Filters: Communicate on a need-basis when it comes to business information. It is only logical to safeguard information. Not only it eliminates the clutter of information on individuals' plates, but most importantly it limits the " broadcasting" of private (HIPPA) and sensitive business information. There is a fine line between too much and too little information. Indeed, filtering need not be interpreted as needed "blockage" or "disinformation" or "misinformation", much less as "enhancement" of poor realities or business performance: It is not a "dictatorship". It is a partnership. This is how branding comes to play.
- Branding: Communication is from the inside-out. The life and beat of the organization as a whole transpire to external stakeholders, candidates and former employees. That implies that internal level and quality of interactions will define the level of customer experience, hence, business success. Unfortunately, when it comes to HR we often associate and apparently limit
There is so much that can be said and done at the intersection of HR and Communication. Engagement is at the intersection of communication and recognition. I believe that the better organizations understand that linkage, the better off they will be with regards to its internal and external stakeholders. You want more promoters than distractors in order to generate more business.