At Reward Gateway we practice open and honest communication, which simply means we err on the side of disclosure when it comes to company information, and we announce news as early as possible. It’s core to how we run our business, and a key part of how we create an environment for employee engagement.
Being open and honest, however, requires effective employee communication and this is only possible if your people are listening and if you know how to reach them. Being visible and connected to people in the business is the key for CEOs and other managers alike.
It’s not always easy. We’re in a world now with a more mobile and remote workforce, oftentimes with people who aren’t in the same office and in my case, not even on the same continent.
We can’t always rely on the traditional face-to-face Monday morning meeting anymore, but there are tools and strategies to keep in our pocket to help.
As leaders, we have to embrace new tools and methods to reach our people where they are, and in a way they’re used to receiving information.
For matters that we feel require CEO discussion such as strategic and organisational matters, I personally make company-wide announcements on our own communications and employee engagement platform, which get pushed out to our Slack channels, another form of internal communications we heavily rely on.
Before I took a more targeted approach to my communications, I would send out _all emails or, more recently, @here notices on our General Slack channel. I also had the floor during our in-person global meetings and could use that time to discuss areas of interest for me and the company directly, but this was only twice a year at the most.
There’s still the occasional email to our people, but I’ve found that this mode of communication is rapidly becoming more and more obsolete to us. The Slack integration has completely replaced the once weekly email, which has helped boost engagement with our internal communications.
It’s part of my role as the CEO to effectively communicate these 'big' announcements across the business, and I don’t take this responsibility lightly.
In order to have more regular dialogue with our people, a little over a year ago, I began a weekly blog called “Doug’s Weekly Update.”
More recently I have begun using a 5-10 minute video in lieu of a written blog and that has been well received.
The results of embracing more effective employee communications techniques
Much to my surprise, my weekly blog (and now video) have become the most read and viewed communication across the business.
These allow me to use my personal platform to set the agenda for the week, focus our people on what I believe is mission critical, strategically recognise individuals or groups, and make the CEO feel a little more accessible and human, which at Reward Gateway (and other businesses) is important.
One of the things I have learned being the CEO for Reward Gateway is that our people are actually interested in what I have to say, and in what I am thinking about the business.
I realise this might have seemed obvious, but to me, it came as a shock. I am not a natural sharer, so it was eye-opening to me to learn that people are eager to not only hear of decisions, but also about the decision-making and related thought process. This discovery, in turn, guided me toward more communication.
As leaders, we need to be at the forefront of communication, and that means sharing the right information, at the right time, to the right people.
Whether you choose to do it through video, written word or even just sharing a photo here and there of what you’re up to, you can create and reinforce connections across your entire business by simply communicating more.
When people understand why you’re doing what you’re doing and perhaps even more importantly, how they can contribute, as leaders, we'll see better results for our business.
So go out and communicate to your people and lead from the front. It will bring you, your people and the business closer together and help align all of you with your mission.