What to Include In an Internal Communication Planhttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/image5.png1050700VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/image5.png
The way an organization communicates internally can directly impact the quality of goods and services produced, ultimately affecting your company’s bottom line. Well thought out and effective internal communication models help employees feel valued and heard, in turn boosting productivity and ensuring a strong brand reputation inside and out.
An internal communication plan that hasn’t been given much thought can end up causing time lags in message delivery, resulting in delays and reduced efficiency. That can be the beginning of deteriorating relationships with customers and subsequent negative effects on the organization’s bottom line. VP Legacies values personal connections within the workplace to create an environment where your employees want to stay. By keeping employees happy and increasing retention rates, you can develop long-lasting professional relationships with quality employees, helping your business to grow.
What is an internal communication plan?
Simply put, it’s a plan that articulates how messages and information are disseminated across various departments to employees to help drive business outcomes for the organization.
Why do organizations need an internal communication plan?
There is a game played in many employee communication training sessions called ‘broken telephone’. It’s more of an experiment that shows how original information can be transformed by inaccuracies as it is relayed across a sea of employees.
The game starts with the facilitator whispering something to one of the participants, who in turn relays the message to the next person in a whisper. So if the training session has 30 attendees, all members will have relayed the message to the next person in a whisper. The facilitator will then ask the first and the last employee to receive the message to share what was relayed to them out loud with the rest of the group.
More often than not, the difference between the original message and what it becomes by the time it reaches the 30th employee in the session is laughable.
This silly yet fun game is a powerful illustration of how a clear message from the top of the organization can lose its original meaning by the time it is relayed to junior employees.
Although operational models of various organizations may differ, the need for correct and precise communication to be disseminated remains key to the successful meeting of any organization’s business goals. That is the reason why having an effective internal communication plan is paramount. Alongside accuracy, an internal communication plan must ensure that information actually reaches employees. By creating an environment with strong personal connections where all employees feel heard, they are more likely to listen to you.
The fundamental goal of most organizations is to turn in a profit. In the quest to meet and exceed bottom lines, initiatives to that end are set by management and hinge on every employees contribution towards that direction to achieve success.
An internal communication plan ensures that all departments and employees at different levels receive communications and understand the direction the company is taking. A solid communication plan also provides a clear layout for consistent, clear communication that keeps employees in the loop about your business’s goals. That puts them in an empowering position where they are able to take right actions that are aligned with achieving those goals.
With everyone pulling in the same, defined direction, it’s more likely that the business outcomes are met and perhaps exceeded.
Benefits of a communication plan
An internal communication plan empowers employees and makes them feel a part of something. In addition to integrating the team for increased productivity, implementing a communication plan can:
1. Create a yardstick for successful implementation
Internal communication plans aid an organization in prioritizing communication strategies and when they should be implemented. They also help measure the value of already implemented communication strategies, and the positive or negative impact they have on the business.
With a plan in place, the internal team has parameters and guidelines that help funnel their efforts on what is most important to the business. An internal communication plan also helps to customize content and delivery methods to suit employees that are computer-based or out in the field.
It is a tool that enables the organization to get vital information to all employees within a short time. The information should also be easy and quick to read. Fast message delivery and short concise information ensure that employees get information promptly.
The whole purpose of adopting an internal communication plan is to improve the collective output of employees while reducing or eliminating the percentage of customers who aren’t satisfied. If a customer’s dissatisfaction is a result of inaccurate information provided by an employee, then such an issue can be resolved through speedy delivery of messages and vital information to front line employees.
It’s important that the information is delivered quickly, but not coldly. Maintaining a sense of personal connection across all messaging increases the likelihood that employees will pay attention.
Such an analysis will help determine if improvements on a current plan are needed or a total overhaul of the plan is necessary.
2. Assess needs across the board
A continuation of the previous step, talking to employees and internal stakeholders ensures that your internal communication plan is guided by the people throughout the organization, and not just the goals of management and leadership. Collect data from all department and all employee levels to make sure that everyone feels heard.
3. Consider the organization’s goal
Regardless of the internal communication plan you choose, it should be aligned with clearly defined organizational goals. An organization that knows its business goals, as well as communication goals, is better placed to choose an internal communication plan that communicates those goals effectively.
Analyzing the kind of audience will not only inform what tactics to employ but also what communications channels to use for maximum impact. While the amount of information disseminated will change depending on the audience and the tone/medium might also change slightly, remember that meaningful connections are important across the board.
4. Time of information release
When preparing internal communication plans, it is vital to consider methods, time, frequency and channels of relaying information to various employee segments. Basically, a business’s communication strategy must be compatible or adaptable to their messaging timeline.
What should an internal communication plan comprise of?
Having considered the above factors, it’s time to look at the elements a business should include in their plan. For that purpose, an internal communication plan template will prove helpful. It helps an organization cover all the internal communication bases while customizing sections in the template to suit their model of communication needs.
For most organizations, a one-size-fits-all internal communication plan may not work. Usually, this is because the employees in different departments and in various company roles may communicate differently. Some might spend more time communicating with clients on the phone, others might use their computer more, and still others might work remotely.
Whereas relaying information via email may work for computer-based employees, it may not work as well for front line employees dealing with customers directly. They simply don’t have the time to check their mail while manning a cashier till or front desk.
However, a messaging method similar to the news feeds such as desktop tickers might work for front line staff. The message text scrolls across the bottom of an employee’s work station so it is highly visible.
The message is short and precise so that even in a busy environment, an employee is able to see time-sensitive time information pertinent to his/her role on time and without fail.
When choosing an internal communication plan, an organization will have to not only consider their audiences but the environments of various employee segments.
But above all, it is vital to create an internal communication plan that keeps everyone in the fold and maintains a personal connection. By communicating adequately and attentively, employees will feel like they’re part of the group.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what an internal communication plan should include.
Based on the goals and objectives set by the company, an internal communication plan should have a way to measure how it impacts business goals and affects employee relationships. This is possible through a number of different analytic tools.
Note: it’s effective only if the organization’s goals are clearly defined. Then, it can show whether company objectives are being met. Positive signs may include:
Positive feedback forms for employees
Improved survey scores
Increased product sale or share value
Better employee retention rates
Improved percentage of employee sign-ups for initiatives
3. Effective communication channels
An internal communication plan that has multiple communication options can help an organization prevent loss of man-hours, improve employee engagement as well as the percentage of customer satisfaction.
One of the key challenges in communication is an overload of information. Not all employees prefer reading long detailed emails from management. Depending on the employee’s job role and environment, they may express that they prefer short and precise messages on alternative channels outside of emails. That is reasonable if they happen to be on the front line of service dealing with customers directly.
Adaptability shows employees you are willing to work with them to suit their needs. An organization will benefit from an internal communication plan that allows multiple communication channels such as the following:
Employee satisfaction questionnaires
Desktop tickers allow instant communication with employees in busy front line environments. The short, concise and visible nature of desktop alerts increases the percentage of employees who’ll see crucial information at the beginning of their shifts. Such alternative channels of communication ensure that employees receive, read and assimilate information that impacts customer satisfaction and company business goals.
Since communication is a two-way street, capturing employees’ feedback on what they feel about certain internal communication strategies will help management evaluate the effectiveness of their plan. Anonymous questionnaires are an effective method of gathering that feedback.
Challenges that an internal communication plan should seek to address
Having established that the business success of an organization hinges on its ability to have a cohesive intra-departmental communication plan, the goal of an effective internal communication plan is to maximize effective communication for all employee levels.
Identifying and resolving communication issues that compromise support staff and front line employees. This can range from company protocol on dealing with prevalent customer issues to something as basic as how to answer the phone.
Reducing the volume of data sent to employees and tailoring message and delivery channels. This will achieve a higher percentage of message reception and assimilation by employees.The subsequent results will translate to a success indicator such as improved customer satisfaction and fewer customer complaints related to the provision of inaccurate information.
These are a few internal communication challenges common to most organizations. Using an internal communication template can help a business cover every angle of its communication needs for better productivity. This plan will optimize targeting and timing of messaging to the right audience.
An effective internal communication plan also helps prevent information overload by tailoring messages to be shorter and precise. Overall, delivering messages through methods that take into consideration the employees environment goes a long way in communicating effectively to employees on time-sensitive issues that affect their role.
Most importantly, an internal communication plan should help businesses fortify personal connection with their employees. Informing them on important matters and maintaining frequent communication will ensure them that they are in the loop, and finding opportunities to get feedback will let them know they are heard. VP Legacies is here to help you with your strategic communication consulting needs. With a three-step process we apply to any aspect of corporate communications, our expertise will help you succeed with better employee retention rates and, as a result, a better business.
Internal Communication Best Practiceshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/image3.png1050700VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/image3.png
Communication is a key ingredient for any business to foster sustainable and scalable growth. Whether with customers, partners or employees, lacking a solid communication strategy makes it difficult to execute even the simplest tasks on a daily basis. It is especially important to build efficient, high-quality communication with internal stakeholders and employees. In order to do this, take an empathetic approach and build personal connections.
Technology is changing by the minute, which means it’s more important than ever for companies to be in touch with business trends, changing expectations and strategic developments. Across the board, employees expect faster and more personal communication – and rightfully so. If your employees are connected through effective internal communication strategies, productivity and morale will increase by an order of magnitude.
At VP Legacies, we develop and deploy strategic communication strategies to help you develop and maintain a strategy for meaningful connections in the workplace. With our experience in meaningful communication and strong personal connections, we’ll walk you through some internal communication best practices you can start implementing today.
Have A Strategy
The absolute first step that a company must take before thinking of internal communication ideas is to develop an overarching strategy. Examine which internal communication workflows and norms are in place right now at your organization, then evaluate their effectiveness or lack thereof.
The mark of an effective strategy for internal communication is a consistent corporate voice and personal attention. If your employees understand your business’s workflow philosophy and you make everyone feel heard, communication becomes easier and sometimes even enjoyable.
Do a gap analysis and figure out the current communication logjams you’re running into.
Without a thorough foundation of the strengths and weaknesses of your current internal communication processes, an organization can’t develop the necessary adjustments to scale impact.
“Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication.” – Dinesh Paliwal
Use The Right Communication Tools
Thanks to technological developments, there are many tools available that are so well established they’re essentially internal communication best practices. The last thing you want is your team performing poorly because of an old-fashioned communication method or process.
Adopt tools like Slack, which are not only easy to use but are designed to streamline the communication process between departments and the entire organization as a whole. Tools give the opportunity for fast personal connections that might otherwise be difficult to initiate and allow horizontal and vertical communication to occur at a rapid pace.
Don’t get caught up in the flurry of tools, however – it’s best to keep them at a minimum and focus on the most essential pieces so employees don’t feel burdened by a steep learning curve. An excess of tools can leave a poor impression on employees, who might think your business is impersonal.
Keep it simple, effective and productive.
No Communication Overload
Too much communication can also be a bad thing for your organization. Employees can’t keep track of regular updates or policy changes that are sent to them every other day – reduce the frequency of internal newsletters while maintaining the effectiveness of the message conveyed. This will not only bring more attention but also increase the level of importance of the message for your employees.
With less communication, you can really take the time to craft thoughtful messages that convey what’s necessary but also remind employees that you care. A thorough, friendly email rather than an onslaught of dense information encourages employees to stay up to date and makes them feel welcome.
Gone are the days when “work” is strictly “work” – the definition of work culture has evolved over the past few years, and so should the internal communication best practices. Don’t hesitate to use an informal or casual tone within your organization comms.
Make your communication visual and easy to read rather than full of jargon that people don’t care about. Foster a feeling of oneness within your organization by allowing employees to communicate and even have some fun while they get some work done.
Cross-Department Communication Is Crucial
It’s a challenging task to monitor and bring together a large team within various departments, by encouraging cross-department communication practices, such as team building activities or Q/A sessions, where people learn more about everyone else’s jobs and how the company functions as a whole will reduce the chances of potential isolation among departments. Employees might even pick up some friends along the way.
Monthly sprint demos for different departments to share work and current development are great ways to maintain context without contributing to information overflow. Discussion-based collaboration helps ease the feeling of pressure and creates a sense of personal connection and shared goals.
One of the major complaints employees have is that no one listens to their problems or appreciates their contributions. If you develop a systematic feedback process where employees have the freedom to express themselves and raise any concerns, they’ll feel like they’re being heard in the organization – a major boost in your internal communication strategy.
The more open and clear the internal communication strategy is, the more valued an employee feels. If you’re sharing the growth of the company with the employees and keeping them updated with all the major updates that you deem necessary, not only will it motivate them to work harder, but it will also create a sense of mutual trust and importance within the organization.
Set And Monitor Realistic Goals
You need to know whether your internal communication practices are having a positive or negative impact on your organization. Set benchmarks and determining factors (i.e real business metrics) upon which the internal communication best practices will be judged upon and track them regularly.
Communication is one of the most difficult practices to optimize at scale, which is why an organization needs to constantly be vigilant about its challenges and processes. Implementing solid internal communication best practices are not only beneficial in the long run for employees, but they’re also a godsend for the organization.
Being clear about the goals of your organization and maintaining a culture of internal communication best practices can have a positive ripple effect within all departments of your organization. It takes practice, trial and error and the will to follow through with the internal communication ideas for an organization to see it come to fruition after a while – which is why many companies shy away from it without realizing the benefits it brings.
Holding pace in this fast-moving corporate world requires that an organization and its employees are on the same page and there is ample motivation, connection, and trust within the organization. This is where a strong internal communication strategy continues to play a crucial role, and will continue to do so for the foreseen future.
VP Legacies is prepared to give you a helping hand for a strong internal communication strategy. From development to implementation and assessment, we offer internal corproate communication consulting, custom eLearning development and employer branding solutions for all forms of internal corporate communication.Related: The Ultimate Guide for Building a Corporate Communication Strategy
Monochronic vs. Polychronic cultures: What are The Differences?https://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/mp.png974636VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/mp.png
At VP Legacies, we’ve tackled various aspects of employee communication from employee retention and best communication strategies. Tap into one of the most important elements of communication contributing to employee satisfaction – time.
In business, establishing a time culture is crucial to the success of the brand or product. To establish a time culture, a business owner needs to study the cultural differences of their environment and adapt accordingly. There are two primary “time cultures” from which to choose – and they permeate corporate culture in deep and intricate ways.
In general, a typical business owner belongs to either of two time cultures: Monochronic or polychronic.
Monochronism and Polychronism: What Does It All Mean?
To understand these two different time cultures and how they contrast, consider the following example at an airport.
A traveler becomes frustrated when the customs official takes too long to stamp their passport and help them pass through the body scanner. The official moves at a slow pace because other team members keep interrupting him, and his phone keeps ringing. The traveler wants the official to finish one task – stamping his passport – before moving on to the next. Instead, the official is trying to complete multiple tasks at once.
The traveler is a classic example of a monochronic person, and the official is polychronic.
In the polychronic culture, employees can work on several tasks simultaneously. Polychronic individuals thrive on carrying out more than one task at the same time as long as they can be executed together with a natural rhythm. For example, it’s perfectly natural for the official to stamp the passport and take a phone call at the same time because these tasks require different parts of the body and different levels of concentration.
The critical difference between the two time cultures is that monochronic cultures value schedules, while polychronic cultures value interpersonal relationships. That is why a monochronic individual will have an alarm to wake up and other gadgets to help keep time.
A polychronic person, on the other hand, will often rely on other people as time cues.
Can You Learn A Time Culture?
It’s certainly possible to acquire a new time orientation; however, it takes time and an open mind. According to research by the Havard Business Review, between 10 to 20 percent of American managers sent by their companies to work abroad had difficulty adjusting to local cultures and norms.
Building a business in a predominantly polychronic or monochronic country may call for a business owner to learn a new time culture. A savvy business person must acclimate to the culture in order to thrive and stay sane. Becoming familiar with the time culture will help with the following –
It may be difficult to adapt to a new time orientation because time holds different values and meanings in each culture. In polychronic cultures, the concept of time is fluid. On the other hand, the concept of time is precise. You can run a business that uses a combination of both approaches to time when applicable, as long as you maintain an open mind and keep everyone on the same page.
The Best Time Culture?
Cultural perception of time varies all over the world. In broad strokes, the “best” time culture depends on the location of the business and that location’s overall time personality. North American and North European countries are monochronic societies where business managers typically divide work schedules into sequential chunks.
Arab, African, South American and Asian countries are typically more accepting of changes in schedules because they are polychronic cultures. However, much of East Asia is a monochronic society.
To maintain a thriving business in a monochronic time culture, the company must emphasize the following elements.
Keeping time is essential for any stakeholder in a project. Not only does the staff arrive to work on time, but they arrive promptly to meetings with clients and other employees. In monochronistic cultures, employees know their schedule ahead of time and organize their week in advance.
One activity at a time
An employee must complete a current task before moving on to the next in a monochronic time system. This holds employees accountable for their time and enables managers to see more easily if employees are completing the necessary tasks. Monochronic time also ensures that employees finish tasks with a high degree of focus and little interruption.
Employees in a monochronic orientation must schedule every task in a calendar or daily planner with a detailed plan and allocated time for completion. Using these tools increases focus and efficiency while minimizing time wastage in projects. Investing in time management tools like Trello, Asana, and Scoro, among others, is crucial to completing tasks on time.
Short term relationships
The company expects every relationship between employees to serve the purpose of reaching an objective that one employee cannot meet alone. People in monochronistic cultures prefer engaging in short term connections for particular transactions. These relationships are sustained within a specified time frame and end when the business goal is met.
At VP Legacies, we discourage short-term relationships even in a monochronic work environment. By building strong relationships and fostering personal connection, you can develop rapport between employees and effective collaboration when necessary so that future tasks can be executed more efficiently.
Since managers assign particular tasks to each individual on a project, personal achievement becomes a primary goal in monochronic culture. Completing tasks within a given time frame and adhering to the culture of scheduled events indicates that an employee is performing well. Group work remains a part of every work environment, but for monochronistic companies, it’s only in the context of all individuals accomplishing specific project tasks on time.
As VP Legacies, we believe that individual accomplishment is important, but the contributions and impacts of a supporting team must also be valued and taken into account.
Everyone must adhere to deadlines at all costs in a monochronic orientation. Meeting deadlines promptly shows that an employee is conscious of their clients’ time, as well as the busy lives of their fellow employees. Monochronistic culture encourages showing respect for other people’s schedules. There are more deadlines, so this method of working is primarily task oriented.
On the other hand, a company operating in a polychronic society is used to:
Human interaction and personal connection
Human interaction and personal connection fosters a sense of belonging in the company. The employees will strive to accomplish their set tasks for the day while also allowing for interactions like borrowing office items or catching up on work or personal issues. Consistent flow of information among members of the team also means everyone knows each other’s tasks and can help where possible.
In a polychronic business culture, interaction is king.
Working as a group takes the stress off individuals and makes room for multi-tasking. Polychronic organizations often employ a flat management structure, allowing (and often encouraging) workers to jump across their typical job function and contribute to supporting their peers.
A holistic approach
The success of a project is measured holistically, rather than on a task-by-task basis. With polychronic time, everyone pulls together to accomplish the tasks of the day, so an individual who completes their part will move on to help others. While tasks might take longer to complete, the more leisurely pace also contributes to the positive mental health of employees.
Time is flexible, and work merges with personal time. An employee may be working on a task while on the phone talking to another member of the team to share information. Does that mean the quality of work is compromised with polychronic time? Not necessarily, since employees usually multi-task when performing more mundane functions. When working on multiple, more complicated projects concurrently, they can go back and review their work.
High context communication
Polychronic people tend to communicate crucial information with a lot of accompanying background information. There is an emphasis on the tone of voice and visible communication cues like raising of eyebrows or clicking of the tongue. High context communication believes in sharing every bit of information. In the case of training, learning happens in groups as opposed to individual training.
Long term relationships
Whether they are between employees or with clients, long term relationships are crucial to the success of a business in polychronic societies. These relationships develop over time to foster trust and friendship, making it easier and less stressful to strike business deals. There is no specific time frame to create a relationship, which is why this is harder to do in a time-based, monochronic environment. In polychronic cultures, a clear objective can help expedite the growth of a positive business relationship.
The time culture conflict arises when companies begin to tap into the local workforce abroad, where standard employee practices differ. However, it is possible to have a predominant time culture and tap into the other as needed. To make a combination of polychronic and monochronic time work, a company should focus on the following:
Making no assumptions about business partners and employees
Becoming flexible and open to the culture around
Tapping into the different strengths of team members
Communicating the exact requirements of a project and the goals, and
Building teams that work efficiently together.
Employees at the same company might see things differently, even if they have the same time orientation. A closed-door office might seem unfriendly and off-putting to an employee who is used to an open plan office space. With a little consideration, everyone can feel at home in the same environment.
The monochronic and polychronic conflict can be solved with an agile corporate communication strategy. Continuously evaluate how you should interact with employees and customers throughout your organization and the world. Using a corporate communication strategy you will be able to properly merge and utilize the monochronic and polychronic time cultures to connect with your people.
Consider Past Time Orientation
Many polychronic cultures have strong traditional values that dictate the way employees carry out day-to-day functions. These traditions do not adhere to time and schedules, but contribute to an overall corporate identity. On the other hand, the methodical ways of monochronic cultures allows for time efficiency.
A business can thrive in either culture with the right amount of tweaking, an open mind, and a new approach to time and order. A business should consider their goals over the period of a month, several months, and a year, and adapt aspects of both monochronic and polychronic cultures where they best fit. Adapting a flexible time culture for your company that works for employees can maximize efficiency and make employees feel valued. Once you and your executives reach a decision about the best time culture and have received ample feedback, roll out internal communication that makes your time model clear. If your employees are satisfied with a robust, well-thought out time culture, they are more likely to stay at your company and communicate positive reviews externally to boost future hiring.
Crisis Management for Businesseshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cm.png974638VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/cm.png
Whether it’s a small-scale error or a company-wide occurrence, mistakes happen and moments of crisis are common.
A crisis can result in significant economic consequences and damage to a company’s brand. Mitigating this can be a long and expensive process. Plus the more parties there are involved, the much higher the stakes are. It is important to keep employees and shareholders happy, so executives should structure and manage their company in such a way that crises are less likely to occur.
This is why every business needs a crisis management plan in place, regardless of its size. These preventative measures lessen the likelihood of a crisis and, in case there is one, ensure that the right protocols exist to minimize further damage.
The key component of a crisis management plan is effective communication. To implement an overall crisis plan, it is vital to consider a strategy for both internal and external communication. While managing a crisis, your company needs to control the flow of information to ensure that key stakeholders understand what is happening without gaining access to excess details that could potentially cause liabilities.
But even the best planning with the best crisis communication isn’t fool-proof. Both internal and external factors can cause a business crisis. They can be small issues that grow over time or sudden issues with an immediate threat, such as a data breach. In either case, a crisis can significantly disrupt a company’s ability to carry out daily functions normally. It might put the entire health of the company at significant risk with permanent long-term effects.
Any event that might negatively affect a business in the short or long run can be classified as a crisis. It needs to be managed according to a Crisis Management strategy and plan.
What Is Crisis Management?
For any business crisis, Crisis Management is the term for resolving a negative impact on a company. Crisis management and crisis response mean preventing further damage while allowing the business to recover quickly from any damage.
Crisis Management involves confronting the issue and those involved directly, as well as managing its ripple effects with various stakeholders and public relations entities. To maintain personal connections with stakeholders and minimize damage to relationships, build a communication strategy that keeps everyone feeling informed and assured.
Why Is Crisis Management Important?
Crisis management is an important strategy, which is why plans to manage a crisis can be both costly and detrimental to a business. A crisis management strategy also holds companies liable for any wrongdoings and restores the public’s trust. In one famous PR crisis, the management of one Starbucks location called the police on two African-American men who did not order anything, and said they were waiting for a friend. The men were arrested. Rather than ignore complaints or defend their actions, Starbucks issued an apology and closed its United States locations for one day to conduct anti-bias training. This internal communication strategy helped employees understand the gravity of the personnel crisis and sent the external message that Starbucks would do better to eliminate racial bias.
Types of Crisis Management
There are three categories of Crisis Management that exist in an organization:
Responsive Crisis Management involves having an action plan ready for handling various types of crises that may affect a business. These plans are designed to be acted upon immediately. They should include clear guidelines and protocols on what to do, who to involve, and crisis response to outside entities. Responsive plans generally concern rare but somewhat predictable financial or crises with employees.
A communication strategy for responsive crisis management will focus on internal stakeholders, ensuring that they know how to respond to safety and liability issues as well as how to communicate externally with other stakeholders who may be affected. This communication strategy may not require frequent contact or excessive details, since you cannot predict exactly how a crisis may unfold.
Proactive Crisis Management is also about anticipating potential future issues and having plans in place to prevent them. However, these plans are generally about crises that are easy to prepare for but difficult to control ahead of time. For example, companies avoid accidents by ensuring that employees follow safety protocols. Companies examine safety studies and put protocols in place in the case of a natural disaster. These forms of crisis management and early crisis control may involve actively monitoring signs of crises forming in early stages.
Proactive crisis management is another process that requires long-term corporate communication. Employees must be informed about safety protocols from the moment they start working at your company. Both employees and executives should frequently be updated on changes in regulations and protocol.
Reactive Crisis Management focuses on damage minimization during later phases of crisis. It’s the third form of crisis management that covers the unknown and involves protocols put in place that can be applied to any type of crisis that doesn’t have a dedicated plan in place. This type of crisis management is the hardest to solve and the most complex, since it covers an unknowable number of unpredictable risks for a business.
Since reactive crisis management must occur quickly, it is important to implement a communication strategy that is concise and action-oriented. While rebuilding long-term professional or client relationships is also a key component, a clear and concise plan for primary actors involved in the crisis management plan must take priority.
Types of Crises to Be Prepared For
There are many crises a business needs to be prepared for. Here are a few common forms:
Any accident within an organization will need crisis management and streamlined crisis communication. For example, a fire at the head office or manufacturing plant can result in employee injuries and a shutdown of operations. These severe accidents can also be a PR crisis if the origin of the problem turns out to be negligence in enforcing safety standards, in which case crisis response to the media dictates how long the problem will last.
Rebuilding relationships with employees is as important as rebuilding relationships with external stakeholders, if not more so. Communicate with employees to regain their trust so that they know future accidents will be minimized, and so that they are aware of potential compensation. This step will dictate the way media and external stakeholders will view your company, and you can proceed by admitting culpability and summarizing how you’ll take action.
Natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, and floods can have long-lasting impacts on a business. They can result in extensive damage to infrastructure and shut down day to day operations for a long period of time. Crisis communication during early crisis phases is especially important in preventing injuries.
For natural disasters, personnel look to you in order to figure out what to do. It is important to communicate with employees in a calm manner to ensure that they feel safe. Since you will often have to share difficult news about budget cuts and potential job losses, deploy information with as much compassion as possible and avoid using too much automation to get out this messaging.
With many organizations turning to increasingly complex systems to run critical workflows and operations, technology disasters are proving to be the most common, expensive, and ill-prepared crises a business might face. These crises might be due to malevolent security breaches and hacks that disrupt technology-powered operations. They might be cyber-crime security breaches. Technology crises might also come in the form of system-wide outages due to internal overuse or improper use of tools.
Employ a rapidfire communication strategy with channels that can reach everyone with as much speed as possible. This will ensure that none of the employees exacerbate the issue at hand and maximize their own security before the problem is fixed.
Conflict of Interest
Even political and regulatory issues can lead to a crisis. Any conflict of interest can lead to a business crisis if it wasn’t identified earlier on, and can result in damage to an organization’s brand. Regulatory missteps can also be crises if policies are breached blatantly. These crises originate from poor communication between departments within a company, and can be easily prevented if companies take steps to integrate business operations.
Since conflicts of interests can leave clients and partners feeling overlooked, it is important to maintain a sense of personal connection with these stakeholders. Communicate with them in person to execute damage control due to political issues. For regulatory issues, issue out messaging in the most time-efficient channels.
Public perception issues
Many businesses face media or public relations issues such as the spread of false rumors or product issues when used by consumers in the market. Keep in mind that PR crises might also arise as a byproduct as another kind of crisis. True or false, all allegations need to be appropriately managed and addressed so that the PR crisis doesn’t cause long-lasting damage to the business.
Issues of public perception usually require a more comprehensive communication plan that uses multiple forms of messaging. This may include press releases, interviews, and even ad campaigns. First, make sure that everyone in the company who is communicating to outside parties understands the strategy and voice you choose to implement.
When certain assets lose value or a business cannot pay its debt, financial crisis might ensue. A business needs to be prepared for sudden market shifts or competitor threats, even if they are in good financial standing. Prepare employees for financial issues with anticipatory messaging so that budget cuts do not come as a surprise.
Employees or other related stakeholders that carry out unethical or illegal behavior in a work-related interaction are a threat to a business. For example, employees sometimes leave a business office with intellectual or confidential material, and share it with a third party for personal gain or even by mistake. In such cases, guidelines need to be in place on how to handle these issues, who to contact, and what communication to disseminate internally and to the public. To provide crisis control for this particular example, many companies have employees sign non-disclosure agreements.
It is important to communicate directly with someone who breaches protocol so that they understand the damage they have caused. If an employee feels threatened by someone, ensure that they feel safe by communicating with them one-on-one.
Have a Crisis Management Plan in Place
Developing a Crisis Management Plan is an essential step in crisis control for a business.
This plan lays out a way for employees in an organization to classify a crisis and then follow the relevant process or steps to managing the crisis and communicate to employees. Some companies even have a designated crisis manager.
The crisis control plan is developed to have any proactive measures in place that can prevent the crisis from developing, and any active monitoring sequences in place. If a crisis occurs, the plan provides the guidelines to mitigate any damage and ensure recovery as fast as possible.
Here are some guidelines for drafting a good crisis management plan:
Training and refresher courses on how to handle the crisis should be outlined. Examples include fake fire drills or disaster response exercises that the business must perform. It should also include specialized training for those directly involved with managing the crisis, and mandatory recertifications.
Plans should include clear and detailed steps to follow during a crisis. This is important, and a business needs to act fast. This is why the steps have to be clear and without ambiguity.
Outline any relevant tools or systems that can be used to monitor an impending crisis and manage the aftermath. For example, building fire systems that need to be operated in the event of a fire.
Relevant external contacts should be listed. This should be contact information such as the Police, Emergency Medical Service, SEC, etc. It’ll depend on the type of crisis at hand.
A communication plan should be included here and list out any mass communication that should be sent out to employees and external media to ensure no rumors or misinformation is spread.
Communication strategy functions on two levels in a crisis management plan. First of all, the crisis management plan itself often involves communication to external media outlets. Second of all, and more importantly, effective communication is required throughout the entire process to ensure that all of the employees know what to do. An effective communication plan will ensure that personal connections and long-lasting relationships with your employees can whether the storm of any crisis.
All businesses should have a crisis management plan in place regardless of size. The dangers can be catastrophic, both monetarily or even physically – leading to loss of life. As a result, it’s important that any potential hazards are planned for and considered by using proper crisis risk protocol. Handling crises will also avoid any permanent negative effects on the business and any punitive or criminal issues from external authorities after the crisis is over.
Communication during a crisis is highly important. To help you figure out an effective way to relay information during and before a crisis, VP Legacies can help you build an effective corporate communication strategy. After finding your pains and gains, we’ll provide custom-built solutions that will help you be able to communicate in any scenario, including the very worst of crises.
The Ultimate Guide to Building a Corporate Communication Strategyhttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/TheultimateGuidetoBuildingaCorporateCummincationStrategy_Hero.jpg19201144VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/TheultimateGuidetoBuildingaCorporateCummincationStrategy_Hero.jpg
Corporate communication issues are not a rare problem. In fact, the cost of poor communication in businesses has globally reached over $37 billion per year. That’s a substantial problem to have.
Communication strategies litter the internet, but few of them are actual lucrative solutions. Fixing a corporate communication issue is not a quick or simple process– it takes research, strategy, and time.
If you’re looking for an in-depth guide to addressing and solving communication issues in a business, you’re in luck. We put together a guide to building a corporate communication strategy to suit your own business, so you can reach your communication goals.
There are several aspects of building a core corporate communication strategy: Pre-drafting information and research, actually creating the strategy, and taking the time to examine examples of excellent communication strategies for inspiration and further research.
How to Build a Core Strategy for Communication
These steps should be considered regardless of your corporation’s industry:
1. Identify and prioritize your business executives’ key goals
Start this step by understanding what each executive in your company sees in the company’s future, and what they’re really invested in. The best way to discover and collect this information is by conducting individual interviews with as many of your top-level management as possible, as well as the C-Suite. Ask these executives to clearly identify their top priorities for the next year and take the time to make sure everyone is in sound agreement as to the message they want to put out.
2. Conduct in-depth employee surveys
Your business’ employees are at the forefront of your company and are the backbone of the business as a whole. Their perception of the company and your brand is key to how others perceive your brand. This is also how brand ambassadors are made. When developing an effective corporate communications strategy, you will need to make sure that this group’s voices are heard. Their responses will ultimately dictate the best way to communicate with them as a whole. Take advantage of surveys to get employees involved and get their feedback.
3. Research your stakeholders’ input
If stakeholders, shareholders, and investors are communicating something that isn’t very confident or exciting for your business’ success and upcoming plans, the communications strategy you create must fix that perception as quickly as possible. Stakeholders are absolutely the most vital part of your business, and it is very important to communicate with them in a way that is most effective for their interests.
Suppliers that work with your business should also be brought into the mix when gathering information for your strategic corporate messaging. Do your suppliers believe that being affiliated with your business is beneficial to their own business? If the answer is yes, you’re in the clear– but ask them what they are enjoying the most about working with your company. Use that valuable feedback to not only add structure to your vendor and supplier relationships but also to use as part of your corporate communication strategy.
All of this research and interviewing processes are incredibly valuable. With these new insights into what your employees, executives, suppliers, and stakeholders want and prefer, you now know what your corporate communications strategy needs to set out to do– and where it will really fit in the broader framework of the company.
The next step would be to build an essential “roadmap” of the strategy. Before you jump into the diagnosis and guiding policies, you’ll need to figure out how to arrive at these concepts. Ask yourself: What are the biggest problems that the strategy will ultimately diagnose and hopefully cure? Who is going to be the ultimate deciding factor in establishing this diagnosis? Will everyone who needs to agree, actually agree on the strategy or “treatment”?
For smaller brands and corporations, this is often easy to do. For bigger companies, it can be a bit more complicated.
Executives on the C-level as well as the board level should be motivated but also challenged by your business’ corporate communication team to make good use of the vision for the purpose of management. The vision, in this sense, shouldn’t be a mess– it needs to be solidified and sensible. This is the responsibility of all of your executives as a team. If your executives are focused mainly on one goal, then it is partly their responsibility to form a solid vision. Once this is accomplished, the business’ corporate communication team can deliver that solid communication that is needed.
These tips may not be ideal for all businesses but are worth considering when drafting your strategy.
1. Look at other corporate communication strategies online from successful businesses
1. Look at other corporate communication strategies online from successful businesses
It may be worth looking at some examples of excellent communication strategies in order to get inspired or possibly use their strategy as a starting template. Keep in mind that communication problems are often very unique to their specific company– using a carbon copy plan will definitely not work and the research will still need to be done.
2. Identify what your key metrics are in order to track for the best outcome
Just like most other aspects of your company, your internal communication strategy can and should be thoroughly analyzed for success. To do this, you will need to gather the basic key metrics that can show you if your current strategy is actually working the way it should. Statistics found around your corporate communications can show you if your employees actually use your intranet or other communication tools provided.
This research also shows how employees are using your tools and if you’re able to reach them in the process. This ultimately means you can pick apart your strategy and learn more about what aspects and areas need more strategic attention and what can be let go as a whole. If you’re a startup without an established corporate communication strategy, then this doesn’t apply to you.
3. Set goals that make sense and are realistic, as well as timelines
Setting realistic goals that make sense for your company will help you properly and accurately estimate the level of difficulty and projected time investment of integrating and establishing your strategy. This way, you can make more efficient and worthwhile steps closer to updating your corporate communications effectively. You can do this by looking at the previous metrics and making notes of where you think you can make an instant impact through attentive change.
When it comes to timelines, they should be effective. You could try to conduct surveys to see what information or data is too excessive and unnecessary for the business. Ask questions like:
Which areas are working efficiently, why are those areas working efficiently, and what needs immediate improvement?
How quickly do I want to reach my business goals for the company?
What communication tools, platforms, and strategies are available given my organization’s size, needs, and goals for what employees should be doing?
Whatever answers you get can make it much clearer what your corporate communications strategy is supposed to actually accomplish. These goals can be a sort of blueprint if you will.
Obviously, there is a need for a corporate communications strategy because internal relationships and personal connections are important for a business to run smoothly. One way you can create improved internal communications is by remembering and actively practicing this mantra: Be with someone, not their problem. This approach tends to put more of an emphasis on the business relationship and personal connection as an organic living thing– a good relationship involves being present, listening, and wanting to maintain a connection. When a personal connection is established, it becomes much easier to resolve conflicts between employees or executives and avoid them altogether.
The real goal of corporate communications strategies is to make miscommunication between all members of an enterprise virtually non-existent.
4. Use collaboration tools and actively encourage their use
If you’re juggling way too many projects within a team that has a significant amount of team members, just using email for communication isn’t always the most effective thing to do. Luckily, there is quite a massive amount of collaboration tools out there that are useful, effective, and relatively inexpensive. Some collaboration tools to consider implementing into your strategy include Trello, Slack, Asana, Flowdock, WebEx, Dapulse, ProofHub, and Redbooth to name a few.
It may even improve employee communication even more by completely removing email as a means of corporate correspondence. Using a collaboration tool of the digital workspace may be the better mode of communication that serves as a “one-stop dashboard” for all communication needs. A couple of popular digital workspaces include Microsoft Teams, RingCentral Glip, Beekeeper, FWI, and Interact Software.
5. Actively participate in your teams– even if you’re the CEO
6. Align your corporate communications strategy to goals and metrics
This is definitely easier to do naturally in small businesses, where it is easy to know the entire team personally. In bigger companies, this can be a bit tougher to successfully do. Still, a part of your corporate communication strategy should include your own responsibility to communicate effectively with the whole of your company. The best way to improve success rates is to be a part of the team yourself. Nobody is really interested in listening to the man or woman in the ivory tower, especially when we’re looking at tech companies. You will not be able to effectively communicate with your employees or build any rapport by avoiding them like the plague. Learn how your executives and colleagues communicate with one another and try your best to adapt to that style of communication. It is definitely possible to maintain your authority and communicate effectively with your company’s backbone at the same time.
7. Align your corporate communications strategy to goals and metrics
Take a well-thought-out and strategic approach to employee communications that implement a communication strategy that aligns with your brand’s business goals. Targeting communications to relevant foundational employees by using target audiences, managers, and communicators will ultimately enable you to facilitate more substantial and more engaging employee communications within your business.
It’s vital to not forget to build metrics and analytics into your corporate communication strategy in order to evaluate the strategy’s success. Subjective methods such as employee surveys are always useful and definitely need to be a part of your strategy, but your research shouldn’t only rely on them.
8. Make your company culture a culture of communication
Improving corporate communications, especially employee communications, will always start with the business making a conscious and passionate decision to create a culture of communication throughout the entirety of the company. This ultimately involves committing to transparency as an executive or CEO and putting systems and practices in place that support continuous dialog between employees and their management teams.
The power of dialogue and conversation can absolutely transform a company’s culture and ultimately the business’ financial results. A workforce that is communicating effectively with produce better output and improve the business overall. This is the purpose of a corporate communications strategy, but that strategy will be useless if those in charge don’t commit to creating a culture in real life, not just on paper.
Building a corporate communication strategy is essential if you want your business to succeed. Connect with VP Legacies to learn how to apply these strategies and more, while increasing your employee and customer retention.
10 Ways to Reduce Employee Turnover in 2019https://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/10-Ways-to-Reduce-Employee-Turnover-in-2019.jpg19201144VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/10-Ways-to-Reduce-Employee-Turnover-in-2019.jpg
High employee turnover can be extremely costly and detrimental to an organization. It’s normal to encounter some level of turnover in an organization due to reasons such as retirement. However, turnover due to other reasons, such as poor employee morale, is not good and should be fixed.
A higher than normal amount of turnover is usually one of the first signs there are significant issues in an organization, and if it’s ignored can lead to even further issues such as a decline in workforce productivity. All of this will eventually trickle down into affecting the bottom line.
In short, turnover can’t be ignored and won’t go away without intervention. It’s essential that you improve your communication strategies, amongst other things to take action to limit your employee turnover.
Management studies on reducing turnover are plenty. In this post, we’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.
We’ll distill the many mitigation techniques out there and go through some easy and practical ways of reducing employee turnover.
1. Analyze Turnover
The first step in reducing employee turnover is getting a good grasp of how it’s happening and more importantly, why.
This means keeping track of how many employees are leaving an organization in a given year and how these numbers compare with the years before. If there’s been a sudden spike one year, look into why this might be the case. Did a major event happen that year such as an acquisition by a bigger company? Where is the turnover happening? If it’s only within a specific department, was there a new leader hired there that may be causing issues?
Qualitative insights also help. This is where implementing practices such as exit interviews can be very beneficial.
Most employees that have decided to leave an organization are willing to state why. Be sure that these exit interviews are conducted by an unbiased party such as an HR practitioner and are done confidentially so anyone who reads the takeaways from the interview won’t know who the interviewee was.
Establishing monthly employee surveys can also help raise red flags to leadership if employee morale is sinking, and there’s a chance of high turnover happening. It’s important these surveys are anonymous when completed and isn’t collected at a level where employees or managers handling the data could determine who might have completed it.
Monthly employee surveys are a great preventative measure in flagging potential turnover before it happens.
2. Don’t shy away from praise and recognition
The next tactic to reducing employee turnover is quite simple, low-effort, but very effective.
Make sure employees, managers, and the overall company culture value the practice of giving recognition and praise.
If employees are doing a great job, submit an excellent deliverable, or have gone above and beyond in any way – recognize them for this in front of their colleagues. Or if certain events have happened such as the colleagues being promoted or certain milestones being met by a team during a project, recognize them for the work done.
Praise doesn’t always have to be public. It can also be privately done and still be effective. Take employees out for coffee and let know their hard is work is appreciated.
Don’t go overboard with this and only give praise when employees genuinely deserve this.
Praise is a great way to reduce turnover. Employees will feel like their hard work is being noticed and appreciated – boosting their morale.
3. Show employees the end goal and how to get there
Feeling a sense of progress is critical towards employees feeling fulfilled in their jobs.
This means if they think they’ve stayed stagnant in a particular position and begin to get bored of their job – they’ll start looking elsewhere for new opportunities.
Luckily, this one’s easily avoidable by ensuring that there are clearly defined roles and career progression in an organization.
By formally establishing these and communicating it with employees, they’ll start to understand what’s the next step in their time here and what might be the tasks they need to show they’ve accomplished in order to progress to the next level.
This doesn’t always been dishing out a promotion. Sometimes this can be adding more responsibility to their current role or rotating them across different functions to keep things interesting.
Keep career paths transparent, detailed, and supplementing this with regular performance reviews. This means employees will know what to work on to get to the next level and progress through the company – instead of leaving for the competition.
4. Let employees manage their own time
The next trick to reducing employee turnover is simply providing them with autonomy. When it comes to their daily tasks, this may be hard due to a lack of experience, but freedom and independence in how they manage their time to completing work on their plate are surely doable!
Provide employees as much freedom to set their own schedule, and even where they work from. Introduce options such as work-from-home days, and flexible work hours so that it’s not mandatory for them to be in-office, 8 hours, 5 days a week.
Employees can pick a work schedule that’s optimal for them but also gets work done effectively. Having the option to do this might keep them in the organization cause ultimately, there’s no price one can set on freedom.
5. Pay employees well and offer bonuses
Money matters. And this means employees want to feel like they are compensated well or else they’ll leave.
Make sure annual salary reviews are in place and that compensation is benchmarked with the market rate and to what competitors offer.
This can extend beyond just base salary to include other benefits such as bonuses. Make it attractive and it doesn’t all have to be monetary. Pairing market salary along with flexible work-at-home policies can shrink turnover as employees start to value the flexibility over more pay elsewhere but restricted to being in the office all the time.
6. Align values and purpose
Everyone want’s to feel a sense of purpose to what they’re doing. This is the same at work.
Communicate to employees what it is the organization is striving to achieve, and why their contributions matter. This doesn’t have to be altruistic. The effort just needs to go into helping employees see the purpose in what they’re doing. The key is being able to articulate a company’s purpose in a way that connects.
This might sound complicated. But to keep it actionable, translate this down by ensuring managers communicate the bigger context of what their direct reports do.
An analyst helping crunch numbers in an excel sheet just needs to know that this analysis is going towards identifying bottlenecks in the shipping process – which in turn could be fixed and speed up delivery times for customers. It can be that simple and be enough to give an employee a sense of purpose in the work they are doing.
7. Check-in with employees often
This trick is all about habit and it can be implemented in a fairly easy way within an organization.
Simply ensure that time is carved out for direct reports to have casual conversations about how their job is going with their managers. Make this mandatory for managers to schedule into calendars on a recurring basis with every direct report. Keep them accountable by measuring such practices and making it a part of their annual performance reviews.
This should be a casual check-in for 30 min. or an hour and involves going for coffee or a walk to ask how things are going. This practice alone can be hugely beneficial in making a frustrated employee who’s a flight-risk feel heard and reconsider leaving.
8. Create a rewarding culture
Although rewarding for a job well done is great and much needed. Most often, employees want more than that. They want their time with a company to be more than just work so it’s important to create a sense of culture.
This means hosting regular ‘after work’ events such as having managers gather everyone to go for drinks nearby. Or having monthly team lunches that allows everyone to get together.
Cheeky traditions at work also help such as telling employees to dress up in whacky costumes during Halloween or creating a fantasy football league for employees to participate in.
All this boosts camaraderie and makes the work team feel more like family. Leaving your ‘family’ for a job somewhere else is a lot harder to do and starts to reduce turnover!
Moreover, having a team that’s well bonded also means they’ll be more comfortable in voicing any issues that creep up proactively. This allows an organization to address any problem quickly before leaving their job becomes the only solution.
Though hiring the right employees who are a good fit for an organization is important in reducing turnover. The other often overlooked aspect is hiring or training up good people managers.
Some employees can be high performers that excel at their work but can be horrible people managers who don’t really know how to lead, develop, and instill a sense of culture in their teams. They may often prioritize actual work over activities such as hosting check-ins with their employees to see how they are doing. Because of this, direct reports to some of these managers may have no issue with the company but hate their boss so much they decide to leave.
To fix this, if hiring for managers, be sure to vet their people management skills thoroughly, and if promoting from within, be sure to train them on effective people management!
10. Make wellness a key priority
Tackling a sudden spike in turnover can seem daunting, but there are simple, habitual strategies that can do wonders in reducing turnover in an organization. Take our suggestions above and put together a task team to apply it to a company. Remember, high turnover left unchecked can be disastrous in the long-run.
Tackling a sudden spike in turnover can seem daunting, but there are simple, habitual strategies that can do wonders in reducing turnover in an organization. Take our suggestions above and put together a task team to apply it to a company. Remember, high turnover left unchecked can be disastrous in the long-run.
What is the Best Strategy for CEO Communication?https://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/What-is-the-Best-Strategy-for-CEO-Communication.jpg19201144VP LegaciesVP Legacieshttps://vplegacies.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/What-is-the-Best-Strategy-for-CEO-Communication.jpg
Dedicated CEOs want to be able to learn new things about their role and how they can become better at their jobs.
Many CEOs attend seminars, invest in workshops, and look up to other established business owners for mentorship. While all of these are great initiatives to take, there are also some tried and true tips out there that all CEOs should try out on their own.
Luckily, there are a number of things a CEO can do to improve their communication skills as well as other aspects of their jobs. We’re going to cover the top tips for CEOs to use to get the most out of their roles.
But first, let’s look at some core definitions in order to really establish who can benefit from these tips below.
What is a CEO?
A chief executive officer, also known as a CEO, is the highest-ranking executive in any given enterprise or company. A CEO’s primary responsibilities typically include making major corporate decisions, managing the business’ operations, managing the business resources of a company, acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors (also simply known as “the board”) and corporate operations. A CEO may also deal with shareholders and stakeholders directly, depending on the size or type of business the CEO works for. A CEO is typically elected by the board and its shareholders.
Essentially, the CEO is the public face of the business. Because of this, CEOs have a responsibility of being optimum communicators and demonstrate a positive representation of the company.
What Does a CEO Do?
A CEO’s role tends to vary from one business to another, significantly depending on the business’ size, company culture, and overall corporate structure. In massive enterprises or corporations, CEOs will typically deal only with very high-level decisions and strategies, as well as decisions that direct the business’ overall growth. In smaller businesses or startups, CEOs often are more involved and work directly with the daily functions of the business. CEOs are representatives as “the face” of the company, so they are responsible for setting the tone, vision, and even the internal culture of their businesses.
Because of their frequent interactions with the public, namely fans, brand ambassadors, and customers, sometimes the Chief Executive Officers of bigger corporations become essential celebrities. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Inc., for example, is a well-known name today and has a substantial social media presence online. Similarly, Bill Gates, the principal founder and former CEO of Microsoft Corporation has become a household name and has been featured in numerous documentaries and feature films.
This infamy can be both good and bad. If a CEO does not have ideal communication skills or a clean public image, it can impact the company that the CEO represents. Having a strategy for CEO communication and knowing when and how to properly leverage the CEO’s credibility and presence through social media is something all CEOs should be concerned with. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a ton of tips for navigating the world of CEO communication and CEO communications best practices.
1. Consider your office as a projection of yourself
The CEO’s office is the home base– where massive decisions for a company often happen, interviews may occur, and clients or business partners may meet. One way to communicate the quality of one’s business is to make that home base as welcoming and aesthetically pleasing as possible. Not the typical sterile, white, messy CEO office that many business executives tend to have.
The coolest CEO offices are open spaces with plenty of seating, which gives it the feel of being a social and well-used space. A CEO’s office should also include objects, furniture, decor, and imagery that inspires them. These items can be directly related to the company they work for.
2. Keep an eye on your posture
Posture can affect a lot about a person’s presentation. It can affect their voice, especially if they are leaning against something, hunching their shoulders, or slouching in a chair. As a CEO, you need to have a room-commanding voice that is capable of getting attention and inspiring listeners– be they stakeholders, company fans at a speech, or partners in a meeting.
One way to improve your posture is to bear your weight on the balls of your feet and to keep your feet close to shoulder-width apart. Strengthening one’s core can also improve posture.
3. Be aware of your pitch and tone when you speak, especially when giving speeches
Numerous studies have deduced that pitch has been directly linked to business success– something that may seem bizarre to many CEOs. However, the command of one’s voice as the representative of a business can reflect how “powerful” that company actually is. Human beings love to categorize things visually, and something as large and conceptual as an enterprise is difficult to categorize. Putting a face and a voice to a company makes it easier to categorize it as powerful or weak. This is why a CEO’s voice needs to have the pitch and tone of what we consider a “powerful” voice.
Male CEOs that have low-pitched voices tend to have more success. Though researchers are currently still exploring the connection between voices and positive business image, pitch and tone have a clear effect on verbal communication on the part of CEOs.
4. Consider starting a CEO blog
Blogs can be an authentic channel for communication, so it’s worth considering starting up a blog as a CEO. Blogs can provide a somewhat more personal look into what life is like running a business, as well as “behind the scenes” look into what goes on at the business itself.
A blog can also promote brand loyalty by giving dedicated customers something to look forward to on a regular basis. A blog can provide customers with a compelling reason to engage with your brand after you’ve guided them through your blog posts.
Keep in mind that it would be wise to regularly update this blog so that brand ambassadors and fans will know when to check-in.
5. Always show off your personality
It’s your job as a CEO to engage your listeners and get them excited about your company. However, people are all different and have different interests and preferences, which can make connecting with them as a CEO a challenge.
When it comes down to it, people don’t want a rehearsed, cookie-cutter scripted speech. They want you to cater to them and their personalities, but they also want to experience someone who is real. Extend yourself, along with your authentic personality, and inject those aspects of yourself into your communication style in videos, blogs, social media posts, or interviews to connect with your audience better.
Authenticity is often overlooked by CEOs, and it certainly makes sense why. Being a CEO involves a significant amount of work and it may be exhausting or time-consuming to essentially perform for one’s customer base. However, it’s vital for CEOs to project a positive image of themselves as people as well as the avatar of the company. Being honest about who you are and letting your authentic self shine through is a great way to communicate with more authenticity to your audience.
6. Practice your communication skills, even if you think you’re a communication pro
Communication can be learned, but it is a skill. Skills can only improve if one practices regularly and takes it very seriously. If you’re a CEO that isn’t exactly perfect at verbal communication, there are a number of techniques to build your ability to effectively communicate up:
Practice active listening and always take the time to listen first and speak later.
Open up your body language to be more confident, comfortable, and secure.
Practice storytelling to improve your speeches. You want to be able to personally connect with the audience.
Be genuinely kind and don’t be afraid to put yourself on different levels.
Always accept feedback and even go out of your way to solicit feedback from your employees.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. Nobody is captivated by someone who is a robot– a good CEO will not be afraid to be real and honest with their audience.
Learn how to adapt to different styles of communication for different audiences. For example, learn about the cultural faux pas about communicating with Japanese businesspeople before attending a meeting with them, rather than sticking to what you’re used to with American businesspeople.
Remember that communication methods should not be stagnant– they’re always growing and the way people communicate in any given culture is constantly changing.
7. Offer prompts for communication, rather than questions
Turning declarative prompts into actual questions is a surefire way to miscommunicate. It is really critical to be as direct as possible when communicating with your audience.
For example: A typical CEO or boss may say “Can you get the report to me soon? It’s really important and I’m going to need is as soon as possible.” This comes off as a little aggressive and more of a command than an opener for a conversation. It’s also fairly open-ended without a deadline to help your employees out. Instead, try saying “Could you please get that report to me? I’d prefer it at three o’clock on Wednesday.”
CEOs should always use a steady and powerful tone, but they should also issue specific prompts instead of vague questions or aggressive commands.
8. Pace your speeches and don’t rush through them
People listen significantly slower than they think, so there is no need to speed through a speech. In fact, people listen at a rate of up to 250 words per minute and think at a rate of up to 3,000 words per minute– that’s a big difference.
Rushing through your speech only leads to jumbled words, slurred speech, and skipped points, but it can also make it difficult for your listeners to actually internalize and memorize what you’ve said. That is far from the goal of a speech on behalf of your company– so keep things slow, paced, and easy to understand.
9. …but also eventually get to the point
The short-term memory of human beings processes words, but short-term memory retains about seven sections of information at any given time. Getting to your point in a timely manner ensures that more people listening will retain the information you’re putting out. Flesh out your thoughts as quickly and clearly as possible, just not at the expense of your overall point. Being able to get your point across quickly while also pacing your speech is a difficult balance to master. Just continue to practice and also be open to editing your speech script multiple times for optimum authenticity.
10. Don’t be excessively casual
The professional-casual balance can be a delicate one. Lacking a casual edge can make you seem robotic and not interesting to your company’s fanbase. However, being too casual and lacking a professional edge can totally destroy your authority.
Maintaining a powerful tone is very important in communicating as a CEO, but it can be overbearing and intimidating if done in excess. If your tone is too casual and passive, this can weaken your authenticity, sincerity, and communication ability. CEOs need to engage with their employees with the tone of someone who is in charge, but also as someone who is part of the team.
11. Encourage feedback from your employees and colleagues
Allow time for employees to share their opinions with you, maintain approachability, and ultimately reward them for their insights. If you give people a platform to share, they may be more receptive to your own message. If you reward decent feedback, employees may interact and partake in conversations more often and improve the communication balance between the company and the CEO.
12. Get people involved
There are many different strategies for CEO communication. We’ve narrowed it down to 12, but there’s more than that. Connect with us at VP Legacies and learn more about corporate communication strategies and how to improve employee and customer retention.
We all interpret things in different ways, which is why it can be hard for people to clearly remember information and interpret information in the intended way. CEOs should get their company staff involved first and foremost in order to drive home their message. It may also be a good idea for meetings to be more interactive through the use of powerpoint presentations or demos for a more hands-on experience.