7 Tips to Make It to the Rebound

Linda Dulye's picture
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Number7.jpgWe can hear you now: "What rebound?"

The economy certainly is being stubborn and though we hear of economic data that seems to indicate we're headed toward recovery, we don't see a lot of belief out there.

Nevertheless, you can be ready for the rebound and here's a seven-point plan to help you prepare:

  1. Consistency counts. Even in the best of times, employees want straight answers and transparency. In challenging environments, the demand is even great. That's why a stutter-step approach to communications don't work. You've seen them: big announcements and program rollouts only to be followed by deafening quiet periods in which your staff is left to wonder what's next. Instead, be consistent with your communications. If you make a big splash, be sure to follow up consistently over the long term. Don't create more questions than you answer.

  2. Isolation is bad. In most organizations there's a lot of communication about the business itself -- as there should be. But don't limit the scope of communications to your own backyard. Point the lens toward a broader landscape: share what's happening with your industry, your customers and suppliers, the industry. Provide a bigger context to help employees understand the challenges and opportunities.

  3. Don't send CEOs undercover. With apologies to CBS, why do CEOs need to be undercover to learn the nitty gritty of their business? In our view, they need to be seen regularly out on the plant floor, in office work areas, in the cafeteria, and they need to be approachable. Engage in small talk. The more a CEO or any leader is out from behind the desk talking with employees, they'll find workers that are much more comfortable asking questions and providing input.

  4. Change the formula. Sometimes things get stale -- and communications is no different. Whatever you've been mixing up for communications in your company ask yourself: what's working and what's not? Can you pump up your two-way communications and work more interaction into your town halls or staff meetings? Don't be afraid to take a fresh approach.

  5. It takes a team to communicate. And we're not talking about a five-person engineering team or a pair of communicators. No, by team we mean the entire organization. Regular readers of SFW know that we believe forward-thinking companies can't afford to leave communications to the communications department. All employees have a responsibility to share information, to listen intently and improve organizational communications.

  6. Accountability is not a bad word. In fact, it's a critical part of sustaining a disciplined, closed-loop communication process. That's why we believe it's so important that organizations tell their employees that communications is everyone's role. Making everyone accountable for communications can only intensify its quality and frequency.

  7. You get what you measure. Whether it's a big-time engagement survey or just a pulse-check poll, the way to stay ahead of the rumor mill is by keeping the pulse of your team. If you consistently measure employee attitudes and opinions, as well as track their understanding of current goals and initiatives, you'll have clear visibility in to what needs your attention -- from a communications perspective and, more important, from a business perspective.

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