Is your organization struggling to find its way? Does it feel like employees aren’t as motivated as they used to be, or there seems to be a lack of direction from leadership? Every workplace experiences these symptoms at some point, and they can have a serious impact on your organization’s ability to achieve long-term goals. No matter the cause, the best way to address this kind of organizational malaise is to improve communication across the board. We naturally look for guidance from those around us during times of uncertainty, so it’s important to ensure that the right messages reach your stakeholders, staff, and leadership team when they start asking questions. Here are three successful communication practices that can help your organization stay focused on its mission: 1. Leadership provides consistent messaging to employees.
Each organization has its own approach to management—some are more hierarchical while others allow managers greater flexibility in overseeing their staff. No matter the structure, it is essential that all members of the leadership team be consistent in their communications with employees. Everyone should receive the same information, so they’re operating from the same level of understanding. Consistent and regular messaging also builds trust and allows people to prepare appropriately in case there’s bad news on the horizon. When the entire organization is on the same page, each component can coordinate effectively to get back on track and work towards achieving the shared mission.
2. Employees have official channels for providing feedback and input.
Taking the time to listen to staff shows that leadership is interested in what employees have to say and values their opinions. It’s important to cultivate opportunities for staff to communicate with leadership; feeling valued at work leads to increased productivity and more motivated employees, which can go a long way in getting people to focus on the organization’s mission. The tricky part is determining how your staff feel most comfortable providing input—some people value informal in-person conversations, while others prefer an anonymous method via email or a suggestion box. Given that there’s usually a mix of preferences among employees, it’s best to have policies on a couple different feedback channels so that everyone feels like they have the opportunity to communicate with leadership.
3. The organization speaks with one voice to its stakeholders.
No matter how hard we try, we don’t always come across how we’d like to when communicating with others. Sometimes you’ll tell your audience one thing, only to discover their takeaway turns out to be something completely different. Mission confusion can be both a contributing factor and a result of sending mixed messages to your stakeholders. This is why it’s a good idea to make sure that your organization’s outreach efforts are coordinated and focused on sharing the same message. If there are multiple divisions or offices that speak to different customers, make sure that the same point is being driven home across the board. Ask each stakeholder group what they think your organization’s mission and goals are to see what message is really being shared. Then, take the time to adjust outreach policies or update long-term goals. In addition to fostering more focused outreach efforts, the process of ensuring that your organization is speaking with one voice will help re-align leadership and staff with the overall mission.
Each of the three approaches can be implemented in a variety of ways depending on the organization, and the tactics you choose may evolve over time. The important thing to remember is that devoting time and energy to improving communications is a necessary step to getting back on track when your organization has veered away from its mission and strategic goals.
Tell us—how does your organization implement these communication practices?