In our published paper, "How to Talk to Employees in Turbulent Times", we encourage CEOs to establish a new dialog with their employees.
The recent economic climate has been enough to unsettle any employee.
Even if they are working for an apparently stable and growing company, employees are nonetheless influenced by the world around them.
They are naturally concerned about what effect the turbulent environment will eventually have on their lives.
In the past, it has been normal for CEOs to issue high-level reports about the state of the business.
But many times, these reports have been prepared for other audiences, not expressly for employees.
And, we suspect, those that have been developed for employees have been "corporate" in their style.
As such, the real concerns, needs, and questions of employees probably haven't been answered in a sensitive, empathetic, and helpful way.
So what can a CEO do to improve the conversation he or she has with people in the company's workplace? How can it move to a more meaningful workplace?
In our paper, we provide three guiding concepts to shape meaningful workplace conversations:
Intent: “What we do matters because…”; your conversation needs to go beyond your obvious business goals and establish an emotionally meaningful purpose beyond profit. Born from what is true about what your business does and how it does it, this purpose is crafted to engage and motivate your employees on a profound and heartfelt level.
Attitude: “empathetic, considerate, caring”; the conversation needs to be crafted to prove you are caring, open, honest, and transparent with your employees; that your are empathetic to their situation and sympathetic to their emotional needs; that you are humble in your approach and strong in your convictions. Leaders who have up to now been known as “hearers”, but not real “listeners”, must take the extra time and effort to engage on a deeper level.
Manner: “constant, reliable, evolving”; the conversation needs to be continuous in nature and consistent in both intent and attitude; it needs to become the company’s modus operandi and drive the way people make decisions, work together, and deal with the outside world; it needs to move with the world, keep current, and reflect the immediate reality.
We would urge CEOs, HR executives, and other executievs to evaluate their company's recent employee communications in light of these criteria.
A balance of all three will lead to fresh conversations that reassure, engage, and gratify your company's employees.
Don't let "business as usual" get in the way of a productive, collaborative, and innovate workplace.
Energize, focus, and propel your employees into the future as confident, optimistic, and willing partners in your business goals.
Curious? Read our paper, "How to Talk with Employees in Turbulent Times", now.