Employee Engagement Refreshed: Communication

As discussed in my last blog, employee engagement is gaining a lot of focus. While my last blog, Employee Engagement Refreshed: Recognition, was focused on peer-to-peer recognition systems and the evolution of those practices, I want to focus on something even more fundamental — the necessity for multi-modal communication in any employee engagement platform.

Every time I hear someone say, “Well, I sent them a __ and never heard back,” I just cringe. I know we are better than what this sounds like: lobbing a communications grenade over a wall (via whatever medium) and not seeing this through to actual connection establishment with the person. Often, however, I discover the sender isn’t just looking to “lob the grenade” and get out of the situation, but is experiencing an emotional barrier to due to a failure to connect on their preferred channel. After all, that mode of communication is likely preferred due to its ease of use relative to the others available. When the channel doesn’t work, people start to disengage.

The most common reaction to this involves implementing a new, shiny channel that replaces or adds to the possible mix. The method itself isn’t always bad; some segment of your population gravitates to the new shiny thing, perceives it to be easier (at least for now), and then it becomes the new preferred channel.

When Slack was released as a forum/chat platform, we definitely jumped on the bandwagon and saw high adoption rates in our organization. While Slack isn’t problematic and I have a deep admiration for the system, it is not a silver bullet for a more organizational approach to communication unification. In short, this doesn’t really address the message delivered in-between the lines: switching channels is painful.

What we have found is an increasingly mobile workforce that has demands for communication channels they can easily access back and forth, with as few steps as possible. It really is a paving mechanism that stems back to having text, email, and voice converged on a single device: the smart phone. As these channels evolve, so do our device capabilities.

Instant messaging, long relegated to the desktop, has come in tandem with texting as a communications channel that can be business-appropriate. When placed at your fingertips with the mobility expected, the friction is reduced a bit further in switching communications channels. So, the easier you can make that transition from one mode to another, the less likely you are to have an accidental “grenade lob” from even your best and brightest.

If you are looking to consolidate communications and elevate to higher levels of employee engagement (and because I love a shameless plug), please have a quick look at Hddle, our employee engagement platform. If this article resonated with you, wait until you see it all coming together with Hddle!

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