Enlightened leaders know that if they unleash the conversations within their workforce, they can untap vast reservoirs of knowledge and spawn innovation. Organizations need effective communication from top to bottom, from bottom to top and from side to side. For internal communication professionals, this means facilitating: (1) communication from an organization’s leadership to its employees, (2) meaningful employee feedback to the organization’s leaders, and (3) communication within and between project teams, departments and individual employees to increase information sharing and collaboration.
An old model with new technology is still an old model. Unfortunately, many organizations still employ a top down communication system. Some fool themselves into thinking they are using a modern communication model because they use new technologies to carry their corporate messages. But a CEO webcast that doesn’t have a built-in way to collect meaningful feedback, or an intranet filled with management information that doesn’t allow for robust peer-to-peer information sharing or collaboration are still top-down systems.
Two monologues don’t make a dialogue. Some organizations think they have a two-way communication model because they have an annual pulse survey or some high-tech equivalent of a suggestion box. But if feedback mechanisms aren’t integrated into all communication processes and if the feedback collected isn’t meaningful to the organization’s leaders, then such organizations aren’t really engaging in a dialogue.
Employees come for information, but they stay for the conversation. Employees log on to intranets seeking information but what keeps them engaged are the conversations that occur when intranets contain collaboration technology and social media platforms that facilitate peer-to-peer communication. However, many organizational leaders are fearful such technology will be productivity killers. They cringe at the thought of employees on Yammer and they direct their IT teams to shutoff the My Site feature of SharePoint.
If organizations only knew what they knew. Organizations that communicate well top down can be good. Those that collect meaningful feedback are better. And those that untap the enormous knowledge base within their organization by facilitating information sharing and collaboration are the best. Unleash the conversation and find out what your organization knows.
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