As you all know, one of my hobbies is going to the movies. Action thrillers or comedy is usually what I like to watch. I’m not really a fan of girly flicks or animation films so you can understand why I wasn’t thrilled that my nephew wanted to redeem his birthday gift at the cinemas watching ‘Big Hero 6'. I bought as many snacks as possible to amuse him and had my iPhone already loaded with all the things I will do whilst the movie was going on, so that way I wouldn’t get bored. WRONG!!!! It was such a good movie!
In a nutshell, it was based around a robot called Baymax designed to care for people, like a personal nurse. An unfortunate event of arson, betrayal, bribery and death (yes all in this Disney movie), turned this robot and his friends into superheroes…without compromising integrity.
There’s always a point in time when our integrity is put to the test, and at work we tend to expect this from our peers, however we expect more from our employers. We want to believe what they say to build trust, which for some seems to be difficult.
At ground level, employees get a gist of what is going on, however, they don’t always have the full story and miss-information can spread around the company like wildfire. For example when will the interim manager be replaced with a permanent member of staff, when will the new benefits platform be launched, when will we receive the new laptops and phones, when will the IT system be upgraded, when we will see the results and actions from the employee survey…the list goes on. Whatever it is, we all just want to know the honest truth without the fanfare around it. Clearly the answer is good communication. Communication that addresses the issues at hand.
I get the opportunity to review feedback from staff and communication is usually one of the main issues that employees say their companies do not do well. They probably are communicating, however often times it’s not effective, perhaps because it lacks authenticity or appropriate delivery.
With employee surveys, response rates can be poor just because communication of the results and purpose is lacking. Some companies forget to do what they said they would do, so employees may switch off and feel the company doesn’t care. The employer probably does care a great deal, however the employees then don’t believe it- the same way they don’t believe that the IT systems will be upgraded next week.
Here are some views to help ensure that communication efforts are effective:
“Effective communication is a vital ingredient for employee engagement and to build trust between the organisation’s senior leaders and its people”. (CIPD Viewpoint)
“Be as honest with your people as you can, as early as you can. They’ll reward you for it with their understanding and loyalty. It’s the lies and the cover-ups that get you unstuck.” (Helen Craik, Operations Director -Reward Gateway)
“Keep it simple. An above ground yet grounded view of your topic is often best so that readers get your point without getting bogged down in details. Keep itconversational (know your audience, tailor communication to them)”. (Jeff Stibel Chairman, President & CEO (Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp)
“Be consistent. Do what you say you will do when you said you would”. (Me)
In summary, communication is good when it can be trusted. We all know that trust and involvement are drivers of employee engagement. Engage for Success suggest that integrity itself is an enabler of engagement:
‘There is organisational integrity – the values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. There is no ‘say –do’ gap".
So getting them both right should only increase the ratio of engaged employees within the company.
This was the main message in Big Hero 6 and Baymaxs’ message to his friends. I also really like that although it’s animation, so much of the content resonates with what we face in reality. It’s worth watching!!