Use a Mouthpiece that Matters | HR Fishbowl

Written on September 18, 2010 by Charlie in #TrenchHR, Communication

mouthpiece-150x150-2955226You spend a lot of time tweaking your HR processes and programs. Much of this time, I’m sure, is spent on enveloping your stuff in the appropriate communications – getting people to use and appreciate what you’ve worked so hard to provide. Email, WebEx, Conference Calls, Desk Drops, Fliers…whatever. My guess is that the returned benefit from these efforts are incremental at best. I suppose many of you are missing a crucial element to this whole game. And most of you won’t like what I have to say:

Your employees are downright tired of hearing from you.

Most employees treat a message from HR like you treat a marketing piece from the credit card companies – it goes straight into the trash unopened. They’ve come to believe that whatever else they have going on is far too important to be bothered by your junk. And they’ve learned that there are few, if any, negative repercussions to ignoring this junk. They may even put it aside with good intentions of getting back to it…but it too will go untouched…I promise you. The most effective way of combating this issue?

Use a respected mouthpiece.

My boss controls my employment, my advancement, and my compensation. She is the single most important stakeholder I have in my career. When she sends me an Email, I read it immediately. When she calls me, I put everything else down and pick up the phone. When she schedules a meeting, I’m there without exception. When she asks me to wash her car, I wax it too. Example: stop organizing and then conducting the conference calls to roll-out the upcoming year-end evaluation process. Everybody already knows you think it’s important. Let someone who really matters stand up and champion the cause. Suggestion: Take some time to create a turnkey presentation – collaborating with the business leaders while you do so. Tailor those presentations to the various business units. And then ask the head of those respective units to make the presentation to their employees. They can do it during a recurring team meeting, they can schedule it as a special event. But they need to make the presentation and you shouldn’t even be in the room. Introductory memos or Emails? Have it come from their desks. Reminder messages? Let them be the bad guys.

Not only will the employees end up paying attention to the message, but they are more likely to then go do what they’ve been asked to do. If the person who matters to an employee says it to an employee, then it will matter to that employee. I know this is hard to hear, but you are not that person who matters.

Photo Credit: Sax.Co.UK

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