Communication is by definition a two-way process. But our focus as internal communications professionals is often on the sending of messages and not so much on the receiving of messages, much less on the generation of relevant and meaningful dialogs.
Some organizations believe they can rectify this situation by conducting an employee engagement survey every so often, or perhaps by establishing some digital version of an employee suggestion box. The problem with these remedies is that two monologs don’t make a dialog. In fact, they often are pulling in competing directions. Authentic dialogs and the collaborative idea generation they spawn are what is needed to inspire employees to pull together and propel the organization forward.
Good internal communications must have employee feedback mechanisms baked into them. And if it is to be meaningful, feedback cannot be treated as an after-thought or as a one-time event. Employee feedback must be fresh and ongoing. This is one of the reasons enterprise social networks, such as Facebook at Work, and intranets with comment features built-in, such as Igloo, offer so much promise.
Imagine if an organization could employ an active listening process with its employees equivalent to the two-step process for individuals recently outlined on this blog into its change management processes and internal branding campaigns.
The blast email solutions of the command-and-control past are fizzling in the influence-and-include times we are living. If internal communications is to remain relevant going forward, one of our top priorities must be to create and enable ongoing dialogs with and between our employees. Let’s help our organizations pull together.
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