Skip the Middlemen.
Middle managers in most organizations frequently
say, "senior managers and employees would have a much better understanding of
each other if they would only spoke directly with each other." Paradoxically,
it is these middles that get in the way of that communication.
Just like the classic game of "telephone,"
information becomes distorted when it flows through others. When people pass on
information they often intentionally or unintentionally filter, embellish, and
put their own spin on the message.
In small organizations, senior managers can:
Hold regular all-employee meetings;
Conduct informal breakfast or lunch meetings
with employees; and
Meet face-to-face with individual employees
when walking through the halls.
In large organizations, senior management can:
Differentiate Between "Nice-to-know" and
Prepare videotaped messages;
Send emails or memos directly to employees;
Use the services of communication
professionals to help choose the appropriate media, message, and moment.
Employees often have unrealistic expectations
about what information senior management should provide to them. It is
important that senior managers establish criteria for what type of information
should be communicated directly to employees and what should not. For example,
information should be communicated directly to all employees if it:
Communicate "Don't-Knows" as Well as
Above all else, employees want honesty from senior
management. It is, therefore, important that management communicate what they
don't know as well as what they do. For example, they should be honest with
employees when they are uncertain about:
How the economy will influence the
The need for layoffs in the future;
Future plans for the direction of the
You can never communicate important information
too frequently. Senior management should communicate important messages to
employees several times.
Use Multiple Communication Channels
Employees have different preferences for how they
receive information. Some like to read it in the company newsletter, some in an
email, and others like to listen to senior managers present at meetings. To
reach everyone, multiple methods should be used.