Friday, March 26, 2010

Just One Teeny Weeny Criticism...

I recently read a blog post at employersweb about keeping employees in the loop in order to build trust. It was a good post that highlighted the following questions as the ones that employees are most interested in:

1. How is the company doing? It can be motivating to hear that the company is well-managed and doing well when times are good. At the same time, open communication can help employees understand belt tightening measures when times are bad.

2. Where is the company going? If employees don't actively care about this it's because no one has helped them connect the dots about how company direction impacts them personally.

3. How safe is my job? Lots of people are worried about that these days. So why not get it out there in the open?

4. Do the company's values align with my values? Quite a few people don't realize they care about this but you can have a great 'ah ha' moment with your workforce if you help them realize how they're making a difference in the world.

5. Can we trust you? This is the big one, the one that matters more than anything. If the answer is no, you won't be able to trust your employees.

So, like I said, it was a good blog post but I have one eensy weensy nit to pick about the title:

'Employers Must Keep Rank-and-File in the Loop'

See the problem? If you think of your workforce as 'rank-and-file', and approach employee communications with that attitude, what answers might you inadvertently be communicating to the questions listed above?

1. How is the company doing? If one more person in a $3000 suit talks about how we all have to tighten our belts I'm gonna puke.

2. Where is the company going? Nothing to do with me, I just work here.

3. How safe is my job? Yeah, right. They don't even know what I do around here.

4. Do the company's values align with my values? Nice try adding a recycle bin in the break room but I'm not buying it.

5. Can we trust you? Absolutely. We can trust you to look out for number one.

OK, that was a bit harsh for a well-written post that made a lot of great points. But here's the thing: Effective employee communication isn't about being magnanimous. The first step to effective communication with employees is to think of them as business partners.

If you view employees as rank-and-file, how do you think they view you?


  1. Great observations.

    You said, "The first step .............them as Business Partners".

    I feel this line of communication makes things very business-like engagement and often displaces the deeper level compassion needed to create synergy, harmony and understanding in teamwork.

    I prefer to see team members as part of a family. There is nothing to hide and everyone feels equal. Each and everyone are a star in their own right. It is always better and more powerful to communicate through your heart. When your people know your true character, your leadership or communication style does matter.

  2. What a great point! I couldn't agree more. Business partner is better than rank and file but family is even better. Thanks for sharing.


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