bobbie smith

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author, message master, strategist, speaker, artist (ink), social media & arts promoter

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Engage Employees With Realism, Not Just Rah-Rah!

The other day, a client told me to remove text from and internal/employee communications vehicle because it talked about some jobs that were cancelled. This information was also available online in their organization. The client felt that the comments were not positive and therefore would not be conducive to employee engagement.

I find this attitude quite fascinating. What it tells me is that some of my clients believe that you cannot engage people unless all the messages are 'happy-happy/feel-good' messages. I disagree; in fact, if that is all you focus on sharing, employees will begin to distrust you when they start noticing that things in the organization are not as rosy as the messages sent to 'engage'. However, when a senior manager, executive or organization sends real messages from time to time that paint a more realistic portrait, or they admit some mistakes, these brave leaders gain lots of trust.

For example: We really tried to keep this project on track, but as many of you also experience in your own roles, things don't always turn out the way you plan or anticipate. That's exactly what happened here. Thanks so much for your patience and we look forward to sending you the next update.

Employees are tired of the 'shine'. They want something they can believe.

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