Chad T. Ahern
Engaging Employees Through Communication
"Communicate. Communicate. Communicate" is typical advice for any team seeking to perform. Information needs to be shared, opinions considered, and final decisions must be implemented. But these are not typical times.
With the Coronavirus global pandemic pushing nearly everyone to implement remote work practices, communicating across cities, states, and countries via email, phone and video conferencing is more critical now than ever. So how do you make sure your communications are effective as possible and keep your employees engaged in their work?
One way is to share information in ways that most align with your teammates talents. Here I'm referring to the 34 talent themes outlined by Gallup, Inc. that can be discovered through the CliftonStrengths assessment.
Here are the methods or types of information most needed or appreciated by people with each talent theme...
Achiever®...share the full task list, progress updates, and what still needs to be completed. Individuals with this theme will want to contribute their best to ensure everything gets done.
Activator®...let them know which projects or initiatives need to be initiated; especially if it is something new.
Adaptability®...communicate how they can help adjust plans. With change thrust upon your team, people with this talent theme may be best positioned to go with or test a new flow.
Analytical®...share any and all data relevant to projects. They are likely to find patterns in number or behaviors that can help make things easier.
Arranger®...describe all the pieces of all projects. They can help you assemble initiatives in new ways.
Belief®...share how what your doing during this time of change ties into their personal and/or your team's or organizational values.
Command®...share how they can "take charge" or speak for the team. Which project needs a strong voice that can speak to external constituents.
Communication®...consider having these teammates drive your efforts to keep everyone in the loop.
Competition®...share how you're doing in comparison to your business sector competitors. How much quicker are you adjusting to this new reality?
Connectedness®...communicate how are your current efforts - big and small - will improve the well-being of everyone effected by the Coronavirus.
Consistency®...inform them of what will stay the same. Individuals with this theme may be feel most disrupted by the rapid changes around them.
Context®...convey how the current crisis will become part of or frame the organization's history. It may also be beneficial to allow people with this theme to share how your company has weathered previous crisis to give comfort to others that you will get through it together.
Deliberative®...make sure your provide multiple opportunities for them to share thoughts or insights that might come to them even after your team wraps up your daily team Zoom call. Their thoughtfulness after the fact, could save you in the long run.
Developer®...open channels for people with this theme to share their expertise with others. Allow them opportunities to keep mentoring, beyond your daily check-ins.
Discipline®...if you set up a team communication schedule; keep to it. The regularity of action can provide some calm in a sea of change.
Empathy®...be sure to make time for people to share how they're feeling. People with this theme are likely in emotional overload as they pick up on others' worry, anxiety, and caution. Give them space to talk these feelings out and unload.
Focus®...share the "one thing" they can focus on for today. With so many now managing family life in the same space as work life giving clarity to what is most impactful is likely to enhance forward progress and ease stress.
Futuristic®...team members with this theme may be best positioned to communicate how changes demanded now by the pandemic will actually set the team or organization up for future success.
Harmony®...communicate how descions and actions incorporated input from multiple sources. Also, keep it to the facts; emotional decisions and discussions will only exacerbate stress levels.
Ideation®...provide a channel for them to offer new "out of box" ideas as your organization moves to a new world of work. When communicating with them, be sure to share what ideas have already been tried and where you need new options.
Includer®...with tools like Zoom and Google Hangouts its easy to make sure everyone is in on the conversation.
Individualization®...take note of this entire list, and truly personalize how you communicate with team members who have this theme. They'll appreciate the effort.
Input®...provide them all the information, regardless of project. Even if the info is not immediately actionable, they will be godsends
Intellection®...forget the football game, this family member will be staring out a window with a cup of tea thinking about all the ideas and conversations shared around the table.
Learner®...share what new systems need to be better understood, and provide a chance for them to teach others what they learn.
Maximizer®...inform them of how recent changes to remote work are going to make work that much more efficient and effective.
Positivity®...even during this pandemic, communicate what going right and that things will get better. If this doesn't feel authentic to you, invite team members with this theme to share a positive message with your team.
Relator®...share information that allows people to understand how decisions or initiatives impact others or build stronger relationships.
Responsibility®...communicate clear task assignments and realistic deadlines.
Restorative™...share how what your doing will contribute to improving other peoples' lives; particularly when it comes to health and well-being.
Self-Assurance®...demonstrate confidence in your communication. It's not that plans can't change, but that you are as sure as you can be in the moment.
Significance®...celebrate the victories; particularly those that are most important to your people and your organization.
Strategic®...outline which options were considered, the information used to make a decision, and define which path you're taking going forward.
Woo®...make clear how people with this theme can invite others into the process or project. (You may also want to lean on these team members to convince everyone to follow CDC practices; they can be excellent "convincers."
Even as each of these communication recommendations will help you keep your remote workforce in touch with each other, imagine what's possible when you start to bring people back together when face-to-face interactions are again the norm.
Want to learn what your team's talents are in order to better your remote communication efforts? Let's connect.