Failing to understand, believe, and share a sense of urgency for why higher levels of customer service – or other organizational transformations are needed – is a major reason the failure rate for change and renewal efforts hovers around 60 – 75%. Today’s younger generations of workers have an even higher need to buy-in to the reason for changes.
If you don’t give today’s workers a compelling “why,” they’ll mentally check-out and leave. Or – in these times of job shortages – they’ll emotionally check-out and stay. This disengagement leads to change resistance, absenteeism, and lower customer service levels.
Here’s some research and useful perspectives on this critical Education and Communication challenge:
“One out of every two employees feels that they do not receive the information they need to do their job well. As a result, employees feel frustrated and the quality of the organization’s products and services suffer.”
– Bruce L. Katcher, President, Discovery Surveys, based on results from Employee Opinion Surveys conducted for more than 80 organizations and over 60,000 employees
“You cannot simply layer (electronic) communication tools on top of a fundamentally flawed, low-trust communication culture…the key to better relationships, better businesses, and better lives is not more communication, but better communication…. open dialogue among partners that builds stronger, more trustworthy, and more productive relationships…better communication helps partners focus more efficiently on the vital, few priorities for which they can truly improve the value provided to their customers and to each other. It helps partners understand the big picture and coordinate actions…. it builds trust by ensuring that information received is reliable, and that information shared will be used to build a better relationship…”
– Frederick F. Reichheld, Loyalty Rules! How Today’s Leaders Build Lasting Relationships
“You have to spend time and effort to communicate why change is necessary. If you can put that into a culture that knows change is inevitable and an opportunity, not a threat, then I think you have the potential to have a company that can grow to a very large size.”
– Fred Smith, founder, chairman, president, and CEO of FedEx
“…if employees do not care about or understand their company’s brands, they will ultimately weaken their organizations… first, companies need to market to employees at times when the company is experiencing a fundamental challenge or change, times when employees are seeking direction and are relatively receptive to new initiatives. Second, companies must link their internal and external marketing campaigns; employees should hear the same messages that are being sent to the marketplace. And third, internal branding campaigns should bring the brand alive for employees, creating an emotional connection to the company that transcends any one experience. Internal campaigns should introduce and explain the brand messages in new and attention-grabbing ways and then reinforce those messages by weaving them into the fabric of the company.”
– Colin Mitchell, “Selling the Brand Inside,” Harvard Business Review
“Companies that are highly effective communicators had 47 percent higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that are the least effective communicators… keeping employees engaged correlates to an average 26 percent higher productivity rate, and the highly engaged employees miss fewer days of work and are three times as likely as their less-engaged peers to exceed performance expectations.”
– “Capitalizing on Effective Communication: How Courage, Innovation, and Discipline Drive Business Results in Challenging Times,” Towers Watson 2009/2010 Communication ROI Report