3 biggest mistakes with CEO communications

by | Apr 24, 2018

Employees want to hear from the C-suite. In Tribe’s national research with employees of large companies, 72 percent want to hear directly from top management. Over 84 percent say they hear from corporate management “not enough.”

Unfortunately, when employees do hear from their leadership teams, the communications are not always as authentic as one could hope. Of course, it’s far easier for everyone – not just the busy executives also the internal communications team – to have leadership simply sign off on communications that have been prepared by others.

But that’s missing a huge opportunity to engage employees with their leadership. Help your company management understand the impact they can have by speaking directly and authentically to employees.

At the very least, try to steer them away from these three common mistakes:

  1. Ghostwritten blogs: Employees aren’t fooled by the perfectly polished prose pretending to be something the CEO actually wrote. If your leadership team shows any inclination at all to pen their own blogs, reassure them that a few paragraphs they write themselves would be far preferable to three pages that have been manufactured for them. Remind them that blogs by their very nature are supposed to be human and imperfect.
  1. Scripted videos: Not only is a video of a talking head reading from a teleprompter incredibly boring, it also casts doubt on whether the speaker really means what he or she is saying. Video can be a powerful tool for leadership communications, when the executives are comfortable speaking to camera as if they were having a conversation. Give them talking points, not a script. Remind them that they can mess up as many times as they want and you can edit those parts out. Let them know that coming across as a real human being is more important than seeming rehearsed and flawless.
  1. Cascading only: Especially in companies with lots of non-desk employees, cascading information through direct managers can be an effective channel. But it’s a mistake to rely on cascading communications alone. Particularly in times of major company changes, employees want to hear directly from top management. Even if those executive communications are prepared by other people. Start there if you have to, but keep pushing for them to do at least some of the communicating themselves.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a town hall or a tweet, a letter or a podcast. Find a channel or two that are comfortable for your CEO, president and other company leadership. Which channel is not important. What is important is that employees experience leadership communicating with them directly and authentically.

Want to find more authentic ways for your leadership to communicate? Tribe can help.

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