We all trust people we know more than ones we don’t. Although many employees will never bump into the CEO or other members of the C-suite in the break room or the elevator, you can create a version of in-person familiarity with the right leadership communications.
Employees want to know the actual human behind the title. They appreciate not just being able to put a face to a name, but also knowing that one EVP runs marathons and another has triplets and yet another is a competitive ballroom dancer. Don’t underestimate the power of communicating those sorts of details.
But your executive team is also a useful communications channel for issues ranging from vision and values to business strategy. Who better to give real-life examples of how the company is pursuing the vision or putting the values into action — or the business reasons behind an organizational change?
In fact, change is one topic that employees especially want their leadership team to communicate directly to them. In Tribe’s national research with employees of large companies, respondents told us they don’t mind hearing some internal communications through company-wide emails or cascaded from their managers. But when it comes to any major change, they’d like to hear it first from the C-level.
What channels work well for leadership communications? That depends in part on where your execs feel comfortable. Some are happy to be videotaped; others hate it. Some don’t mind writing a blog and others would rather be interviewed for an article to appear on the intranet or an employee publication.
Look for ways to repurpose one format for another. For instance, you might take a few sentences from a town hall and turn it into a CEO quote for digital signage. You might use parts of a video interview that didn’t make the final cut as source material for a magazine article. If someone from the executive team makes a site visit to a manufacturing facility or a store opening or a volunteer day, use photos or videos from that as content for the intranet or social media.
Help your leadership team understand that this is an ongoing process rather than one campaign. Relationships are built interaction by interaction, and trust accrues over time. Humanizing your top executives is a long-term endeavor that requires some level of time investment from them. The trick is to find the most efficient ways to use the limited time they can give you.
Interested in developing your leadership communications program? Tribe can help.