Hello Blue Gurus blog readers…It’s Mic here with something that’s been on my mind for…well…the last 20 years or so!
It’s a story I’ve referenced countless times to clients and it goes back to my junior year in college at The University of Kansas.
Our Organizational Communications professor was telling us how the company 3M had specific time set aside for employees to brainstorm on whatever they wanted to…improving processes, new product ideas, etc…and how the Post-It Note was invented by accident.
The thing the professor said that day that has stuck with me ever since (and I sometimes joke it’s the one thing I remember from college) is the following:EMPLOYEES WANT A VOICE MORE THAN A VOTE. Click To Tweet
For those of you that know me, I’ve always had a voice and I have no problem expressing how I feel. It’s not because of my ego. It’s not because I want to draw attention to myself. It’s not because I think I’m smarter than everyone else. It’s because I want the best solution…and the only way to get there is to get input from people who have a vested interest in the problem or solution.
In my experience, too many organizations are top-down, with the owners, management team, etc. making decisions and then everything flowing down to the people who are actually doing the work, interacting with clients, etc. I’ve never thought this made sense.
Of course there needs to be higher level strategy and decision making among people in leadership positions, but why not include the people who are on “the front lines” who will be responsible for implementing the strategy?
With that in mind, here are…
1.Have Regular Meetings.
Depending on your situation, weekly, monthly or quarterly meetings where information is shared, employees are given a platform to ask questions and hear the direction of the company…should be standard practice.
If it’s not possible to get everyone together, utilize technology (conference calls, webinars, Skype, etc) to get as many employees engaged as possible. Or have team or department-specific meetings where two-way communication is encouraged.
2.CEO’s (and other C-Levels) MUST Make The Effort To Interact With Employees.
I have a client whose CEO has quarterly coffee with select staff where they sit down and can ask her whatever they want. Not only does this give employees visibility to the CEO, but it also lets them know that she cares about their opinions and that she’s approachable. This type of informal and human interaction is good for the employees, good for the CEO and good for the company.
The worst thing a management team can do is to be seen as unapproachable. It’s not that hard to take a little time once a week or once a month to get out among employees and see how they’re doing, what’s working, what’s not, etc.
3.Encourage Employees To Write For The Company Blog.
Smart companies have a blog and share that information with their social networks (Yes, this is one of the services we provide for clients, so this is a bit of shameless promotion…but, ask yourself, doesn’t it just make sense?) Even smarter companies use their blog as a way to engage employees in sharing their stories about business and life.
I have one particular client who I told years ago “You never know…your employees may be blogging one day!” One of the senior leaders said, “Our employees will NEVER blog.” Today, the majority of the blog posts from that company are from, you guessed it….EMPLOYEES. This is an amazingly easy way to give your employees a voice and increase employee engagement.
These are just a few ways that employees can be given more of a voice within an organization. There are countless other ways to do it. If your company isn’t doing these things already, it’s easy to get started. In fact, why not pull a few employees together and ask them for their ideas on how they would like more of a voice in the organization?
I promise you this: Many of your unrealized, best ideas are sitting within the walls of your company right now. All you have to do is ask. It’s really not that hard.
To learn more about how we can help your employees get more engaged through the power of blogging and storytelling, call or email me at 913-645-6650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.