The Foundation of Trust and Transparency – Part 3

November 22, 2016

Essential Executive and Internal Communications Topics

by Todd Johnson, President of Kollective

This article is part 3 in a 3-part series about the kind of content that builds better engagement and trust with employees.

Business woman stood at train station smiling

 

Employee focus

The employees are what make companies great. They are hard to recruit, and even harder to replace when they leave. Focusing on them in video communications is critical and there are multiple reasons why, including:

  • It is a great opportunity to reinforce company values
  • Give visibility to the things that make the company distinctive
  • Chance to show diversity
  • Chance to show the power of team work

We Shine as Individuals

Employee spotlights are compelling. Spotlighting an employee means focusing on people that do interesting jobs within the company or have interesting backgrounds.

I’ll never forget a quick spotlight a company did on one of their Tokyo-based employees. It was someone in the customer support group who, by most measures, seemed to be an average employee. What was extraordinary, in part, was the 2-hour commute she had to work each day. She lived far from the city on a small farm with her husband and in-laws. They were recently married and could not afford to live on their own yet. They certainly could not afford to live in the big city. Her story really touched people and made them think, especially those in the US and Europe who could not relate to her commute. It also created a connection to our teams in India, where there too we had employees that regularly took trains and buses over an hour each way to work.

In addition, the video showed how she had helped a customer in Japan properly shutdown their system in the wake of the March 11th, 2011 earthquake so they would not lose any of their data from the day’s analytics run. I was in Tokyo that day, and can testify to the fact that her ability to stay focused on serving a customer in the midst of that tragedy was remarkable.

This video spotlight worked on so many levels: human, employee, customer, company. But remember, consistency is the key. Create a program that highlights various employees and create a schedule around this part of your program that builds expectation for the next story. Focus on the normal people, the people that do the work and don’t confuse this with getting more transparency from executives.

We Shine as a Team

Team wins are another great way to deliver powerful messages that further reinforce company values. Much success within an organization is achieved through team work, and conversely, many great failures are the result of not working well as a team.

One of my absolute favorite stories of team success took place a number of years ago. The company I worked for had both a high-end and low-end products division. One of our competitors had launched a strong product that fit right between our low-end and high-end systems. It had the computing capability of our high-end expandable range and the cost-effective graphics of our low-end line.

Now, in a company where there was a healthy, but serious, level of competition between the product divisions, collaborating was not always easy. But the team rallied and built one of the company’s most successful products to rival what the competitor had produced. The hard part was the expandable chassis board required to interface the graphics and the compute platform had to be built from scratch in less than 3 months, over the Christmas Holidays, by a combined team from both divisions. That board was later named the “Grinch Board” – the board that stole people’s time off over Christmas.

Needless to say, the combined team hit the deadline and saved the coming quarter’s revenue goals, and ultimately, the fiscal year’s goals as well. In those days our products were all named by color and that product was fittingly named “Crimson”.

The combined products team was celebrated because they did something outside the box, in an impossible timeframe, with their counterparts from their rival division. They put the company first and showed the power of commitment, and the magic of team work and innovation.

*****

This article series is intended to help you come up with a strategic formula for your executive and internal communications content that moves the needle on engagement and trust with your employees. When regularly embedded in your corporate communications program, this content can really make a difference. The topics and approaches I highlight are perfect for video, less so for print. I hope you are now further down the path of developing your blueprint for success and balanced content plan built on rich stories and powerful examples.

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Todd Johnson

President

Todd Johnson is President and Chairman of the Board at Kollective where, over the past decade, he has held various executive positions and helped steer the company’s evolution. He currently oversees Engineering, Product Development and Employee Communications teams. An experienced, tech industry executive, Todd is also a regular spokesman for Kollective and strong proponent of transparent communications in leadership.

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