Dealing With Distraction II

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July 2009

Dealing with Distraction, II

In the last edition of The Edge, May 2009, we discussed how challenging economic times and the numerous negative news reports have been a distraction to the talent within our organizations over the past months. Employee engagement is down. We committed to look at what is working and asked two questions: 1). What are you and your organization doing to keep employees engaged? 2). How are you and/or your organization leading others during these times?

The single thread and overarching theme among the responses is increased and enhanced communication. As many of you know, during times of change and challenge, people possess an increased appetite/need for communication. Let’s remember that the term, “two-way communication” is redundant. Communication by its very definition is about both sending and receiving the message (or code). People want to be heard as much as they want information.

Let’s look at some of the responses we have received:

We have short daily communication with all employees through their supervisors on keeping safety awareness high and also on letting them know about any new business information.
Conducted an “All-Hands” meeting with only one executive running the meeting.
Demonstrating through actions that we want to use this downturn in business to improve process and also find new types of business that will diversify and make us stronger when the economy starts to get better.
We haven’t done much differently because we’re still doing well.
Held a “state of the business” meeting with plenty of time for Q&A.
Have contracted to deliver enhanced communication skills to our leaders.
The truth is we had to reduce some headcount so we have been doing some damage control.
We have approached our top people and engaged in succession and stay conversations.
We’re going to take this time to re-visit our strategic plan and widen the stakeholder net to include more key contributors at all levels of our company. We need more owners.
We had a team training session for all salaried employees on “Leading Through Uncertainty”.Shared comparative industry data to show our people how we were stacking up – we’re doing well by comparison. We want to reduce fear (job security). The short answer is, “communicate – communicate – communicate.”
Let’s close out the July Edge by considering what one successful client wrote about an “All-hands” meeting that they have recently conducted:

“Some of the executives did not want this meeting to take place. They were fearful that the tone would either be too negative (causing people to think about looking for a new job) or too rosy (causing people to not really grasp the challenges of today’s economy). At the end of the day, it can never be a bad thing to sit down and have an honest conversation about things… good and bad with people who are part of your team and who you say you care about. That is what made it a worthwhile investment of time that hopefully benefited all of us”.

Thanks for the input and see you in September.


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