Corporate & Strategy Volume 4 Issue 2 June 2015
COMMON SENSE for the C-Suite
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Why today’s employee is working with the volume off
COMMON SENSE VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2
Just when organizations have made employee engagement a priority, they’ve encountered an interesting, sobering reality— people aren’t listening.
Getting and Keeping Attention in an Over Saturated, Content Driven Workplace
.................................................. Employee engagement is a hot topic right now in many corporations.
The distressing truth is that leaders believe such activity is actually “communicating.”
But people are responding to all this noise by tuning out the message and focusing only on the picture, that is, responding only to what they see happening around them.
Today, an uninformed and dis-engaged workforce can spell disaster for any organization attempting to navigate through the treacherous waters of global business. To that end, a number of CEOs have placed a spotlight on strengthening engagement as a strategic means to change and drive the organization to achieve ever-increasing goals. That’s the good news. Unfortunately, the results have mostly been a flurry of activity around communications tactics and mechanisms resulting in a flood of content raining down on employees, most of which lacks the relevance and context necessary to affect behavior and performance.
In reality, leadership needs to capture employee attention and ignite conversation so that every person in the organization understands that they largely control the company’s success or failure, as it’s determined by how every employee thinks, what they focus on and how they execute their responsibilities on a daily basis.
COMMON SENSE VOLUME 4 ISSUE 2
6 Key Insights on Employee Communications 1. The inside view: too much content = too much noise = distraction; ambivalence
It’s hard to imagine when employees find time to do their jobs. They complain of:
These days, with all the talk around content there is little recognition around attention.
• Having difficulty managing and storing that flood of information. • Being unable to easily separate urgent from nonessential data. • Misplacing or losing track of key items in the growing piles of data they are expected to review. • Finding the glut of information a distraction from their primary responsibilities. • Taking home work or stay late to catch up. • Attributing information overload to deteriorating personal relationships.
According to a recent study, technology and new communication media has added to organizational distraction because it has not displaced non-relevant communications. Rather, it is layered over existing systems thereby substantially increasing the message load. As the study points out, leaders and communicators are constantly filling an oversubscribed system resulting in a truly catatonic state. A recent study indicated that consumers consume more media daily than hours slept! On average people consume media for 9.4 hours a day compared to 5.2 hours in 1945. People experience over 5,000 exposures per day. Additionally, the majority of surveyed employees said their work was interrupted by messages at least half dozen times an hour, with knowledge workers citing interruptions every two minutes.
INFORMATION OVERLOAD The incessant use of information technology takes a toll on productivity.
of respondents say it increases workload
of respondents say it of respondents say it makes it harder to think makes it harder to take about work a break
Source: Michigan State University study
Furthermore, a majority attribute
ill health and
directly to the crushing amount of