One of the interesting aspects I find in the work I do with clients is the amount of vertical communication that takes place rather than horizontal communication.
With most topics we communicate it logically from the top – the CEO down and we think that we’ve done a great job because everyone at the front line is understands how their roles connects with the organization’s focus. And in most instances we have feedback loops to check whether the audience understood what we have communicated.
However I suggest that the real value in employee communication is the horizontal conversations that we often neglect. For more examples of what I mean by horizontal communication that demonstrates the enterprise wide story click here. This is what gives an enterprise life because the focus in how the sum of each contributes to the whole.
Instead of focussing on silos by division everyone starts to focus on the enterprise as a whole. Here’s an example of what I mean in this case study from the motor industry.
This organization decided to use videoconferencing to reach five of its major corporate offices.
The company was introducing a new vehicle line, and wanted to spread the news on how excited the employees were about it to their dealer network. Although they could have chosen a newsletter or DVD to get this message across, it would not have been as credible as this choice. One of the main target audiences was a 400-strong dealer network, and the organization wanted them to see first-hand how enthusiastic the 400 employees at the business headquarters were about this new line.
So an interactive link was established between these two groups. The opportunity was there for conversation and direct answers to any questions the dealers might want to put forward. Another key factor to the success of this approach was the installation of television monitors at the organizations’ other four regional offices, which enabled 400 more employees to be included in the dealer meeting for the first time. Although they were not able to communicate with the other two groups, they were able to experience the essence of the company and how it sells its product.
This was the first time the employees had the opportunity to be a part of the organization’s “big picture.” Another reason for having the employees present was for them to hear the senior management speeches from their location. Therefore, the benefits of this operation were threefold: the dealers were able to feel and hear the employees’ enthusiasm for the new vehicle; the employees were able to see how the company communicated with its dealership to obtain maximum sales; and, the employees and dealers were able to hear the speeches of senior management.
This approach is as example of a communication approach for companies that want to communicate the enterprise wide story and connect the dots for their audience. By demonstrating to employees the “other side” of the business, specifically marketing and distribution, all the elements that make this organization successful are clearly outlined.
No matter what size organization the concept on communicating horizontally and not just vertically will make a significant impact on your organizations’ goals and achievements of the company vision. For more examples of how many other sectors have implemented enterprise wide communication click here.