Tim Small of catering giant Compass Group explains why short-term communication goals end in initiative fatigue.
When looking at a communications plan, never lose sight of your audience. Whatever you are communicating, however you are doing it, it is vital to understand what it means to Fred who works in the mailroom at three o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. It is important to understand how he picks up communication throughout the organisation and make sure that the language, tone and the means by which you deliver the information are all relevant to him.
The most important thing is to match the communication channel to the audience. There is now a wealth of communication channels available to people with new technology, which seems to increase exponentially. It is easy to fall into the trap of going for these technologies just because they seem innovative, new and exciting. However, communication on a face-to-face level, in spite of all the progress in terms of technology, is still the best way of communicating.
Crucial to effective communication is that anyone managing people recognises their role as a communicator. The most vital communication link to these people is their unit manager. They have to feel confident and empowered to be able to communicate. There is nothing more disempowering, as a manager, to receive something in the post and just sit there as a passive communicator and read it verbatim to their staff.
In contrast, if management is placed at the heart of the communications process, and given the support, tools and the resources to deliver its message passionately, it will ultimately pay dividends. It will be far more effective than placing information on the intranet or sending out emails.