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Archive for February, 2013

I have been a loyal and enthusiastic member and supporter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) for over four decades. But lately, IABC is instituting so many changes that I hardly recognize my beloved professional association.

With any change initiative, frequent, honest, two-way communication is an absolute must. IABC has sponsored untold professional development offerings over the years to tell members that.  But is IABC doing what it says its members should do? Simply put, is IABC walking the talk?

My colleague and friend, Sue Horner, Ontario-based writer and long-time IABC member, recently posted an insightful discussion of the IABC situation. I suggest that anyone interested in IABC read her thoughtful observations. You can find it at Sue’s blog, The Red Jacket Dairies.

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The New York-based global consulting firm, rogenSI, reports that employee morale declined last year to low levels not seen since 2009/10.

And that was during and immediately after a severe financial crisis.

The firm’s 2012 Global Mindset Index surveyed 4,000 business professionals, and half said they felt “overwhelmed and undervalued”. Respondents also said that they were motivated more by ” a fear of failure than a drive for success” on the job.

Additionally, 64 percent of respondents said their primary driver for staying at their current job was money.

Clark Perry, director and lead researcher of the Global Mindset Index, says that over the past four years and in other surveys, he has seen a historical link between depressed employees and low gross-profit margins.

According to Crystal Kim, who covered the research in Barron’s January 28, 2013, issue, the bottom line in all this is that “businesses and markets are much better served if they can connect job security to a focus on personal achievement, rather than on sales and profits only.”

And how should business leaders do that? Through effective, two-way, strategic organizational communication. There is no other tool as powerful in the business executive’s tool kit than employee communication.

Obviously, in a weakened economy, employees worry about their jobs much more so than when the economy is good, businesses are growing, and jobs are more plentiful. Employees are fearful of losing what they have and take fewer chances, preferring to play it safe. Effective employee communication must deal with the realities of the economy and what it means to employees, creating a dialogue between employees and management in which issues can be discussed candidly and real solutions to mutual success can be found.

If business leaders want innovation and positive results, then they must create an environment in which innovation and positive results can flourish, an environment in which employees feel secure enough to concentrate on personal achievement without fear of failure. Open and honest two-way communication helps shape such an environment.

Employees want to be successful personally, and they want their organizations to be successful. The most effective way to facilitate these mutually desired outcomes is by communication that provides employees with solid information about the organization’s strategic situation and how they fit into it.

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