The Power of your People

March 22, 2016 Ness Kelly

In all my years working for all sized organisations one principle remains the same for any successful business.

Your people need to believe in, and love, your company as much as you do. 

The reason is simple – they are your organisations’ heart and soul; its strongest advocate. Understanding how valued your employees feel and the perceptions they have of your organisation is important. It determines the way they will communicate about your organisation to others.

We all know that communication from management to employees is critical in changing worker perceptions and needs to be tightly controlled. However the bigger issue is communication between employees and their contacts. This is much harder to control and has massive impact on job satisfaction and your brand.

Let’s look at job satisfaction…

According to the ABS, the average working 24 – 34 year old Australian male will spend approximately 39% of their waking life at work.*

Wow…

Makes you wonder how many of these people actually work in a job they love. It’s not all that surprising that businesses should take an interest in job satisfaction. Or at least they should.

One way to increase job satisfaction would be to work for a small business according to an Australian Workplace Study conducted last year. Average job satisfaction relating to flexibility, work freedom and decision making were all ranked lower for those employed in large enterprises (200+ employees) with the most significant difference between small to large organisations relating to the amount of ‘say’ employees have about what happens in their job. Shouldn’t that be a simple conversation between bosses and workers?

Communication issues in the work place commonly cause a disconnect amongst employees, especially in larger organisations. This can lead to micro-cultures, cynicism, confusion and low self confidence amongst the workforce. If your employees can’t communicate with each other internally then how on earth is your brand going to make any sense to the end user?

Good internal systems lead to good quality products.

Recently we’ve been working with a few clients that have taken the initiative to understand their employee’s happiness and productivity. They realise these are directly linked to understanding their motivators and drivers as well as any micro-cultures they work in.

Understanding the psychology behind this process is an important step towards using the correct communication tools to cut through blockages in corporate messages. This starts by understanding that employees want to belong to an organisation that has a demonstrated vision and values they agree with.

Historically, businesses that are the most successful have one set of values, one work method and one vision for the future. Getting your workforce on board, contributing and believing in the same visions not only helps the bottom line, it has a flow on effect throughout the entire organisation. Keeping employees safe, motivated and satisfied increases innovation, productivity and quality. Take Google as a perfect case study. They made $66 billion in 2015, experienced 18% FT job growth in the past year and have been on Fortune’s top 10 list for best employer for 10 years, making 2015 it’s 7th year as number one. Further to this,employee job satisfaction rating is over 95% in areas such as atmosphere, rewards, pride, communication and bosses.

Develop a workplace culture

Increasingly, more organisations are taking an interest in workplace culture to increase employee happiness through empathy driven incentives and team building exercises. Bupa’s 2015 Benchmark Survey  on Workplace Health In Australia found that almost half of the organisations surveyed (46.8%) actively include families of employees in specific social activities, with a quarter (25.7%) of these organisations inviting family members to participate in health initiatives such as workplace wellness activities. 78.1% of organisations surveyed have plans to co-ordinate workplace social activities, such as team lunches, during 2016 with 65% of organisations already confirming that they already offer team building activities in the form of physical activity like fun runs.

These seemingly small and personal gestures from organisations aid to close the gap between employees at all levels, ultimately opening the lines of communication and breaking down cultural barriers that can be devastating to your brand.

Why am I interested in this?

Of course I’m interested in this. I’m in the business of using design to improve communications. Design stretches much further than the next campaign or a witty headline. The ultimate goal is to have all your employees communicating your brand to your market. You do this by understanding their needs and communicating with them. And you give them the means to reinforce this message when they communicate with workmates.