Trust… One little word… With huge implications for internal communications.
Without trust, our communications are worthless. Our people need to trust that we’re telling them the truth, that we’re operating in a fair and transparent way, and that we’re representing an accurate picture of the organisation.
This is why I think jargon and ‘corporate’ speak are incredibly harmful to communication. Jargon and corporate speak (indirectly) seek to obscure the message. They force our people to read between the lines and to translate the messages for themselves. Surely it would be more powerful to be open, honest and up-front with our people and with the messages we need to communicate. We empathise when the news isn’t great, sympathise with our employees’ perspectives, and remain as honest as we can.
As internal communications professionals, ours is sometimes an uncomfortable position. We navigate the space between employer and employee, and there may be times that we have to treat sensitive information confidentially. However, I think we can trust our employees to understand that there may be times that we can’t release information due to business sensitivities. But, by adopting ethical internal communications practice, and building trust amongst employees through our day-to-day communications, we can position ourselves as trusted by both the organisation and its people at times of change. I’ve written about this in my blog post on change communciations.
As we ask our employees to trust us as the voice of their organisation, so we need to trust our people. We need to trust that they will be receptive to our open and honest communications. That they will engage with our messages and act upon them. That they will be constructive with their feedback, and share their comments honestly to help us improve.
I think sometimes we don’t demonstrate enough trust in our internal audiences to engage with our messages. We need to trust that they are ‘grown up’ enough to hear the truth, however difficult that might be.
Trust in our people will be repaid by an employee body who are fully engaged with the organisation, who are clear about how they contribute to our business outcomes, and who use their voices to help improve the organisation and its outcomes.
What do you think? Is trust important to you in your internal communications?
(And why the picture of the flowers? According to gardenerdy, freesias symbolise trust. And, you know, they’re pretty…!)