Oct 23, 2017

How to Avoid Playing Telephone With Your Employees

Remember playing Telephone as a kid in elementary school? Sitting on the ground in your classroom, waiting for your classmate next to you to turn with a giggle and whisper a distorted and incomprehensible phrase – Was that dirty skittles or scurry mittens? You’re the end of the line, so you clear your throat nervously and cough out the garbled words to the rest of the classroom. Everyone laughs at your feeble attempt, and all you can think is, I hope I never have to play this game again.

Well, it turns out that for many of us, those days are far from gone.

Many businesses struggle with the “Telephone effect” in their messaging, branding, and communications. Directives and campaigns start out as one thing at the top of the organization and end up being something completely different in their brick-and-mortar implementation. We’re talking incorrect displays and sales, and even employees who are unaware of a store’s special that day.

So how do businesses fix this? It’s a two-part process:

First, companies need to shift the understanding behind their hierarchy to one that sees their frontline employees as a strategic resource, not simply the final cog in their operations—the last person in the Telephone game is as important as the first. Second, businesses must implement a clear, direct channel of communication to ensure that all messages being passed down through the company’s infrastructure remains intact and on-target.

Employees as Brand Ambassadors

Your company may have the most creative marketing campaign and in-store promotions, but without empowered employees representing the company, these efforts are likely to fall flat. Companies must realize that their frontline employees are their greatest resource.

A brand ambassador is an engaged employee who represents the company’s vision and mission in all that he or she does at work, including interacting with customers, posting on their social media networks, and leading their specific divisions. A brand ambassador is receptive to the message they are given while playing Telephone. To achieve a workforce of brand ambassadors, companies must work to improve employee engagement by connecting their workers to the company’s overall mission. This can be achieved by empowering, motivating, and enhancing the employee experience using digital workplace technology like WorkJam. Engaged employees want to represent the company well, so the first step to develop a workforce of brand ambassadors is to drive engagement.

Direct Channel of Communication

Once you’ve empowered your employees, the next step is to ensure that executive decisions and directives are communicated to them effectively and efficiently. Often, we see campaigns that start out as great ideas in the upper echelons of the company but fail completely in their real-world execution. To avoid this, executive decision-makers need to open a clear, direct channel of communication between them and their frontline employees. WorkJam’s messaging & communication module enables this kind of communication, so everyone in the business is informed and moving toward the same goal.

Nobody wants their marketing communications to be like the final phrase in a game of Telephone. Through empowered brand ambassadors and open channels of communication, campaigns go from an unintelligible, distorted mess—bashfully repeated aloud to a group of laughing peers or dissatisfied customers—to a streamlined and consistent messaging strategy that is representative of the company’s mission and values. No. More. Telephone.

Author bio:

Loree Miller is the Director of Marketing at WorkJam and is responsible for developing and overseeing the implementation of the marketing strategy. As a progressive thought leader, Loree joined WorkJam after ten years with Kronos bringing expertise in Workforce Management, Employee Engagement, Industry, and Field Marketing.

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