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Digital Signposts: Top-Down Communication

One of the most common complaints among employees is the lack of direct communication from top levels of management.

One of the most common complaints among employees is the lack of direct communication from top levels of management. Instead, staff members are often given filtered information through e-mail, newsletters, or via their direct managers. This approach is problematic for a number of reasons. Most importantly, employees often feel isolated and “out of the loop” when they are not hearing directly from senior management on critical issues such as corporate direction, mergers and acquisitions, or crisis communication. Secondly, employees may feel they are receiving the communications late, which creates a negative perception. The ability for executives to reach all employees directly and communicate in real time whenever possible adds an important level of credibility, urgency, and gravitas.

The digital workplace makes this kind of direct, top-down communication possible by utilizing the internal channel delivered to desktops and mobile devices and in turn distribute live video and supporting content directly to employees. One of the key benefits of the channel is the ability to have the CEO or other executives take it over and deliver messaging exactly when all staff needs to be reached. In an enterprise with multiple campuses spread over different time zones or locations, this type of delivery helps to ensure that messages do not get misinterpreted, edited, or spun. Staff everywhere can hear directly from the office of the CEO and can be fully aligned with messaging.

The British Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, an association for human resources professionals, published a survey in late 2013 that pointed out that only 37-percent of employees trust senior management. This lack of trust can impact performance, productivity, risk taking, and knowledge sharing. Improving direct communication between management and employees can play an important role in building trust, improving organizational culture, and engaging employees in a meaningful way.

Vern Freedlander is vice president of production services for Montréal-based X2O Media [], a full-service provider of technology, network management and content services for professional digital signage applications. With more than 20 years of broadcast television experience as a producer, director and executive, Freedlander oversees all of X2O Media’s content initiatives. He can be reached at [email protected].

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