Why Human Communication Is Key To Engaging Your People & Improving Performance

Why Human Communication Is Key To Engaging Your People & Improving Performance
SHARE
THIS



Jen and Dougal Jackson (pictured below) are founders of Jaxzyn, an employee experience company working with Fortune 500 and ASX listed companies. They’re also authors of How to Speak Human. In this guest post, the duo talk the value of an organisation’s human communication and its impact on all parts of a business…

For many leaders, engagement is a biannual conversation — a retrospective snapshot of how effective their people and culture strategy has been in driving business outcomes. Smart leaders, however, aren’t waiting two years to discover the need for change. They’re embracing proactive engagement measures to improve performance.

Jen & Dougal Jackson landscape 2

In 2016, Gallup released their Q12 Meta-Analysis, a comprehensive study examining the impact of employee engagement on business performance. As well as discovering a strong correlation between high engagement and better business outcomes including profitability productivity and shareholder returns, the study detailed two methods of measuring engagement.

The first were reflective measures. These include pride, loyalty, intent to stay with company, and most importantly — discretionary effort. All important and impactful insights, but like any reflective measure, by the time they’re reviewed it’s too late to do anything about them. 

The second way of assessing engagement were the formative measures. These include: ‘I know what is expected of me at work’, ‘in the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work’, ‘my supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person’, ‘there is someone at work who encourages my development’, ‘the mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important’ and ‘I have a best friend at work’.

The results of these measures are driven by the connection between manager and team member. It’s a connection built on the foundations of human communication.

Managers can start by changing the language

The relationship between manager and employee can make or break the employee experience. More than ever, organisations are asking their managers to step up and lead. To go beyond managing tasks and process. To engage with their teams in an innately human way to increase engagement and drive high performance cultures.

The teams of the very near future will be vastly different. The ability to go beyond technical expertise and embrace human communication skills will be what keeps leaders relevant: inspiring people to do their best work; helping them navigate inevitable change; increasing productivity; promoting innovation; keeping them safe, healthy and happy.

We can define this approach as speaking human — pushing beyond typically bland, jargon-filled corporate messaging to consider the way people naturally communicate. It’s an approach grounded in psychology and neuroscience, using emotions, narratives, inclusive language and language that fosters connection.

At the core of good leadership is the ability to influence — to change or make something happen. Without influence, nothing and no-one changes. And that’s as good as a death knell in this fast-paced business landscape.

Choose any heavyweight through history and consider what makes them memorable. Whether it was Winston Churchill rallying England through war, Martin Luther King Jr. taking a stand for civil rights or Steve Jobs making Apple relevant again, their ability to influence came from exceptional human communication skills.

These leaders understood the power of language to inspire people and bring them together, and how to use words, imagery and narratives to evoke emotions.

Use the science of communication to cut through the noise

Attention is everything. Without it, leaders risk wasting time and money developing well-intentioned, potentially brilliant strategies, programs and initiatives that fail before they ever get off the ground. Not because they weren’t good or necessary, but simply because no-one paid them any attention.

The challenge is that life is busy and work is busier. It’s an increasingly connected world, with a barrage of priorities constantly competing for eyes, ears and minds. Emails, meetings, memos, posters, phone calls, messages and all kinds of asynchronous communications: Yammer, Slack, various message platforms — and the socials. People’s days are crammed with more and more. Their attention spans, stretched to breaking.

To survive amidst the noise, people have become skilled at sifting irrelevant or uninspiring information. This makes attention an incredibly valuable resource — a finite one at that. And, like any other business resource, be it money, machinery, time or space, attention should be wisely invested in, carefully managed and never, ever squandered.

Leaders need to take an active role in cutting through the noise and earning attention. They need to draw people in, make them curious, make them laugh, surprise them, tantalise them with stories, visualise content to make it easier to consume, be relevant and interesting, and above all — make people feel something. 

Provide opportunities for connection and developing deeper relationships

The same communication tactics that help gain attention and influence people, also lead to increased connection over time. By inspiring curiosity, fostering anticipation, engineering surprise and delight, simplifying and visualising content, embracing emotions and considering language, leaders can build engagement, and better business performance as a result.

In an increasingly complex and challenging business environment, it’s the distinctly human qualities of connection and the strength of pre-existing relationships that will be the difference between smooth sailing and choppy seas. And this makes opportunities for connection an investment that will pay dividends in the future.

Please login with linkedin to comment

Dougal Jackson Jaxzyn Jen Jackson

Latest News

Bangkok Thailand - August 31 2017 Facebook App on iPhone with computer laptop background closeup male hand hold social network on smart device concept.
  • Media
  • Opinion

Young Australians Will Abandon Facebook If It Doesn’t Do More To Combat Hate Speech

In this guest post, founders of The Daily Aus Sam Koslowski and Zara Seidler discuss why in order to stay in the game and keep its user, social media giant Facebook needs to do more to combat hate speech… For young Australians, Facebook is on the decline. Unless the platform better responds to its user’s […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Baskin-Robbins Australia Awarded For Stranger Things Campaign
  • Media

Baskin-Robbins Australia Awarded For Stranger Things Campaign

A brave move has paid dividends for Baskin-Robbins Australia who recently announced they won the award for Best Digital Initiative at last week’s QSR Media Awards. Baskin-Robbins Australia’s Master Licensee, Palm Oasis Ventures took a risk in launching a digital winter campaign targeting a new millennial and Gen Z demographic when it partnered with Netflix to launch season 3 of the streaming giant’s most popular show, the sci-fi horror series, Stranger Things.

TikTok Turns On Trump (Again)
  • Media

TikTok Turns On Trump (Again)

TikTok has turned on Trump once again. As yet, no one brave enough to speculate it's the work of the Chinese government.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA JULY 1, 2018: Entrance to Adobe San Francisco office location in historic Baker and Hamilton warehouse
  • Media

Convert Digital Awarded Adobe’s Magento Gold Status

Leading eCommerce website development agency, Convert Digital, has achieved the coveted Magento Gold Status from Adobe. This accomplishment has been reached following the agency’s continuing work with the Magento 2 platform - platform that is incredibly robust and offers unrivalled flexibility and scalability.

Influencers Raise $95k For Starlight Children’s Foundation In Do-Good Campaign Via Born Bred Talent
  • Campaigns

Influencers Raise $95k For Starlight Children’s Foundation In Do-Good Campaign Via Born Bred Talent

Influencer marketing agency Born Bred Talent has partnered with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to mobilise their talent roster and support the Stream Raiser campaign, contributing over $95k in donations thanks to virtual fundraising efforts.  With a combined reach of 6.2 million across Instagram, TikTok and Twitch, 9 Australian influencers contributed 76% of the $124k raised […]

UNICEF Set To Launch ClickforCovid Relief Gaming Stream
  • Advertising

UNICEF Set To Launch ClickforCovid Relief Gaming Stream

In 2020, the ‘new wave’ of youth consumers have inspired the world with their activism and fundraising, so eGEN is proud to have partnered with UNICEF, Loserfruit and friends to help gamers fight COVID and help the world’s most vulnerable children. The world’s most famous strawberry will be joined by her Click crew for a […]

Silverbullet Achieves Adobe Audience Manager Specialisation
  • Media

Silverbullet Achieves Adobe Audience Manager Specialisation

Silverbullet Data Services Group (Silverbullet), has become one of only four businesses globally to achieve Adobe Specialisation in EMEA for Adobe Audience Manager. Adobe Specialised Partners are acknowledged as the most skilled technical practitioners throughout the global partner ecosystem. Specialisations are earned after organisations achieve a level of certified expertise in an Adobe solution and […]

Businesswoman hand connecting jigsaw puzzle, Business solutions, success and strategy concept
  • Technology

General Mills Partners With Zyper To Build Virtual Superfan Communities

Food company General Mills has partnered with Zyper, a marketing platform that connects brands with their superfans, to build virtual fan communities for General Mills’ brands. As part of the agreement, General Mills will use Zyper’s software to initially identify the Betty Crocker and Fibre One brands’ top one per cent of fans on social […]

Facebook Pledges $500,000 To Group Admins Across Australia
  • Technology

Facebook Pledges $500,000 To Group Admins Across Australia

Facebook is continuing its Facebook Australia Groups Impact Fund, today announcing $500,000 in funding for the program. The grant was originally designated for bushfire recovery groups, however, has now been extended to local communities across the country who might be facing hardship. Facebook said it is on the lookout for groups that have a positive […]