The end of the year is fast approaching. The results of 12 months of effort will be revealed. Businesses will see how successful they have been in the past year—and what the future may hold.
For internal communicators, it’s a golden opportunity for employee engagement. Sharing year-end results improves confidence in leadership and can directly influence employee happiness.
Transparency and openness are the cures for potentially damaging rumors and water-cooler talk. It’s time to start planning your communication.
These 10 communication tips will help you share your year-end performance with staff—regardless of whether the outlook is gloom or boom.
1. Link results with strategy.
With every piece of communication, spell out how everyday efforts across the organization supported the results. A new branch opening, a new product launched, a departmental restructure—significant developments like these will have had big impacts on staff, either positively or negatively. Failing to address the results of these developments will have the whiff of cover-up or obfuscation.
2. Keep staff in the loop.
Ensure staff are looped in on all public announcements. Don’t leave them to find anything out from external media sources. After all, staff were instrumental in achieving the year’s results, so it’s only fair they are the first to know what those results are. Plus, it demonstrates that employers have nothing to hide, which is especially important given that 76 percent of employees don’t trust employers who fail to share company data.
3. Consider channel selection.
You’ll need an integrated communication plan to achieve high levels of awareness and readership among staff. That means not just posting something on the company intranet or broadcasting it in an email. Select complementary channels that support engagement at each step, from generating interest in advance to ensuring broad reach for delivery to reinforcing information for follow-up. If your communication platform doesn’t provide this, find one that does.
4. Paint a picture.
Don’t just deliver the numbers—join those numbers like a dot-to-dot activity to visually capture your results. Translating the data in this way will be especially welcomed by non-financial staff (which will be most of them). Consider including video as well—video desktop alerts are a great option to reach remote staff if an in-person presentation is not possible.
5. Accentuate the positive.
Employees rally behind success—it lifts spirits and inspires effort. So even if your business results have been disappointing, make sure to spotlight any successes. Has a team performed especially well? Has a previous negative trend begun swinging in a positive direction? Don’t neglect the improvements the business has to make, but look for the light amid the darkness too.
6. Prepare answers in advance.
There are sure to be questions from staff, especially if performance has been less than stellar. Preparing answers in advance gives you more control over staff responses, particularly emotional reactions, and demonstrates strong leadership. Employees’ primary concern will be what the results mean for them personally, so be sure you can answer appropriately. To foster openness, consider an “ask me anything” session with your CEO.
7. Summarize key takeaways.
When communicating your year-end results, there will be a lot for staff to take in. What’s the top-line result? What were the main drivers for this? How did their department fare? Summarize the key takeaways to promote internally. Display these visually on digital signage or poster boards in common areas, like kitchens, bathrooms and break-out spaces.
8. Cascade to departments.
Employees’ main frame of reference is the department or team they work in, so it’s important to cascade the results down to the level most relevant to them. Detail the specific impacts made by their department. How did they perform against their KPIs, what were their achievements, how did the work of every team member contribute to the results?
9. Allow staff their say.
Invite staff to submit their ideas for improvement. With the announcement of results, their attention will be on business performance—probably more so than any other time of the year. So, leverage the opportunity to get them to brainstorm ways to improve the business. Survey them for suggestions or run a contest to encourage participation.
10. Define clear next steps.
So, you’ve delivered the results, made them meaningful, engaged with departments and addressed the questions. That just leaves the question, Where to from here? As one year ends, another begins. Clearly spell out your new business objectives, your expectations of staff and the tactical initiatives you’ll undertake to achieve them. This is the time for a rallying cry that musters your workforce into an unstoppable army.
Year-end is a crucial time in the business calendar. It’s also a time when internal communication can really shine—increasing employee satisfaction, aligning individual efforts with collective achievements, and establishing foundations for the future. It just takes a little bit of planning.