YOUR YEAR-END REPORT TO EMPLOYEES
di Jeff Pasquale jeffpasquale.com
Bilanci di fine anno e previsioni per l'anno nuovo: un'arte sottile che ogni responsabile dovrebbe imparare.
It’s a pretty routine exercise for company leaders to give their board and stockholders a recap of the past year and a prediction for the coming one. What’s not typical are leaders who consistently share this information with employees as well.
Leaders today have more opportunities (via email, cell phones, and Blackberries) to communicate than ever before. The trouble with having all of these options is that we tend to rely on them as alternatives to face to fact contact.
In other words, we distance ourselves from those we lead.
Consider, for a moment, exactly who your employees are – the company’s stakeholders who stake their lives, futures, and paychecks on your leadership.
A Year End Report to employees should include the following:
- An Overview of The Past Year – Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. The past is a good foundation to share and consider, but it’s behind you, so focus on what’s ahead
- Specific Details About The Coming Year - Too often, leaders impart information they alone determine their employees need to hear, sometimes leaving employees wondering if the leader knows what is important to them. Avoid giving the standard “things are good, but we need to do better” update, even if it’s true. Consider how just a slight change in wording might sound to your audience if, instead, you said – “Things are good, and I want us to do even better.” Employees want to be lead, not managed.
Update them on the specifics of the company’s top three initiatives - how the leadership team came up with them, and why they’re important. Paint a picture for them, tell them a story, engage them in the process. It matters not the size of your company; employees can feel secluded in a company with 4 employees as easily as in a company of 200.
Make sure, too, that you address the topics of Change, Challenges, Opportunities, and Competition, for they are the primary components that affect the lives of your employees.
- Define Your Role and My Role – Employees want to know where your focus is. They, also, want specifics and need clarification about what is expected of them and what they can expect from you. Tell them. Make your commitment to them and get their commitment for you.
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Above all, when sharing your update with employees, keep in mind what they are probably thinking but will never say. Philip Crosby called it the “WIIFM factor” – What’s In It For Me? The typical questions floating around in your employees’ heads are:
- Will my job or my department radically change?
- What else will be expected of me?
- What aren’t you telling me?
- Why should I care?
- How do I know you’re serious?
- Are you going to provide the support and guidance I need to succeed?
- Can I count on you to be consistent when things get tough?
- Can I count on my manager for consistent support as well?
A year-end report should answer those types of questions before they have to be asked. Consider asking employees what’s on their mind by asking them to forward what they’d like to be updated on by filling out an anonymous survey in advance of the speech. Be sure to leave yourself enough time left to analyze them.
The adage “you manage things and you lead people,” applies now more than ever. Whether you are a leader of a department, a company, or a club, remember that people are looking to you to provide them the support, the information, and the vision to move forward as individuals and as an organization. It doesn’t matter if you talk for five minutes or forty-five minutes; invest your time in your people. Take the time to inform (and remind) them why their work is important. In today’s busy world, it’s easy to forget. Remind and engage them (again) with a Year End Report.