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Incentives + Behavioral Science + Communications = A Home Run for IC Directors

Incentive compensation professionals work hard at developing incentive plans that drive employee motivation while also meeting their company’s strategic objectives. In the past, this has been achieved by using rules of thumb and stringent financial analysis. 

Yet, hard work is not enough in today’s turbulent times.  

Man leaning back in chair behind computer looking up at motivational words looking satisfied
Create a Great IC Program AND Make Sure it is Understood

Today, compensation professionals need to add a few more tools to their tool belt. 

Specifically, they need to add a deeper understanding of behavioral science and communication strategy. A great incentive program can be a defining factor in an organization’s success but as the world evolves additional measures are needed to ensure that it is resonating with and being understood by the field. Adding behavioral science into the mix can significantly improve your program’s impact and the performance of your teams. Tie these principles together with award-winning communication and you have a home run.  

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When Power Point Fails

Oops I read this article recently, PowerPoint Does Rocket Science–and Better Techniques for Technical Reports” by Edward Tufte.

Read this article.  Seriously, read it.

It is technical and it gets into details and isn’t constrained to just one page.  It has long paragraphs.  Read it anyway.

It highlights how we have come to depend on Power Point and its conventions – even when that medium or those conventions don’t work.  And how, in this instance, might have led to disaster.

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The Power of Communication II – How More is Often Less

While this is funny, it is also a little sad.   Sad because it actually happens – and not just at Microsoft, but across the board in industry today.

In our striving to add more and make sure things are clear and understandable, we “muck up” stuff.  I’ve witnessed this type of “editing” many times in the work that we do.

The intent is always good.  Clients saying, “we need to add in the eligibility rules to the PPT” or “the graph isn’t to scale and can we add some arrows in to show how people should read it?” or “can we just put an earning example in here?”

However, in the end, what started out as a simple, memorable, and I would say engaging piece – ends up to be just another jumbled piece that doesn’t elicit any emotion or change any behavior.  We tend to put too much in and don’t leave enough out.  I understand that compensation communication (or other “important” communication) needs to have the details – I just think that they shouldn’t be on the box (or in most PPTs or overview documents).

This means that some of our communication pieces are the “packaging” – they grab our attention; they create a feeling or expectation.  Other communication needs to be the “set up instructions” – these are the simple how to use directions;  the easy to understand graphics that show you how to plug it in.  Finally you need the “warranty and trouble shooting information” – those legal parts that get into the nitty gritty; the details of how things work so that those few who really care can understand.

Watch this and laugh – but think about how it applies to you and your business communications.  How much do you try to cram in?  Is it too much?

I am a big believer in the motto – simpler is better.  I also believe that emotion is more memorable than logic.   So make sure that you don’t create a Microsoft package when you could make an Apple.

Have you ever had this happen to you?  Give a comment and let us know.

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