I’ve had a bit of a revelation about employee or internal communication of late. I’m sure it’s been obvious to many people but I’ve just made the link. You can have the best employee communication system ever but if your employees aren’t engaged then it’s a complete waste of time.

My colleague Kim Larochelle and I are members of a group called Mastermind headed up by the one and only silver fox Ilan Kogus and he teaches us a methodology called the Great Game of Business (GGOB).

The main principles of the GGOB are focused around open book management and explaining the ‘why’. Sounds easy and it’s something we try hard to do at DRPR but it’s amazing how many companies don’t embrace it. I’ve known about the GGOB for a while now but I’ve only just made the link in my head between the GGOB and employee communication.

That’s because employee communication is not just about newsletters, staff meetings and CEO speeches. It’s about every time anyone has a conversation, meeting or sends a written document within an organisation. It’s about the company’s website and it’s about what a company representative says in a media interview.

Do you believe in open communication and open books with employees?

In my former corporate life I’ve been the architect of some wonderful (I thought they were anyway) employee communication projects like when Dick Smith Electronics took over Tandy. We called it a ‘merger’ but everyone knew it wasn’t. We had everything in place to tell people about how wonderful the future was for them all but we failed to check if they were engaged. I don’t know how many great people either left or were forced to leave as a result of the ‘merger’ but I’m sure it was plenty and I bet they were all bitter about it.

We didn’t bother to ask them how they thought it should happen and we certainly didn’t ask them what mattered most to them.

The GGOB above all is about respect for other people. Trusting them enough to share your internal secrets and making them feel part of your tribe. I deliberately didn’t use the word team because it’s so overused in business.

So next time you’re thinking about communicating with your staff don’t labour over whether you’ve got your commas in the right place, make sure you are speaking ‘with’ them and not dictating ‘to’ them. You might be pleasantly surprised with the reaction.