It's graduation season. Graduations have gotten a lot fancier since I was in school: large parties, catered food, extravagant gifts. That's a lot of pomp for their circumstance. But with the high price of higher education, some festivities are in order. It's a big deal.
Companies often overlook the opportunity to have some internal "pomp and circumstance" of their own.
Bring on the Pomp
When your company completes a big project, is there any "pomp?" In our rush to move on to the next thing, it's important to recognize the big moments and celebrate them. Signifying a job well done (even if it's just "Yes! We're done!") is important. It's a marker to your employees that tells them what they do is important and appreciated.
A word from the top—senior leaders, the CEO, the chairman—is important. Like a graduation address, a formal presentation to employees should do more than inform, it should inspire. Remind employees where you've come from as as organization and where you're headed. The right words and actions galvanize loyalty, helping you engage more deeply with employees.
A Word from the Class Valedictorian
Give a voice to other types of leaders within your organization, not just senior executives. Is there an employee who inspires others? Who nurtures and mentors new employees? The one with lots of great ideas and the first to volunteer for extra assignments? Let these peer leaders be part of the celebration. They can also help pinpoint and recognize others within your organization who may get overlooked or be underappreciated.
And then the Circumstance
When things are rough, celebration isn't in order, but communication always is. Employees smell when things are uncertain, tight or difficult. Don't leave them guessing or filling in the blanks on their own. In the worst case, the uneasiness may result in losing some of your best and brightest. And at a minimum, general distrust and hidden fear may hurt productivity.
Commencement: A New Beginning
Like graduation, when your company completes one big initiative, you are quickly moving on to the next one. Make sure your team is energized for the new road ahead. When change is involved, clear and consistent communication is needed to help all employees stay "on the bus" and headed in the same direction.
If your company is striving to graduate to new heights, MB Piland can help. Call us at 785.232.4156.