I read the recent furore over United Airlines sacking their staff with mixed feelings and a grim smile.
I’ve come across a few cases in the past of staff “selling on” their benefits. Sometimes they are more than aware that they are committing an offence, but on other occasions it’s not so obvious to them. Selling airline vouchers or a company branded t-shirt on e-bay (especially a desirable brand) may seem like a quick and easy way to make a bit of extra cash, but if it’s been clearly explained to staff that it is not acceptable then they know the risk they are taking.
I wonder why the message doesn’t always get through? Telling staff it won’t be tolerated seems clear enough. So is it the message itself, or the way that it’s delivered?
I frequently discuss with my clients that nothing replaces good old-fashioned communication. As a species we’ve been communicating verbally for far longer than we’ve been writing words down. Verbal communication is probably far more likely to get your message through than a lengthy written missive. Yet it seems we still prefer to communicate with staff using every media except the one that we are genetically programmed to hear.
I get that it’s important for a clear and precise message to be communicated, but are we not just taking the easy way out? We can always use the excuse that by writing it down instead of saying it, we get exactly the same message to everyone. But what if that message is not seen – or not understood? How do we know it’s been effective, if we don’t communicate further?
I hate legislating for the wrong-doers, although of course that’s how most company policies work. But to me this is a clear example where multiple communications methods are required. Tell staff what they can and can’t do, then use other media to reinforce it. Check your contracts are clear, and then maybe on-line communication and good benefits programming can help? If the benefit is not transferrable – a brief reminder as you order it should suffice, or maybe the same type of approach as with concert tickets where you have named ticket holders?
Whatever your preferred method, check the message got through. Test the understanding. Look for feedback…… and repeat……
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