One of the great debates in business is about how much information we should share with our teams. There are two schools of thought:
- The ‘You-Can’t-Handle-The-Truth’ Community College.
- The ‘There’s-No-Such-Thing-As-TMI’ Prep Academy.
I have gone on recruiting trips to both campuses. They feel very different. One has a work hard, play hard vibe. The other feels like the place where the parents from Footloose went to school.
Solving For Happy
One of the key factors of employee satisfaction is feeling like you know what is happening within your organization. Employees are afraid of being left in the dark. It makes them feel like outsiders, when all they really want is to feel like insiders. #SodaPopAndPonyBoy
A lack of information sharing makes employees suspicious, and encourages them to jump to their own conclusions. In many corporate cultures conclusion jumping is like an Olympic event, and a world-class distraction.
Low Unemployment Means Higher Expectations.
Today, the labor market is tighter than a Boca Raton facelift. Which means that we have to make sure our employees feel valued and included in order to keep them engaged (I mean actively interested and invested in your company, not committed to getting married).
That’s why I believe in this simple philosophy:
Share information to show your employees that you see them as part of the solution. And not part of the problem.
If You’ve Got A Problem, Yo, Let Them Solve It.
At the beginning of 2018 all of the business at my advertising and idea agency, The Weaponry, was project based. We were thrilled to have the work. And the work we performed for many of our clients was steady throughout the year. However, because we didn’t have any long-term commitments from our clients it limited our ability to plan. And it prevented us from committing to more full-time hires, which would better serve our clients.
I shared this challenge with our team at the beginning of 2018. Our account leaders took matters into their own hands. They had discussions with several of our clients who regularly engaged us for projects. They shared the merits of having a fixed plan in place, dedicated employees who accumulated knowledge on their business, and the ad agency-equivalent of rollover minutes that would never expire.
As a result, by the 3rd quarter of 2018 we had 6 retainer clients who compensated us with a fixed monthly payment. That helped make our revenue stream steadier and more predictable. It makes it easier for our clients to manage their budget. The retainer commitments have enabled us to think longer term about the work we do for our clients. And it has allowed us to invest in our team and infrastructure to better serve our clients.
People love solving problems. They love showing that they know, or can find the right answers. So share information with your team. Let them solve more of your organizations challenges by giving them more of the information they need to create great solutions. Remember, leadership will never have all of the best answers to the challenges that face an organization. It’s amazing how much faster and more intelligently you can solve an issue when all of your best minds are working on the problem.