Geographic Distance and Telecommunications Challenges with Improved Employee Communication and Participation
By Kipp Lanham, Senior Account Executive, Media & Communications Strategies, Inc.
It is always exciting when a start-up company begins to take off. New hires join, public relations consultants are added, advertising is considered and leadership solidifies on the board of directors. Sometimes that growth happens at such a fast rate across a wide geographic scale that it is hard to unify messages and in touch about the company’s mission and goals. An effective way to help inform all staff about the current state of affairs at the company and to get everyone on message is to use a national or regional conference retreat as a platform.
Of course budgets can come immediately into question, but where they are not a concern, there are numerous advantages to gathering employees together to refocus and recommit to the work at hand:
- Awarding efforts – giving out awards to employees affirms their contributions and encourages future production. Awards can be given based on performance as well as the positive influence brought to the company. It also serves as a model of what is viewed as achievement and motivates team members.
- Acknowledging each employee’s story – this is a great way to utilize the employee and their story in the overall company as far as the employee’s work with clients and the impact being made. The effort makes the employee feel included and have a voice at the table rather than stuck at a lower level of the corporate hierarchy.
- Bonding with the team – scheduled meals at points throughout the conference to provide opportunities to brainstorm and have a constructive dialogue with co-workers on the mission/direction of the company and stimulate new ideas and reflection on challenges/successes.
- Relaxation and recreation – convening the conference at an attractive locale with exciting activities nearby such as recognized resort venues can provide places for employees to decompress after intense meetings and dinner discussions about work.
- Evaluating the engagement – at the end of a conference retreat, survey the employees to determine what content discussed in meetings with team presenters and other activities had the most effective input. Reflecting on this feedback will inform what the employees were looking for, what they received, and what can be considered for future conference retreats.
All of these activities produce messages that contribute to an overall story that the company can tell to interest media in the company’s brand and impact in the community. If positioned strategically with relevant breaking news or other news tie-ins, the company can gain visibility for the work happening and what is to come. So if you happen to work at a start-up that is blossoming quickly, consider the conference retreat as part of the yearly calendar to refocus and revitalize.