Information and ideas are like currency within your organization; they are meant to be exchanged or they have no real value. Having an idea is great, but that’s only half the battle. In order to be actionable, your ideas and information need to be spread both inside and outside your organization. Your employees and customers can’t read your mind, so it is your responsibility to disseminate this material. Hoarding this information and expecting to achieve your goals is like stashing money under your mattress and expecting it to accrue interest: unrealistic.
Sharing Information Internally
There are three pieces of knowledge that you absolutely must share with your employees to achieve success.
You can’t expect your employees to help you reach your goals if they don’t know what the goals are. Even if you do not think that your strategic goals are related to every department of your organization, they should be shared with all of your employees. For example, say you own a restaurant and you wanted to increase your following on Facebook. If you shared this goal with your wait staff they could ask diners to “Like” your restaurant on Facebook if they enjoyed their experience. Sharing organizational goals and marketing goals with your team can not only help with increasing the number of your Facebook likes it can also help with team morale.
Clear expectations lay the foundation for productive and valuable employees. It’s hard to blame someone for not doing their job when you never clearly defined the role. Make sure you lay out what tasks you expect each employee to accomplish, the scope of their position, any time expectations or limitations, and any rules of conduct unique to your organization. Also, once you have shared your company wide goals, explain how you see each employee contributing to those goals to create a feeling of ownership of and responsibility for those objectives. Setting expectations for your employees makes it easier for them to reach – and achieve – them.
Your mom always said if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Well, her heart was in the right place, but you could be damaging your business if you don’t give your employees constructive feedback. They are there to help you succeed, but if you do not guide them in the right direction, they may continue down the wrong path. When you need to correct certain behavior that may be perceived as negative feedback, try the sandwich technique: sandwiching an area of improvement between two pieces of positive items. On that note, don’t underestimate the power of positive feedback. Often business leaders assume that their employee will simply be able to infer their strengths within the organization. This is generally not the case, and even when it is, hearing words of praise energizes and empowers employees, pushing them to further improve their performance.
Spreading the Word Outside Your Organization
It’s not enough to share information within your organization, you have to spread the word to your customers and followers as well. The pieces of news that you should always give your customers are as follows:
Events and Promotions
Any time you are offering a special or hosting an event you should utilize all of your available platforms of communication to notify your customers. Write a blog post about the special, send you customers an eblast, post the special on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn (with a link to the blog post). The further your reach, the more customers who learn about the promotion.
Case Studies and Testimonials
If you’re a service business, sharing case studies on your site is a great way to show your appreciation for your clients and to give potential clients an idea of what they can expect in working with you. When you receive kind words of thanks from your customers, don’t just keep them to yourself, share them as testimonials on your website.
Lessons learned and Industry Information
Every day we learn something new, and when your business is a growing industry, you’re learning more than you realize. When it comes to businesses like ours involving online marketing and technology our clients look to us to keep them updated. I bet the same is true for your business. I bet your customers would appreciate learning from you as you grow your business or as your industry grows.
Your loyal customers want to help celebrate your success! Be sure to share any milestones that you hit with them and thank them for playing a part in getting you there!
Many business owners hoard information, whether they are trying to do everything themselves, don’t think that the information is important, or simply just forget. Make a conscious effort to reflect on all of the information you’ve been holding to yourself and think of how sharing that information can benefit your company.