Communicating on Purpose

I was recently given a glowing report of life at one of the major supermarket chains by a budding communications professional, following her experience of working on a graduate programme.

She didn’t have a bad word to say about them, and would, given the right opportunity, go back there at the drop of a hat. Further still, she admits to going out of her way to shop with them and no-one else.

Why? She was made to feel part of a large family, with clarity on the overall direction of the business and equal clarity on her role in relation to that direction.

There was a good benefits package and a general feeling of openness and transparency from leaders, meaning when there was bad news to deliver, she at least believed what she was being told.

This, you would probably agree, is the holy grail of internal engagement – employees connected to the overall purpose and strategy of the organisation, feeling valued in relation to that purpose, with a general sense of trust and belief in the business leaders. A potential employee, and customer, for life.

The business in question had obviously worked hard to get those connections right – from distilling their purpose and strategy into a form that was palatable and actionable for everyone, and rewarding people in a way that employees believed to be fair and consistent with the performance of the business.

Interestingly, she also told about a story about one of her employers’ competitors. There was a news story in the morning press that the competitor’s CEO was set to leave. There had been an email leak the night before, meaning she knew about the departure of the rival CEO at the same time, if not before, employees at the rival company.

Now it might be fanciful to suggest that it was the lack of similar employee engagement at the rival company that resulted in the leak of the news, but we do know that ‘affective security’ – the desire to protect an organisation out of loyalty to it – is a powerful weapon when it comes to information security.

Our confidant also confirmed her employers used the story, and the commitment of her colleagues, to preach the importance of information security as a means of protecting the reputation of the company they clearly all hold dear.

A business that has embedded a positive culture and belief in its purpose, can leverage that commitment to ask for support on a broader range of issues – including Compliance. Powerful stuff.