Family Business Communication
At every family-owned business retreat, the lack of adequate communication, from the company to its employees, is always in the top five issues — often in the top three. Communication, or the lack thereof, is deceptive inasmuch as many family business owners and managers assume that the problem can easily be resolved with an internal website, an internal newsletter, or other published information. Most often, the dissatisfaction is mostly about employees:
- Not knowing where the company is heading;
- Not knowing what the plan is to get it there;
- Not understanding what their role is in supporting that mission; and
- Not being aware as to how they are performing against expectations.
Anytime there is ambiguity, whether it is about job duties, expectations, authority, responsibility, lack of information, or so much more, a family business will suffer from communication failures. At Succession Institute LLC, we have the necessary experience to help family businesses work through all of these areas so that the corporate resources, management and employees can knowingly and simultaneously begin moving in the same direction.
Common issues to deal with that impact and improve internal communications within the family business are:
- Employee evaluation processes;
- Employee feedback tools (from suggestion boxes to 360 degree feedback instruments);
- Standard operating procedures (published information outlining the guidelines a company expects its board, management and employees to operate within);
- A clear organization of governance (board powers and expectations; management’s powers, limitations, and expectations; published organizational charts; etc.)
- Job descriptions;
- Job competency models;
- Performance expectations, both for family members and other employees in the business;
- Assessments (leadership, managerial and limited personality tests);
- Performance measurement and monitoring systems to objectively evaluate performance;
- Open communication regarding the company’s mission, vision and values;
- Internal communication tools, techniques and processes to quickly update employees about critical information (so that the grapevine is not the only source of important information); and
- The creation/fine-tuning of information/reports to assist management in day-by-day business navigation (development of critical success factors, key operating statistics and other management-focused analytical tools).