I have a new understanding and appreciation for the expression ‘timing is everything’ after attending The Jingle Bell Ball last night, a concert in London having a lineup of ten famous pop stars. The final act was Little Mix, a hugely popular girl group, one that was one of the headline acts.
But what happened as they performed absolutely surprised me, as little by little people got up and left! How could they leave something they had so looked forward to? Simple, the concert had over run and they needed to get home as they didn’t want to miss the last trains of the night and/or needed to get home for work or school the next morning!
This reminded me once again the importance of timing. A lesson I’ve learned many times as an HR professional as I’ve had my own share of ‘walkouts’ when communicating to my audience, my employees.
Here are three of these lessons:
1. Look at your competition.
Performing right before Little Mix was Jason Derulo, who was absolutely amazing, completely stealing the show. What this meant to Little Mix was that they had to be that much better to get the audience’s attention and support.
The same is true with our HR programs and messages, for if we try to launch or communicate them at a time when too much is going on in our business we will also be challenged with getting our employee’s attention.
It’s for this reason that when I worked for a retailer, the month of December was off limits for communicating anything unless it was absolutely critical to the business since this was our peak trading season and we needed to focus communication on these messages. So make sure you are aware of and respect your competition.
2. Find ways to stand out.
Since Little Mix was the last of ten acts to perform, they needed to find a way to stand out from the others to make it interesting and memorable. If they didn’t, then they would risk blending into the other acts.
We have the same challenge with our HR communication, since so much else is going on in the business fighting for the attention of our employees.
It’s for this reason that when we launched a new benefit at Reward Gateway we came up with something unique and different with our advent calendar approach, grabbing and keeping the attention of our employees. So find ways to stand out, making absolutely sure that nothing is missed.
3. Think of the consequences.
As I mentioned at the start, Little Mix went on last, and unfortunately was put in a no-win situation as the concert had run late. No matter how good they were, people were still going to leave early as they needed to get home.
In HR we likewise need to consider the consequences or impact of other things happening. An example is a mistake I made once when launching a new benefit program immediately after a significant change had been made with a pay program. Although the new benefit was a great one, it had no chance whatsoever to be viewed positively, as employees connected the two changes and thus saw it negatively.
Luckily I learned my lesson, and the next time positive and negative changes were happening near the same time I linked them together in my messaging. By doing this I was able to explain the why so that employees understood and accepted both of them. By getting in front of the consequences I was able to turn a negative into a positive.
So next time you get ready to communicate to your employees, remember that timing is indeed everything, and set your messages up to be the star of the show!