Creating employee relationships - balancing head and heart


To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means do something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected. And whatever you do must have an emotional impact on the receiver.
- Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Stories about company employees interacting with customers in a personal way make me stop and take notice.  Did you read the one about the Amazon rep who had a Norse mythology themed chat with a customer? Great stuff. If you missed LEGO’s Ninja Sensei reply to 7 year old Luka who lost a LEGO figure and emailed the company for help, it’s definitely worth a read.

These companies are connecting with customers on a personal level to solve their problems. They’re creating trust, loyalty and making customers feel good about doing business with them. They’re building lasting relationships.

Now, imagine these types of stories and connections happening internally, between managers and employees.  Why do so many companies put the bulk of effort and resources on creating relationships with customers and not employees?

Are you struggling to visualize the Norse mythology themed Q1 finance summary from the CFO?  It’s no wonder. Most of us are used to company communication coming in long, dull emails. Or in employee town halls featuring epic power points and in meetings that go on for hours. Not very personal or emotional.

The burning question is why?

Why do many leaders and managers stick with the communication status quo? Why, when studies find that effective and engaging internal communication leads to better business results? (Statistic see separate box.) Why not more emphasis on the heart instead of the head?

Communicators are working hard on the internal front to create relationships.  They battle against:

  • Poor expression of company vision
  • Little leadership connection to employees
  • Gaps in trust
  • Self versus audience focused communication
  • Mixed leadership messages across functional teams and regions

Some communicators are helping organizations win the battle. They’re finding the balance between head and heart. And it’s not always with newfangled tools.  Sometimes using existing tools is all it takes, along with a few small steps into the unconventional and innovative WOW zone.  Here are a few things they’re doing:

  • Segmenting or differentiating employee groups, targeting and connecting with them
  • Crafting conversational emails, the type they would like to receive
  • Creating online communities like the ones employees are used to outside work
  • Going easy on the facts, figures and corporate jargon -  less words, more pictures and sometimes no words at all
  • Cutting through the clutter of digital and visual noise and telling good stories featuring customers, employees, community

Start today with just a few small steps to balance head and heart with your employee communications.  You’ll soon be creating relationships that gets them caring and sharing. 



Only 13% of global employees are “engaged”; which means 87% of employees are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged”.

Gallup, Inc. “State of Global Workplace,” 2013


Only 22% of Europeans feel their leaders are effective communicators.

Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor Study, Disillusionment Index 2014


Effective communications is consistently cited as the number one attribute of effective leaders, according to employees.

Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor Study, March 2013


Companies that have engaged their workforces, see up to 147% higher earnings per share (EPS) compared with their competitors. These organizations held their own in a down economy, and then outpaced the competition as the economy improved.

Gallup, Inc.  American Workplace Study, 2010 - 2012




Share on


by Topic

Communications Strategy
Content Marketing
Crisis Communications
Digital Marketing
EMG Community
Industry Trends
Lead Generation
Marketing Communications
Media Monitoring
Media Relations
Social Media



by Date