You know how sometimes you read a book and the advice stays with you, even years later?
One of those books for me is Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping by Paco Underhill, which explains how retailers and others use a variety of tested techniques to get you to 1) put that item in your cart, and 2) buy it.
These techniques include everything from lighting and signage to physical layout to whether or not they even have shopping carts (Target does; Macy’s doesn’t), and why.
Yes, this does relate to employee communication. Here’s how: Companies that want you to buy their stuff understand that they not only have to attract your interest and make you feel you need/want that item—they also have to create an environment (physical or virtual) where you can easily find the item, enjoy doing so, touch it/smell it/taste it/visualize it, try it on, and take it with you when it’s time to go.
But when it comes to an organization’s communication offerings, employees often feel dazed and confused. They don’t see the value of each vehicle, don’t know how things are organized or how they fit together, and can’t easily find the information they’re looking for. For employees, it’s like being stuck at an endless checkout line in some now-defunct retailer that deserved to die: Bradlees. Caldor. The Wiz. Ames Department Stores.
What’s the problem? Communication is confusing and complex, and employees need to be reminded how the system works—how to get around the store. Think mall map: “You are here. This is where you find the food court.”
How well are you minding your store?