Reaching and changing frontline employees

  • Larkin T
  • Larkin S
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Planning a major change in your organization? If so, chances are you have arranged a huge rally, rousing speeches, videos, and special editions of the company paper. Stop. This sort of communication is not working. If you want people to change the way they do their jobs, you must change the way you communicate with them. Drawing on their own research and the research of other communication experts from the past two decades, the authors argue that senior managers--and most communication consultants--have refused to hear what frontline workers have been trying to tell them: When you need to communicate a major change, stop communicating values, communicate face-to-face, and spend most of your time, money, and effort on frontline supervisors. Frontline employees don't want to find out about a change by watching a video. Nor do they want to read about it in a company publication, which they know is untrustworthy and usually incomprehensible. Large meetings won't do the trick, either. Change may be acceptable to employees, but empty slogans won't be. Despite research showing that frontline employees prefer to receive information from their supervisor--the person to whom they are closest--companies continue to depend on charismatic executives to inspire the troops. Why doesn't this work? Because frontline supervisors are the real opinion leaders in any company. Senior managers must discuss a change face-to-face with supervisors, who will pass information along to their subordinates. Communication between frontline supervisors and employees counts the most toward changed behavior where it matters the most: at the front line. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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  • ISBN: 0017-8012
  • ISSN: 00178012
  • SCOPUS: 2-s2.0-0001794383
  • PUI: 550309892
  • PMID: 9605027835
  • SGR: 0001794383


  • T. J. Larkin

  • Sandar Larkin

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