CCOs have a responsibility to encourage and nurture open communication at their organizations. While this is quite the undertaking in today’s politically charged atmosphere, it's achievable with an adaptable strategy on standby. Keep reading for three ways to foster open communication in 2024 while mitigating the risks this atmosphere poses to your business. 

Heal Polarization & Prebunk Disinformation 

While polarization and disinformation seemed to reach new heights following the events of October 7, the upcoming US Presidential Election is guaranteed to challenge communicators even more. To minimize the negative effects this upcoming election may have on our organizations, it’s imperative that CCOs foster open communication to heal our deeply polarized society and “pre-bunk” disinformation that may be spewed to the public.

A focus on promoting transparency, organizing open forums, inviting subject matter experts for staff education, and maintaining regular contact with those affected should be high on our priority list for this year. Doing so will help avoid the many missteps communications leaders experienced with their response to the Middle Eastern crisis, and foster a positive, inclusive environment within our organizations amidst the rising negativity in the world.

These tactics are proven to work. According to research by the Grossman Group and Harris Poll, an internal statement + manager outreach to staff following October 7, resulted in 59% of employees having increased confidence in their company's leadership, 54% of employees felt better aligned with their company culture, and 45% felt more engaged. 

Host Open Forums 

Our 2023 Culture Guide highlights a member who took the initiative to establish a voluntary "Exchange" program. This program provided a platform for employees to openly discuss matters concerning the enterprise, with their managers present purely to listen. The silence lasted for 40 minutes in the first meeting, but eventually, these gatherings led to increased employee satisfaction and a feeling of being heard.

Page is launching a monthly Open Forum for our members, kickstarting this initiative on January 30 at 12 p.m ET. These forums will serve as a space for members to share their thoughts, ideas, and questions about recent events, personal obstacles, and their role within their organizations. We are open to and encourage all types of suggestions. If there's anything you'd like to bring up, feel free to submit your suggestion here.

Actively Listen & Learn 

These are essential skills for every CCO. It’s not enough to just use your communication prowess to persuade people to think, use it to understand your key stakeholders and build lasting alliances. If stakeholders feel seen, heard & understood, you’ll be able establish a foundation of trust necessary to communicate effectively to them - even when they may not be initially receptive in certain situations. Work on developing your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills this year by actively listening to your stakeholders, learning from their experiences, and communicating back to them with empathy.

Let's seize the new year and its possibilities to foster open communication within our organization by implementing these three strategies.