Employee priorities of stability and remuneration have given way to one demanding and elusive ask: Purpose. Not only do employees want to be able to see how their contributions to the workplace make a difference, they want clear alignment between their purpose and that of the organization. They want to see values in action that harmonize with their own. They want unencumbered, unfiltered and authentic communication from real leaders.

More than ever, it is the employees that define the leader, and they’ve told us very clearly that real leaders bring their entire selves into leadership positions. They are self-aware and focus their energies on the organization as a whole. They embrace wellness in the workplace and eschew hierarchies that separate decision-making from those best equipped to make the decisions. They forego corporate speak and buzzwords in favour of real and frequent communication, always on message, on strategy and on brand.

No matter the data we have, or the processes we’ve developed, employee communications remains an inexact science because of one variable: People. People are wonderfully and gloriously flawed. They change, evolve, ebb, flow. They don’t all react to change the same way. They don’t always do ‘what they are supposed to do’ and thank goodness for that – they create, solve problems, build great things and turn supporters into promoters.

Great leaders lean into the variable, knowing their people are more than how they do what they do; they are why they do what they do.

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