Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms

RHR 157: Internal Communication Strategy with Gary Ross

June 21, 2023 Kyle Roed, The HR Guy Season 4 Episode 157
RHR 157: Internal Communication Strategy with Gary Ross
Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
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Rebel Podcast: Life and Work on Your Terms
RHR 157: Internal Communication Strategy with Gary Ross
Jun 21, 2023 Season 4 Episode 157
Kyle Roed, The HR Guy

​Gary M. Ross is president of INSIDE COMMS, a training, coaching and consulting firm focused on internal communication. Over his 30+ year career, Gary has worked as a consultant, corporate executive and Emmy-nominated broadcast journalist. With INSIDE COMMS, Gary works to make corporate life better by advancing the way organizations and their people communicate with one another. 

Gary's recent engagements have included consulting and coaching CEOs, C-level executives and internal communications teams on corporate transformations and integrations, M&A and change. His experience reaches from the upper ranks of the FORTUNE 500 to small non-profits and academia. 

Gary is also a principal at thoughtLEADERS, LLC, a leadership development training, coaching and consulting firm conducting programs at client locations around the world. Based on real-world experience, he specializes in change management, change communications and strategic thinking concepts and processes that clients can implement immediately in their organizations.

Prior to his training, coaching and consulting work, Gary served as vice president of corporate communications for Fortune Brands Home & Security, the parent company of Moen, Master Lock and other familiar consumer brands. He also led corporate communications at CDW, a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government, education and healthcare. Gary also led corporate public relations for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Previously, Gary held a variety of public relations positions, including a post in the Department of University Relations at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. 

Before joining the PR profession, Gary worked as a reporter and substitute anchor for WCBD-TV in Charleston, S.C., where he was nominated for an Emmy Award in investigative journalism, traveled overseas with the U.S. military and reported from the eye of Category Four Hurricane Hugo. He began his career at the former WRKL-AM in the New York City area as an anchor and reporter.

Gary has been a guest speaker on communications and change for such organizations as the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association, PRWeek (UK), Public Relations Society of America, Federal Communicators Network, Northwestern University, DePaul University, The Conference Board, and the Great Place to Work Institute (authors of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list). 


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Show Notes Transcript

​Gary M. Ross is president of INSIDE COMMS, a training, coaching and consulting firm focused on internal communication. Over his 30+ year career, Gary has worked as a consultant, corporate executive and Emmy-nominated broadcast journalist. With INSIDE COMMS, Gary works to make corporate life better by advancing the way organizations and their people communicate with one another. 

Gary's recent engagements have included consulting and coaching CEOs, C-level executives and internal communications teams on corporate transformations and integrations, M&A and change. His experience reaches from the upper ranks of the FORTUNE 500 to small non-profits and academia. 

Gary is also a principal at thoughtLEADERS, LLC, a leadership development training, coaching and consulting firm conducting programs at client locations around the world. Based on real-world experience, he specializes in change management, change communications and strategic thinking concepts and processes that clients can implement immediately in their organizations.

Prior to his training, coaching and consulting work, Gary served as vice president of corporate communications for Fortune Brands Home & Security, the parent company of Moen, Master Lock and other familiar consumer brands. He also led corporate communications at CDW, a leading provider of technology products and services to business, government, education and healthcare. Gary also led corporate public relations for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Previously, Gary held a variety of public relations positions, including a post in the Department of University Relations at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. 

Before joining the PR profession, Gary worked as a reporter and substitute anchor for WCBD-TV in Charleston, S.C., where he was nominated for an Emmy Award in investigative journalism, traveled overseas with the U.S. military and reported from the eye of Category Four Hurricane Hugo. He began his career at the former WRKL-AM in the New York City area as an anchor and reporter.

Gary has been a guest speaker on communications and change for such organizations as the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association, PRWeek (UK), Public Relations Society of America, Federal Communicators Network, Northwestern University, DePaul University, The Conference Board, and the Great Place to Work Institute (authors of FORTUNE magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list). 


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Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work. Please connect to continue the conversation!

https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
http://www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

Gary Ross:

Where are we now? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? And what's it going to look like when we get there? That's a simple business narrative structure that mirrors classic storytelling techniques. The Wizard of Oz, where are we now? We're stuck in Oz. Where are we going? I'd like to get home to get home and I need to go see the Wizard to help me get home. How are we going to get there, follow the yellow brick road. What's it going to look like when we get there, there's no place like home. That's the feeling it'll be. It's a classic classic structure that we can use in business to take some of the driest stuff out there and make it compelling for people to follow along with when you're able to incorporate that all of a sudden, you become more compelling, and a better leader. And you'll see people follow along with what you say once you get excited about.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR Podcast, the podcast where we talk to HR innovators about all things people leadership. If you're looking for places to find about new ways to think about the world of work, this is the podcast for you. Please subscribe on your favorite podcast listening platform today. And leave us a review revelon HR rebels. Welcome back, rebel HR listeners, this is going to be a fun conversation today with us, we have Gary Ross, Gary is a communications trainer, coach and consultant, he has had a number of supporting engagements, including a communication training program with a proprietary e learning for professional services company consulting and coaching CEOs, C. C level executives and internal communication teams on corporate transformations and integrations and so on and so forth. Gary, welcome to the podcast. Hey, Carl, thanks

Gary Ross:

for having me.

Kyle Roed:

Well, I'm extremely excited to have you. And, you know, I we're going to be talking a lot today about inside communications. But before we get into that, I'm just curious, what got you interested in the communication space,

Gary Ross:

my high school newspaper going way way. And I mean, way back, I started writing and I don't exactly remember why. But I started writing feature articles from my high school newspaper and my sophomore junior year of high school. And they liked them. And, and there weren't too many edits to it. And I said, Well, it seems like I might be good at this, I'm gonna keep going. And I started working on more on the high school paper. And I majored in journalism. And after school, I became a journalist and, and did that for about four years. And then got out of that and got into media relations, and PR, which is the life the journalism Job was a was a blast, but the life of a journalist wasn't really going to be for me moving around, and all of that stuff. So that's how I got into into communications and PR, and then move up in my career to run communication departments and really got passionate about internal communications, because that's where you can help the organization and help the individuals in the organization all at the same time, the organization gets a happy and engaged workforce, and the individuals understand what they're doing when they walk in the door every day and turn on their computer every day. And that's what really gets me going about it. Yeah,

Kyle Roed:

I love that, you know, it's, it's, it's really interesting. And, you know, I appreciate the background, you know, you actually learned how to communicate, and, and are educated in that space. And we were talking before I hit record about how, you know, a lot of times in human resources, we're expected to know these things. And we're expected to be these internal communication experts. But more often than not, we're just kind of thrown into it, and kind of have to stumble through it. So so that is one of the problems that you're trying to solve. What led you to kind of discover that as a as a potential gap in organizations and and how do you approach solving that problem? Well,

Gary Ross:

because communication a lot of people default toward thinking about communication as a tack simply a tactical exercise. Oh, hey, I need an email. And they think of the communication people as the email people, oh, I have to go to Gary down the hall. I need an email by the end of the day, he can crank one out for me, well, perhaps, but it's really a lot more than that. It's the communication doesn't really, you don't really get all the benefit from communication unless you really take a step back and think, Okay, what's the job I need this communication to do? Am I communicating to the right people at the right time? Am I communicating in the right place? Or am I communicating where people are? Are they are they going to have to go out and get that and and how often is that reliable? So it's, it's a lot more than hey, I need an email or hey, I need a video. And if for whatever reason and communications folks, this is something that you that that, honestly bugs us to know that it's one of those things that seems to be those things in an organization where everybody seems to think they know how to do it right? Or, or have done it and has an opinion on it. And I'm thinking, Well, I don't go walk down to the IT department and go into the server room and start configuring servers because I know how to do it. Or I don't go down to finance and start reconfiguring their spreadsheets because I think I know everything about finance. So why do people automatically assume that communication is this quick and easy thing that they can just fire off and do it in the business world, that's that's not the case. It needs to be thought of strategically. And I think HR folks, when they when they have the feeling that that you do that, when you're thrown into this, they get the feeling like, Oh, I thought this was going to be easy. And this really is harder and requires more thought than I ever thought and that the people asking me to do stuff are thinking and oh, I need help. And that's, that's where communications folks come in. And then specifically for folks who like internal communications like me, that's where I can come in and help communicators and and HR folks who are stuck in that position. who get that? You know, that that? That little that little moment there that says, Oh, why I need help?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I've been there. Yeah, yeah. It's, it's, it's that and I'm sure many of us listening to this have had that feeling. It's that like that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you've got that like email. And it's to like, everybody in the organization, right? And you're like, did I? Did I? Did I catch every spelling error? Did I get this ad? But a lot of times, it's, you hit send, and you're like, geez, I really hope that this actually communicated what I wanted it to communicate, I will read it, you know, I hope it actually does what it was supposed to do. But a lot of times we get so caught up in, oh, I just have to get this email out by the end of the day. It's really easy to miss the mark. So so what what advice do you have is work? Like, because it happens, right? Stuff comes comes hits our desk, and it's like, I need you to figure out this communication for me what? What's the right approach, as you have those sorts of things come up in your day?

Gary Ross:

Well, there are a few things you can you can think about, I'll give you I'll give you one of them. And it's basically three things that you want to think about in any piece of communication you do. And it could be that email that you're asked to write, by the end of the day, it can be a one on one conversation you're having with somebody, whether it's an employee, or your manager, or somebody else in another part of the organization, you want to think about these three things. What do you want people to think? What do you want people to feel? And what do you want people to do? Think that through before you communicate, and that will help you organize your thoughts. And it will help make your communication that much more effective. So for example, what do I want people to think? Let's say, I don't know, let's come up with something. Let's say we're talking about an office move, there's going to be a move to a new office. And I need to communicate about it. This is very, obviously very general, I'm just kind of making this up. But if, if you need to do that, I'm going to think I'm going to say to myself, right, what do I want people to think feel? And do? I want people to think that, okay, we're moving to this new office, and there's deadlines, and there's certain things I need to do. But the company has thought this through and this is the right thing to do. What do I want people to feel? I want people to feel excited about going to this new office, I want people to feel confident that that this is the the right thing to do. And and I want people to, to understand that even though this is going to be a degree of effort that it's worth doing. And ultimately, what do I want people to do? I want people to do things they need to do on time to move by the deadlines, pack up their stuff and get everything ready to be moved. And I also want them to talk to their co workers and advocate for the fact that yeah, this is something that's that's good for the company and good for us and something that we were gonna go forward and do. So think feel and do if you cover off on on those things and you find ways to have your communication reflect that. Chances are, it will be an effective piece of communication and you'll be you'll be well on your way. A lot of times and it sounds weird, but a lot of times we forget that last piece. But what we want people to do I mean how many times have we seen And how many times have we seen an email? Let's say it's toward the end of the year. And we've got only a little bit more to go to hit our financial goals. And we get an email from an executive that says, hey, we're 5% Short of our of our goals. And but I know you guys can do it, you're the best team in the industry, and we need to finish the year strong signs, so and so. Okay, well, we got the think part done, we got the facts through that, okay, we're, we're, we're a little bit short of our revenue, and we need to make things up by the end of the year. We got to feel part down, we want people to get excited and revved up and bought in and they're ready to go. But we forgot to actually tell people what to do. The right, so we're and we've all seen these notes, right. So we're sitting on the the reader is sitting there going, I'm in I'm ready to go. And but But what exactly do I do differently that I've been doing all along? We're not We're not. We're not prescriptive enough a lot in our in our communication. And sometimes it feels it's, it feels a little counterintuitive, sometimes to to have to be that prescriptive in the workplace. But sometimes we do to go and tell people exactly what what it is that we want them to do. If we want communication to drive a particular kind of behavior, then we got to lay that out. Say what that behavior is what we want the action that we want people to take.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I love that. You know, it is formulaic. But it is almost like, it tells the story of the communication a little bit, right, there's a beginning and a middle and an end to whatever, you know, the platform that the communication is on. Right. So that's that's kind of what that sounds like, to me like the storytelling tactic of? Well, yeah, you

Gary Ross:

said that. You said the magic word story. So there's there's another there's another framework you can use, when you're getting into something a little bit more complex that you're really looking to get some buy in for especially over a period of time. And that's a storytelling formula that's as old as time and is used in a lot of the the books in the movies that we've that we've grown to love over the years. And that's because storytelling that where it triggers actually a chemical reaction in our mind, it creates an emotional connection. And it gets us more apt to buy into something. And that story framework is basically answer. Ask yourself and answer these four questions. Where are we now? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? And what's it going to look like when we get there? So again, let's go to our office move scenario. Where are we now we're in an office, we're outgrowing an office, we need to be further downtown to be closer to our customers. And that's where we're that's where are we now? Where are we going, we're going to move to a new office in this downtown complex, we're going to be closer to commuter rail lines, we're going to be closer to our customers and we'll be able to, to make more sales by being closer to our customers. How are we going to get there, we're gonna give you all the support that you need to to have a smooth and effective move, we're gonna tell you about all the new cool things about this new office and the neighborhood around there and help you with your new commute. And then what will it look like when we get there, that's kind of our picture of success. So it'll look like when we get there, we'll be closer to our customers, we'll be doing a lot more business, we'll be in a downtown vibrant area, we'll be able to attract some additional folks to come work for us. And our office will be at a much stronger financial footing. So by thinking of things, if you're if it's more of a longer term thing you're looking for people to buy in on. Where are we now? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? And what's it going to look like when we get there? That's a simple business narrative structure that mirrors again, a classic storytelling technique if you everything from Shakespeare to Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz is my favorite example of that. So the Wizard of Oz, where are we now we're stuck in Oz. Where are we going and like to get home? How are we going to get there? I need to or where are we? I'd like to get home and I need to go see the Wizard to help me get home. How are we going to get there? Follow the yellow brick road. What's it going to look like when we get there? There's no place like home at all. That's the feeling it'll be. It's a classic classic structure that we can use in business to take some of the driest stuff out there and make it compelling for people to to to follow along with and when you're when you're able to incorporate that all of a sudden you become more compelling and a better leader and you'll see people follow along with, with what you say, once you get excited about.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I love this approach, because it really does kind of break this down I think some people really struggle with with, with this in general, and I think it can be, you know, it can be career limiting, in some cases, right, if you don't figure out some of these techniques, and if you're, if you're not a great communicator, you know, it can really be detrimental. The good news, though, is, you know, you can learn these things, right, you can learn to be a good communicator, it's it's not, it's not impossible. So for, for somebody who's maybe really having a hard time with, with these sorts of tactics, what are some, what are some things that they can do some, some tips, you know, in addition to some of these formulas, to just get better at communication and be, you know, kind of be on the track to being an effective internal communicator?

Gary Ross:

Well think about these things for the initially, because that that structure will, will help you get off the ground. A lot of times, when we see folks moving into roles where they need to communicate more, it's not necessarily for lack of ability, sometimes his lack of confidence. So remember that, to your point, this is something you can do, and this is, this is something that that you can learn, if you're in an organization that has a good communications department, work with those folks. If it's, you know, this is also something that that I do that I help I help people, especially people moving into management ranks for the first time, people in, in HR, and frankly, in other parts of the parts of organizations as well learn how to communicate, one of my, one of my number one rules of communication, and I have a lot of number one rules of communication, but one of my number one rules is know your audience. So before your again, we go back to that tactical piece, we it's a reflex to think about communications, tactically, I have to go do this. Well, communication, the communication equation, so to speak, doesn't happen without that audience on the other side. So really take time to think about who it is that I'm speaking to, and speaking with really should be a two way conversation. So who is it? What motivates them? What are some of the distinguishing factors of your audience and your and your stakeholders, that that make them different, that would make certain things relevant to them, a lot of times, it's about communicating the right thing, to the right people at the right time. So I'll give you an example. I had a case of, of I was working with a client a while back. And they were starting a new, a brand new purchasing system. And this was the head of purchasing and, you know, the purchasing guys, you know, they're all there, they love their systems, and they were going to have this new system, and it was going to be fantastic. And everybody needed to find out about it. And but it wasn't gonna go live for another six months. And he said, Well, no, we got to communicate about this now. And and when we were like, No, we don't. And it's a no, I'm so excited. We got a weird guy. But we got to talk about this now. And so we did, and we kind of blew it out way too early. So when the time came for people to actually pay attention to it, they had already figured they had heard about it, they had tuned it out, they had moved on to the next thing. And it actually made it harder for the new system to launch because we communicated about it too early. So think about, again, communicating the right thing, to the right people at the right time. And then finding somebody to bounce things off of whether it's another colleague and in HR, whether it's a communications person, another friend in another department, sometimes we just have to get out of our own echo chambers. And this is something I do, you know, to this to this day when I'm looking to, to, to send something out, especially to a large audience, I get a reality check from somebody just to make sure I'm thinking about this the right way. There's no shame in that. And that's something that we can do on a on an ongoing basis as we're first learning and adjusting to do this. But also even even when we become veteran communicators.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. I do that all the time. Unfortunately, there's a couple of people that's like a safe space. I'm like, Does this make sense? Like, and inevitably, they're always like, I don't know what you're saying here. You know, they change a couple of words here and there so that it's a little bit more elegantly, you know, laid out, and so on and so forth. But it's always better. It's always improved. I mean, you know, yeah, yeah.

Gary Ross:

Another thing you could do and i i Go Way, way back. And you know, credit in my early high school newspaper time and dirt. I was a journalism major in school. So it helped. But it also goes I also it also goes back all the way to seventh and eighth grade and my English teacher, Miss Nussbaum, who was really tough, but was a great writing instructor. And I think about Miss Nussbaum was often because she was, she was a great, she was a great instructor. But when you think about writing and organizing your your thoughts, sometimes it does help to think like a journalist, and how do you think like a journalist, look how newspaper articles are written, or when you're listening to the radio or TV news, listen to how those those stories are written and crafted, we basically put the the lead on top. And then we've got supporting information of decreasing importance, as the article moves on, it's called the inverted pyramid structure. And the way the way that was originally done was, so when you're a reporter, and you and you write something, you have the most information up on top, and you write and write and write as much as you can. The least important stuff is at the bottom. So if the editor had a cut it, they would just cut it from the bottom, and you'd still get the core of the story in there, that discipline is still good, because again, it helps you cut through the the clutter, and it gets, you get to the point a lot faster than if it takes five or six paragraphs to get to the news of what you're what it is you're communicating about. We see that a lot in the business world as well. I have some training I do I have an example of an email that, that a CEO had sent out to an organization announcing layoffs. And you didn't get to the news about the layoffs until the seventh paragraph, no. And right, and it's like, what is this? And so it helps to think along those lines as well as get the news up top, support it with with facts underneath. And then and then get out when you when you feel like you've you've gotten the most important stuff across. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that's really interesting. Hadn't hadn't thought about like that. But now, you know, that I'm reflecting on. Yeah, you know, in the email that you write, and you think, Oh, I've got everything in this email. This, these are eight perfect paragraphs of all the information that anybody ever needs. And then you realize that nobody, literally everybody read the first three sentences and they're like, whatever, HR fluff, and then and then, and they miss all the important stuff that this really is probably mission critical.

Gary Ross:

Right? So all the more reason right to get stuff up front, because of the way people receive communication these days. They're bombarded they're scrolling. Yeah, they if they're only going to read those first four sentences, make sure you get that important stuff up in the in the, in the first four sentences.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, I don't know if this works or not, but like I've it times, I've resorted to just like putting like three asterisks, and then being like, important, please read. And then another three asterisks after it was like a flag. You know, it's like this, like, because people will get into that habit of like, they'll flag it as important before they send it to you. Which by the way, drives me crazy, because it's like, I will determine if it's important in my inbox versus somebody else, right. But, but it's like, so how do you like, it's like, how do I put like these big buzzers that, hey, you actually need to read this email. Right? So so how do we? How do we think about crafting those messages so that I don't have to send that per my last email message that we also so much right, sending

Gary Ross:

a couple of things, if it has to be if it has to be an email, you can sometimes important, please read that. That does help. But keeping in mind also, again, how people consume communication, avoid large blocks of copy bullet things out, if at all possible, only write one sentence or paragraphs of one or two sentences. So when somebody opens an email, it doesn't look like this daunting piece, or, you know, small novel that they have to write, but it's just a list of stuff that they can that they can go through. So that helps, but then think about, Okay, does this email have to be an email? Depending on what it is you're doing? Should it be a video? Right? Should it be talking points that you can send out to managers for them to cover in their next staff meeting? I'll give you an example of a video that a really fun video that I did for a client last year, they're rolling out workday in their organization. And yeah, I know I've been there. We've all a lot of us. A lot of us have been there and and it's it's a daunting thing and but it can also be kind had to dry. And they were there in about their, their second month, I think it was of Work Day coming up on Memorial Day. And there's a company that's got second and third shift workers, they're working seven days a week. And so the first legal holiday holiday pay working over the weekend, all of that there gonna be some new things that people entering time needed to do for the first time, since workday had rolled out this was the first holiday that they had, it was Memorial Day. And so we had this whole list of things that if you work this shift, you have to make sure you clock in and clock out and clock back in and all this dry stuff. And we said, well, how are we going to get this across, because this is important, because people need if people didn't do this, right, they weren't gonna get paid on time. So it's important stuff, but it's so dry. So we thought, well, Memorial Day. What also happens on Memorial Day, there's movie blockbusters come out on Memorial Day. So instead of a long drawn out, newsletter, article or email, we made a video in the style of a memorial day blockbuster movie tree. And it started with we really did this and it started with and this is a health care company, this is not some, you know, off the wall, kind of this a pretty staid organization. So we started the video and had that green screen this for this video has been approved for all members of the organization. And then we had the thumping movie trailer music. And we had the words on the screen. In a world where employees track their time only one company can rise to the occasion. We talked about what, what people needed to do and, and it it broke through people where people not only watched it, but they talked about it. And they said, Hey, you gotta watch this thing. This is funny. And so it wasn't, we weren't doing anything, not suitable for anything that was disrespectful or controversial or out there were just another way to break through the clutter and get across some incredibly dry information. So and all goes to say, if you've got this email that that you feel is daunting, is just gonna get lost. Think about does it need to be an email? Can it be something else? And I love

Kyle Roed:

that? Yeah. In a world in a world, everybody Yeah. Everybody listen to this right now. They're working on their, their trailer voice? Right, that would be good. Yeah. You know, it is interesting. And I think about, you know, the context of the world of communication is so different than it used to be, right. I mean, people used to actually read a newspaper from front to back, right, or at least an entire section of the newspaper. Now, it's like, we're consuming content, in video form, closed captioning, 32nd snippets, you know, attention span seems to be just not what they used to be.

Gary Ross:

And 140 characters or less, or whatever,

Kyle Roed:

exactly, yeah. But it's like, how I actually feel like, one of the most important things you can do in communication is be is be concise. So how do we balance that, you know, kind of that the new school communication expectations versus we do a lot of times we do have a lot of content to get out there? You know, how do we kind of play off that, that duality of communication in today's world,

Gary Ross:

by remembering that not every communication needs to be a T's and C's document, not everything has to be a contract? Not everything has to be you can go out with an overview of something and then link to something somewhere else with with full details that will satisfy the legal department. Those are very important considerations. I'm not minimizing that stuff. But it does not have to be in your initial communication to tell people about when when you're when you're when you're announcing something. So that is always that's something that that I have to remind people about quite a bit, is that not everything has to be a full Terms and Conditions official rules document. We can do the headlines here and point people to that stuff elsewhere. Right, I mean, yeah, you know, and then legal comes down and says, Oh, well, that needs to be in there because people are gonna think this, that or the other thing, okay, well, we'll link to it. But if we put something if we put all that in our initial communication, nobody's going to read it. And people will trip over it anyway. And so it all goes down to and I don't like it when when communication people come across as like these stuck up, you know, you're you're doing it all wrong, kind of kind of things. That's not what this is about. It's about communication, helping to make, whatever work you're doing and whatever We need to communicate about improve the chances of success. So communications in a support role for all of this. So if if there's somebody out there that wants to put all these unnecessary details in a piece of communication, I'm not coming at it and saying, Well, you know that artistically, that's not a very, very nice way to do it. I'm saying, your people aren't going to read this, and people are still going to trip up on it, whether or not we put stuff in there or not. And the goal that you want as a business person in the legal department is not going to be achieved because of the way this is being communicated. Let's find another way, where we can still reach people and achieve what you're you're looking to do to make sure all that that legal information is out there. So it's coming at it from that perspective, from helping looking to looking for ways to help maximize people's success, rather than being the communication cop. And Oh, you forgot a comma over here, you know, who cares?

Kyle Roed:

Oh, we don't have time for the Oxford comma discussion. I mean, that's I didn't realize, well, although Miss

Gary Ross:

Nussbaum, my junior high English teacher did care about all that stuff. And she would not like me to hear me talk about that. But, you know, grammar is important, because basic things like Subject, Verb Agreement, and all of that. But if you miss something here, and there, the rules aren't, you know, they're a little more flexible now. And people will, people will, will cut you a little slack. But it this is not about being a grammar cop, it is not about being an editor, it's about helping people succeed. And HR people can can do that, as as communicators. And again, that's something I help people with all the time.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, and I think, you know, maybe the to put a, you know, a good cap on the end of this discussion that here's the thing as human resources, we know the team better than almost anybody. And we also should inherently understand people at some level. So you know, one of the areas where I truly believe we can add value is being that that honest point of feedback, the person who understands, okay, this person might need some help, or some coaching and communication that can help them down the road of their career that can help us achieve our goals. Right. So it's, so it's not just about like, how do we as HR communicate, it's also how do we help our teams understand what effective communication looks like as well? Right?

Gary Ross:

Absolutely. 100%?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah. All right. This has just been a wonderful conversation. But I'm fascinated to hear your response to the rebel HR flash round. So are you ready? Let's go. All right, where does HR need to rebel?

Gary Ross:

HR needs to rebel by by being even more of an advocate for the people in the organization for employees to not be so hung up sometimes on on policy and look for how they can be the champion of employees and communication folks are in that role, to some degree as well. But I've found that that the, the HR people I enjoy working with the most they pull out from the the policy lingo and all that stuff, and look to see how they can be business partners and empower the company and the individuals in the organization at the same time.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. You came to the right podcast, Gary, that's right. You're not gonna get any argument from this guy? Well,

Gary Ross:

I'm glad to find that out.

Kyle Roed:

Question number two, who should we be listening to?

Gary Ross:

Kind of just set it employees? And because they're, they're the ones I think that are going to are they're the reality check for a lot of what HR is, is doing both? If you look at it, gosh, on the l&d side, on the recruiting side, even on the Employee Relations side, certainly on the benefit side, all the different facets of HR, I mean, that's that's who that's who were there to work with and and to enable. And if we are, if we're interested in doing the course corrections needed to be most effective than a Gosh, just the employees, the people who, who were advocating for or shouldn't be advocating for. Those are the folks that that we should be listening to. Absolutely.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, and one thing we we didn't even get into this, but you know, one of the most important things about effective feedback is that 360, right, like, oh, is your message land and checking that and how do you know if you don't listen? Right? You don't?

Gary Ross:

Exactly and then use feedback to iterate in the future. So you're, so you're communicating better in the future?

Kyle Roed:

Right, right. Absolutely. All right. Last question. How can our listeners connect with you

Gary Ross:

Oh, you can reach out to me at Gary dot Ross at inside comms.com So that's Gary G ar y dot Ross R OSS at inside ins i d e comm co mms.com internal communication elearning courses on my training website, which is plus PL US DOT inside comms.com have 11 elearning courses on there on workplace communication. I also there's also information on there on live courses that I that I do both in person, and virtually and then can also do custom elearning have our own studio here and put together really what whatever you whatever you would like. And then coaching as well. Whether it's with leaders or folks in in, in HR, so email me Gary dot Ross at inside comms.com checkout plus dot inside comms.com and discounts for teams and all that stuff for for elearning as well. So definitely reach out.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, we'll have all that information in the show notes. So open up your podcast player, check it out. There's some really great content out there. And I think it's something that I wish I would have had about 15 years ago. So thanks for putting it out there gear I appreciate I probably use some of the content still.

Gary Ross:

Well, that's part of what it's for even communicators when we get into internal communication, sometimes it's it's all like we're thrown into learning on the job. And what I've tried to do is how to make that learning curve go a little faster. I appreciate

Kyle Roed:

that. Yeah. And it's it's good. You know, I think, from my perspective, also a really good content here that some of my team could probably benefit from as well. So I'll be checking that out as well. All right. Well, Terry, absolutely. Appreciate the time here. It's been a wonderful conversation. Appreciate the work you're doing and thanks for spend some time with us.

Gary Ross:

Yeah, it's been a blast. Thanks, Kyle.

Kyle Roed:

All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe