While tough talk can work to motivate everyone into the rah-rah spirit when it’s done in person, tough news – like no bonuses this year, can backfire on Zoom.
What you think of as inspiration, can sound harsh, even mean, when done on the air waves. And disgruntled employees can record a zoom call and push it out for all the world to see.
According to Media Richness Theory, “rich media” like in-person communication is more powerful way of communicating and connecting with people. There’s no barrier or distance between you and your audience.
You have a complete arsenal of tools to communicate your message and get in tune with your audience. In “leaner” like email, text and even Zoom, you’re more likely to find yourself misunderstood and branded but not in a way that you want to be branded as MillerKnoll CEO Andi Owen learned last week.
An unhappy employee made a video that went viral on social media and traditional media. (I read about it in the Wall Street Journal in a long feature story, and again when it was one of the questions in its weekly news quiz.)
Owen broke the news about bonuses not being paid this year and said that some employees were asking “not so nice” questions about it. Her advice to her team: “You can visit Pity City, but you can’t live there. So, people, leave Pity City.” The resulting firestorm over her words led her to apologize to her staff in an email.