Dear CEO: About that end-of-year letter to your employees …

Dear CEO: It’s that time of year again – time for you to write a year-end, holiday letter to your employees. It’s great that you’re sending it, but I’m obligated to share some trepidation. It’s not that you shouldn’t write or send it; you absolutely should. A recent study emphatically finds employees who perceive their senior leaders as highly trustworthy have a greater level of engagement, dedication and loyalty to their companies. Trusting you makes them like you – and regular, meaningful communications from you to your employees is one of many ways to increase your trustworthiness. So, stepping out boldly on behalf of internal communicators everywhere, I offer the following advice … 1. Make it short(er). Yes, I realize I haven’t read your letter yet. But my guess is, even without seeing it, it’s too long. You can’t hold the attention of anyone for three pages, single-spaced. Or even two. Delete, delete, delete until you have only the critical items that can be scanned in minutes. 2. Be authentic. This letter has your name on it, and it should come from you. Employees will know if someone else wrote it, and you’ll miss a chance to build a relationship with them. If possible, take a crack at the first draft. Then lean on your communicators for edits and advice. But make it yours. Talk about the business, but share your humanity. 3. Be transparent. If you’re having a tough year, say so. Employees already sense this, so be straight with them. Let them know where you stand. Employees depend on you for their jobs, and they want to...