Give a Sign !!

This weekend my family and I found a hidden gem !! We visited the American Sign Museum. Who would have thought that signs have a history? It was fascinating to walk through very familiar signs of various sizes, colors and neon lights. We learned the stories of how signs were designed, who were their artists and the science behind communicating a message.

As I meandered through each display, I realized something. Signs are powerful !!

When I looked at the signs from gas stations like Phillips 66, Sohio and Shell, I could picture where those locations were and getting gas from them. The food signs from Burger King, McDonalds and Howard Johnson’s reminded me of great times eating a quick meal with my family growing up. There were signs for museums, buildings, drug stores, ice cream parlors, etc. Each one identified something specific and gave a clear message with a purpose.

Do we do that at work? I contend that we don’t, but we could !! HR has the opportunity to be a shepherd at work with all levels of the company. We can bring people together and have them move towards common goals and have them truly perform. Here are some things that having a good sign can do in an organization.

Be the brand !!

Great signs draw people closer and you can use them to rally them to accomplish incredible things. They can not only promote the brand, they can BE the brand. The constant notion that employees will just represent your brand “just because” isn’t realistic. Develop symbols and signs that show the energy and life that your brand represents. Help your employees understand the brand and give them signs they can share with others. Employer brands are made by your employees. Equip them to share your message both inside and outside your company. They are the best brand ambassadors you have.

Give people direction !!

Too many people float at work because they don’t have clarity in what they’re supposed to do. Give them a sign, or a series of signs, for them to follow. Don’t just expect people to get it through osmosis or watching others do work around them. Be intentional as HR and develop benchmarks and milestones that mark the way for employees to perform and excel.

Light the way !!

The best signs are lit up. They break through the darkness and illuminate everything around them. You are drawn to signs that are lighted. Workplaces lack light. They really do. We’re more concerned that people show up and crank out work than we are that they come share their passion and energy through their work. This level of light in an organization rests solely on HR’s shoulders. I’m not kidding. If we don’t bring passion to what we do, how can we expect others to be passionate?

This week start planting signs to be the brand, give others direction and bring work to life !!

(The pic above is of my amazing daughter and I at the museum. We couldn’t resist the chance to leave a sign !!)

6 thoughts on “Give a Sign !!”

  1. A smile is a universal sign that sends the message that “I see you and am glad you’re here.” When it comes from a person’s immediate manager, it has a profound, positive impact.

  2. Great article!! ~ Body Language alone can speak volumes! ~ So I’ve been “encouraging” others to “Keep Your Body Open” . . . to receiving!

  3. Great insights Steve. I’m struck by how many never consider the power we have as individual employees when we brand ourselves. What would any of these companies have been without those legendary signs?

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