In the wake of Covid-19, organizations are under increasing pressure to envoke better employee communications. Every organization is pivoting quickly to meet the effects of the pandemic’s financial and human consequences.
If there ever was a time to invest in employee communications, now is that time.
Yet far too often, these changes are not fully communicated throughout the organization. Why? It typically boils down to three key reasons: Speed, Resources, and Leadership.
Many companies are moving so fast that communicating change takes a backseat to other priorities. Other organizations do not have the resources – personnel, infrastructure, tools, etc. – in place to deliver information effectively. And finally, if leadership does not view employee communication as essential, it never will be.
But if there ever was a time to invest in employee communications, now is that time. If the goal is to keep employees motivated, engaged, and informed, think about all the barriers in place today. A sample list includes:
- Dispersed/remote workforces
- Ongoing layoffs and furloughs
- Changes to employee policies
- Shifts in strategy
- New tactics
- Changes to local, state and federal back-to-work policies
- The endless stream of negative news
- The real fear every employee is facing
Accounting for all these factors requires a careful examination of what’s currently working and what’s not.
Below are nine tips to consider for an effective employee communications strategy in today’s post-pandemic society:
1. Get Executive/Leadership Buy-In
If leadership buy-in is lacking, it is the responsibility of HR and communication pros to show the value proposition. Develop a plan, strategy, KPIs, budget, and timeline. Find ways to share and gain the buy-in required.
2. Get the Data You Need By Checking in with All Employees
No matter how large or dispersed your organization is, it’s critical to check in with your employees. What are their fears? What are their questions? What do they care about? How would they like to receive information? Gather as much information as possible using online surveys, conversations, focus groups, and other methods. Collate this information and use it to develop your strategic approach.
Gather as much information as possible using online surveys, conversations, focus groups, and other methods.
3. Explain the Why
Your organization will continue making changes. But it’s not enough to talk about the changes themselves. People need to understand the “why” behind the changes, and how those will affect them.
4. Utilize Numerous Platforms and Channels
These days, one communication mode is not enough. We consume information from our laptops, mobile phones, radio, and TV. We listen to podcasts, browse websites, and watch YouTube. To reach your employees, you must communicate with them the way they want to consume the information.
5. Select the Right Model for the Right News
It’s important to match the kind of news you’re communicating with the appropriate communication vehicle. For example, a major company announcement, one that requires nuance, sophistication, and depth, might be better communicated via a Zoom Meeting vs. a memo.
6. Allow for Conversation and Feedback
It’s often forgotten, but effective communication is actually a dialog. If you’re only sending messages, but not getting any in return, the communication process is ineffective. Be sure you’re building in ways to gather feedback and allow for conversation.
It’s often forgotten, but effective communication is actually a dialog.
7. Ensure Words Match Actions
Nothing breaks trust faster than when words are not aligned with actions. Communication professionals must take great care – and hold decision-makers accountable – to ensure what is communicated is indeed turned into action.
8. Be Consistent
During a crisis, over-communicating is essential. (See a previous blog about communicating during a crisis.) But even during “normal times,” which these are not, a consistent communication cadence is required. Whether your communication is daily, weekly or monthly, sticking to a consistent schedule sets expectations for recipients.
9. Stay True to Your Culture
Even though organizations are going through massive change, it’s important to stick to your culture. Years of building and investing in this culture should not be abandoned. Your culture is likely the main reason why people joined your team. Lean on your culture and leverage it to your advantage.
We Can Help: Free Consultations Available
Local officials say shutting down was easier than reopening. The same can be said for businesses.
As your employees come back to work and business picks up, there remains uncertainty and change. It’s essential that organizations communicate with clarity as we emerge from the lock-down. What’s changed? What’s not? What’s now, and what’s the future?
Organizations looking to upgrade their employee communications strategies often benefit from an outsider’s input. With a third-party perspective, they get objective advice on what is working and what is not.
Spaulding Communications and its network of experienced communication professionals can help. We’ve been on the front lines of change management communication. We’ve worked with organizations large and small to implement internal communication strategies aligned to organizational goals.
We’re offering free consultations for any organization looking to enhance its employee and stakeholder communication. We’ll spend the requisite time understanding your current approach. We’ll listen to what you believe is working, what’s not and what’s needed. We’ll then provide thoughts for moving forward.
To set up a consultation, you may call 404-324-6031 or send an email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message below.