Do your internal communications meet your employees’ needs?
Successful internal communications need to meet employee needs.
As the pandemic wears on, most of our clients are dealing with Zoom fatigue, aches brought on by working from the couch, and the challenge of maintaining morale remotely.
While we saw a rush of internal communications at beginning of the pandemic, several clients tell me they’re not quite sure what to do next to support company culture and employee morale.
Additionally, 77% of people say the ability to work from home at least some of the time – even after the pandemic – would make them happier. That change adds new challenges for internal communications and company culture.
We are getting used to working from home or wearing a mask to the office. But don’t ignore internal communications or simply go back to the type and frequency of communications you issued pre-pandemic.
“During this time when so many companies are operating virtually, consistent and engaging internal communications are more important than ever to keep employees feeling connected to one another and their organization as a whole.
“There’s no such thing as too much communication to internal teams right now. There is only a risk of not communicating enough,” says Tom Lynch, Director of Marketing Communications at Allscripts.
Update your Message Map
If you have a Message Map for internal communications, now is a good time to update it. In addition to the news employees need about whether they need to go into an office, health benefits, and company news, ask yourself:
- Do we need to promote a mental health hotline?
- Do we need to provide tips for working from home ergonomically?
- Should we promote healthy break activities, such as an afternoon stretch program?
- What virtual activities could we do to maintain culture and morale?
- Are you continuing to show empathy for pandemic fatigue, homeschooling, employees who live in small spaces, etc.?
Once you create or update your Message Map, check each internal communication against it to ensure you stay true to your message and key topics. It will help you deliver consistent, credible communications that keep your employees informed and engaged.
Keep leadership visible
“It’s critical that executive leadership stays visible through a regular cadence of virtual ‘Town Hall’ meetings and email communications. Embrace video as well – employees want to see their leaders and peers. Transparency, timeliness and clarity are key to maintaining trust—especially now,” says Lynch.
While leaders should embrace video to ensure visibility, don’t always make it mandatory for employees to be on video. Zoom fatigue is real, and employees may need to multitask with homeschooling or simply need a break from being on camera.
Tell the truth
We are living in uncertain times with conflicting information about how to stay safe during the pandemic. Employees want honesty, empathy, and reassurance.
For example, don’t know when you’re going to ask your employees to return to the office? It’s okay to say you don’t know. Publicizing some date you think might be safe could end up causing employees needless anxiety. Or it might cause you to issue multiple communications pushing the date out, if things don’t get better when you thought they would – damaging your credibility.
Find ways to maintain morale and culture in your internal communications
“Take every opportunity to celebrate wins, no matter how large or small. And most importantly, be human. Our shared experience is what ultimately connects all of us and leading with compassion and understanding will ensure teams will overcome challenges together,” says Lynch.
If you’re unsure what your employees want, survey them. Employees may have some great ideas for maintaining connections remotely, such as fun contests or awards programs, costume days, or even days with no meetings at all.
Lead by example
Above all, lead by example. One of the best guiding principles for internal communications is to treat employees as you were treated by the best boss you ever had.
Figuring out the frequency, type, and content of internal communications during uncertain times can be tough. Using a Message Map and keeping leadership visible can go a long way in keeping employees engaged.
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