Internal communication strategies are rooted in promoting effective communications among people within a company. Facilitating a dialogue with the people who make up your organization is equally as important as delivering messages to your clients or customers. With coronavirus-related work from home mandates, it is now more necessary than ever to instill direct, transparent, and frequent communication with employees. Regardless of whether you have an existing employee-centric communication program or not, these tips will help ensure that you effectively serve as an informative conduit that better allows your teams to stay productive, focused, and successful during these unprecedented times.
First and foremost, transparent communication is critical at all times, but especially so during difficult times, when there are fewer possible touchpoints. What does being transparent mean? It means being forthcoming and unambiguous, while also communicating both the good and bad news. There is no question that many industries are being tested and challenged. While no one wants to hear bad news, it is important to communicate it, nonetheless. You must allow your company to develop an accurate understanding of the situation. This degree of genuine communication, although perhaps uncomfortable, builds trust and appreciation among your employees, boosts engagement, and provides the motivation they need to row the boat with you towards a shared goal.
Communication cannot be spotty and inconsistent, especially as staffers work remotely. Daily connection to their teams, leadership, and even HR lend to the cultivation of community that keeps your company culture thriving. A morning email newsletter, daily team huddles, weekly HR office hours reserved to resolve questions, leadership-hosted virtual town halls are all great examples that can connect the socially distant. Remember, even the apparent introverts on your team want information and to hear from others!
Many individuals may need to establish new habits in this new environment. For example, the tools and technologies needed to be successful as a work from home employee may be new to many. There will likely be questions and concerns about using tools they have never had the need to access before. Questions like, what conference call app should I use? Why doesn’t my camera/mic work on video conference? How do I log-in using the VPN? How do I get my teenager to make his own lunch? You may not have answers to that last question, but you should be prepared to support your community with their work from home needs through understanding and empathy. There are understandable distractions that can make it challenging to be equally as effective as working from the office. Communicate where employees can access training resources online, connect team members with an IT representative, or even assign an office mentor to serve as a friendly resource.
Be Culture Focused
Each organization has its own unique culture and you don’t want to forget the little things that make your company special. Use this opportunity to show your employees how much you appreciate their commitment to your organization and the protection of others through sheltering in place. Find creative ways to celebrate company wins, birthdays, and promotions because, let’s face it, we could all use some good news right about now! Maintain your morning scrums to share interdepartmental news and accomplishments, keep your lunch and learns going, host your company happy hours, and recognize random acts of kindness. Your employees are your most valuable asset. Preserving your culture allows your employees to stay connected to your unique community in a time that might otherwise be distracting.
There is no lack of stress as we all navigate working from home, homeschooling our resistant (and frustrated) kids, managing your new side gig as a short-order cook, and dealing with the influx of news regarding the virus. While some may be looking to you to reinforce or clarify new quarantine rules and mandates as they apply to your business, they are also looking to you for a bit of normalcy, support, understanding, and even some levity. Consider flexible schedules or implement a recommended daily walk. It’s also ok to have a bit of fun during this time. With respect for your culture and the sensitivities of your team in mind, share some joy! Send pictures of your new furry coworkers, share that sidewalk chalk drawings your neighbors left you, or start an all gif/meme conversation among your department.
It’s safe to say that as this quarantine lingers on, even the proclaimed homebodies and hermits within your business community are going to get antsy. This is an opportunity for your company to show true leadership. A transparent, consistent, and supportive internal communication effort can help provide your team with the encouragement they need to stay on task and drive company initiatives forward.
Have other thoughts on how to stay connected with your team? Tweet your strategies at us! Otherwise, read some considerations for media outreach during uncertain times.