Group Gordon’s Lexy Siegel discusses why and how organizations should rev up their internal communications during the coronavirus pandemic.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, businesses were scrambling to adapt. Priorities for most employers and employees included quickly learning how to navigate the new remote landscape, setting up home offices and Zoom accounts, and determining how best to stay connected virtually while physically apart. As many of us have settled into this new “normal,” we’re facing new challenges that may not have existed or weren’t even considered earlier in the year.
As we continue to navigate the pandemic, companies must rev up their internal communications to keep employees engaged, motivated, productive, and safe. Here’s how they can and why they should.
Internal communications matters
It isn’t news that people are not mind readers. As such, employers should proactively communicate their thinking and plans with their teams. Transparency about how the company is doing and expected changes to operations or policies, especially as the pandemic continues to unfold, will go a long way.
Individual teams should also reassess how to communicate effectively during this time. Many employees are balancing various roles while working from home and their team members should be aware of what that means for the team’s dynamic and workflow. Does a check-in first thing in the morning make most sense? Is Slack the preferred mode of communication or do video chats work best for your team? What works for one team won’t necessarily work for another. Commit to figuring this out together to keep your team on track.
Connect regularly and in new ways
Most of us are used to working in the same physical space as our colleagues, catching up in the kitchen, having impromptu brainstorming sessions in the common area, or stopping by a colleagues’ office to ask a quick question. While we don’t have that luxury anymore, there are still ways to stay connected and engaged. Encourage regular check-ins within and among teams and explore different options for connecting. If your team is experiencing Zoom fatigue or craving face time with others, pivot to check in with them in a new way.
While Slack, Zoom, and Google chat are popular platforms for teams to stay connected while working apart, there are other creative ways to use these platforms, boost morale, and create team bonding opportunities. These can include fun virtual activities like themed trivia games, book clubs, and happy hours. Poll your organization about which kinds of events are of interest and aim to schedule them on a regular basis.
Recognize exceptional work
When you’re not in the same physical space as your coworkers, it’s difficult to know what everyone is up to. Consider developing a company-wide newsletter to highlight employees’ successes during these difficult times. Knowing what others are working on not only creates a sense of community and connection but can motivate and inspire others.
Regularly assess and adapt
This situation is changing constantly and will continue to for the foreseeable future. What worked five months ago won’t necessarily work now; what’s working now might not work at the end of the year – and that’s okay. The most successful teams and companies are those that have demonstrated open-mindedness, flexibility, and agility. Be curious about what other companies are doing to navigate the crisis, read about the latest technology platforms that are bringing people together, and implement practices that help your team communicate and work more efficiently and effectively.
Internal communications is always critical but will be even more so as we continue to navigate this pandemic. Listen to challenges, concerns, and ideas raised by your team and provide opportunities and tools to keep them connected, appreciated, and supported. This is new territory for all of us, but by prioritizing your internal communications, you will help your team work more effectively in the short-term and ensure that your organization not only survives but thrives in the long-term.