by Luke Turton – Jul 17, 2020
In times of crisis, effective internal communications can make all the difference to your people. When large sections of the workforce redeployed to their kitchens and spare rooms during the Covid-19 lock-down, leadership teams urgently needed to ensure that their employees felt reassured, and that everyone understood how established systems and processes had to adapt to this brave new world of work.
While most internal communication initiatives are not a response to a global crisis, the transition to home working is a good example of why clarifying your objectives should be the starting point of any piece of internal communications. To help you get started, here are some classic examples.
Do you want to turn your sales team into corporate ambassadors for health and safety, able to positively explain your organisation’s approach to suppliers, customers or partners? Or would you like employees to see sustainability as a building block to success rather than a box-ticking exercise? Finding creative ways to nudge people towards new behaviours could mean communicating how managers are walking the talk or creating a standalone campaign that recognises employees who have embraced new behaviours.
Has a merger or acquisition brought new faces into your organisation? Is there a divide between older and younger employees? Or does remote working now mean that parts of the company no longer interact? Breaking down the silos that can easily grow within an organisation means making sure that everyone shares the same ethos, motives and goals in order to pull in the same direction. Team building can be seen as an ongoing programme, incorporating different creative routes and channels to suit different learning styles.
Is your organisation re-branding? Maybe it’s adopting a new logo or has commissioned an advertising campaign? Whether you’ve got a new identity, product or service, it’s vital that employees form a powerful emotional connection with what you’re taking to market. Harvard Business Review suggests treating the internal audience in the same way you would an external one when brand building, launching a professional campaign that first digs into the different cultures and subcultures within your organisation in order to introduce and explain the messages.
Have two departments been folded together in your organisation? Are your processes and procedures about to change beyond all recognition? While we may all cheerfully proclaim that ‘change is a constant’, most people don’t like to move out of their comfort zone. When communicating organisational change, it’s crucial to first clarify why the change needs to happen and why it needs to happen now, before explaining the extent of the change and whether it links to anything that’s happened before. An exercise in organisation building could involve presenting a vision of what the future will look like before creating a channel for engaged employees to share their experiences.
As we embrace new ways of working and collaborating in 2020, the channels that we use to deliver internal communications will flex. Where town hall meetings were once physical affairs held in the middle of an office, for example, they will increasingly be held via video conference calls. Change is also happening fast, rendering some of the information you communicate obsolete within a matter of days as markets shift… and then shift again. The fundamentals of internal communication, however, remain the same: start with the objective and the rest will follow.
Published Jul 17, 2020