So, how does this story relate to re-engaging employees who are returning to the workplace after 100 days+ of remote working and lockdown, feeling a mix of uncomfortable about what that means and varying degrees of anxiety and disconnect.
Irrespective of how connected and engaged your people may seem on the surface, returning to the workplace after several months of remote working and endless Zoom meetings is a big thing. Social distancing at a time when we want to feel closer and more connected presents a cultural challenge. The traditional water cooler conversation or corridor chat may also (for the time being anyway) be a thing of the past, and we need a solution to bridge the connection gap.
If there is one investment organisations, CEOs, HR Directors and leaders can make at this time, it should be on internal communications. And the thing about communications in the current environment is they are fast moving, constantly evolving and facing into heightened ambiguity at a time when your people are looking for clarity, connection and decisions.
Consider three things:
- Do your employees understand the change ahead, what it means to them and how it translates to the experience customers have with your team?
- Does your organisation have a strong track record in delivering successful change programs that bring everyone along on the journey – connected, clear and engaged?
- Are there new opportunities presented in your post-lockdown plans for the team to step in and step up to the plate, in ways that helps your business and culture to grow?
If the answer to all three questions above is “yes!”, I take my hat off to you, it’s an impressive achievement. If, however, you fit within the 95%+ group of conversations I am having daily with business leaders and company executives, then welcome to the community and take some reassurance that you are not alone in trying to grapple a challenging brief.
Structured communications make a measurable difference on a number of fronts. They connect the ‘why’ and ‘where’ with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ – put simply, setting the agenda for change and motivating the right action. It’s connects the eyes and ears of the organisation, together with its voice.
There’s also another aspect to this.
Your people are three-dimensional, and they represent how your brand is perceived by the colleagues, customers and the communities you serve. If your organisation has a strong culture of communication, your colleagues and customers will feel united, included and valued. And where the energy goes, intention flows.
Bringing this back to the concept of a first date, there’s one take away I’d like to leave with you. Most of us have never been in a lockdown situation and returned to a workplace that will most likely be transformed beyond where it existed a matter of weeks ago. For executives and leaders, there’s no room for complacency – having the right communications strategy is the difference between winning a second date with your team or turning up in the wrong shoes.