Employee engagement is important all the time, but we are in a period where its importance has
become paramount. COVID-driven location dispersion, general anxiety, and employee dissatisfaction have made engagement even more challenging. 77% of US employees are currently reporting burnout and 52% of employees intend to look for a new job. In addition, nearly two-thirds of US-based employees that McKinsey surveyed said that COVID-19 has caused them to reflect on their purpose in life. And nearly half said that they are reconsidering the kind of work they do because of the pandemic.
The stakes are clearly high, and we know that good employee communication helps with engagement, but how do you effectively communicate with your employees? Whether you are communicating with your customers or your employees, the challenge is the same. You want to attract, engage, and build loyalty, keeping in mind that the same level of care should be given to internal communications as to external communications.
1. Commit to what you can. In this next phase of the pandemic, communication might be even more challenging than in previous phases. Trying to keep options open and being nimble makes sense, but it can increase employee’s anxiety. Commit to your employees on the things you can
control. For example – you don’t know what date you will return to the office, but you
can commit to giving employees 6 or 8 weeks lead time before a change and commit to
a policy to keep people safe when they are there.
2. Tie actions to your mission. Employees will always feel more motivated if they understand the why behind the what. This is especially true for mergers and acquisition, and restructuring activities
3. Help overcome FOMO. It is important to work to overcome feelings of FOMO. The hybrid workplace can make people feel like if they are not in the room or part of a passing conversation, that they are missing out.
- Declare that your headquarters for the time being is online
- Set core office hours or days if you are going to have people come into the office
- Make sure leaders’ communication delivery channels reach all employees
- Design presentations and meetings with the people not in the room in mind first
4. Design for and facilitate employee to employee communication. Not all important communication happens from the top down.
- Fewer, but better meetings. No agenda, no meeting. What automated reports could replace
- Break down silos – work in 1-3 month cross-functional sprints to get important projects
- Tools over rules. Utilize dashboards, be vigilant about clean data, and have consensus on
what performance metrics are important.
Learn how to better communicate with your team during periods of change. Download our Internal Communications e-book.