Key workers have continued to work through the pandemic playing a vital role throughout these uncertain and challenging times. However, with restrictions being lifted and employees returning to work across multiple industries, there is a shift of emphasis from crisis management towards dealing with what comes next and learning from the lock-down experience.
There are many questions for employers and employees both and an inevitable sense of uncertainty about plans for moving out of lock-down, working-from-home, and furlough. How to adjust to the shift in work patterns includes managing who will continue to work from home and who will be back in the workplace premises - effectively the re-calibration of workplace norms.
It is important that as employers and employees we recognise that our relationship to, and experiences of, the Covid-19 pandemic may be very different from those of our colleagues. Leaders play a critical role in times of change, and they must create a positive vision to guide employees into this new world.
Everyone within an organisation is responsible for their engagement and communication efforts and it is increasingly seen as essential for employers to have a communication system to connect with employees directly, frequently, consistently, and instantly. Clear lines of communications should also be established with clients, partners, and stakeholders.
Here are some key tips to identify communication needs within your organisation as part of a strategy for successfully welcoming employees back to work:
1. Develop your new internal communications strategy to reach EVERY employee:
- Determine who your audience is and what information is important and relevant to them.
- Create a system that will reach all employees with critical information and updates at anytime and anywhere.
- Determine how to reach disconnected ‘frontline’ employees, furloughed employees, those on leave of absence, and on-boarding new employees.
- Develop a digital social space where employees can interact with each other.
2. Designate a communication manager to process, receive and respond to employee concerns.
- Establish an efficient line of two-way communication for employees to submit queries and suggestions and establish a channel to provide update employees with frequent company news and highlight reels.
- Craft and finalise the organisations key messaging and answer employee questions and concerns.
3. Carefully consider your messaging – state the facts, outline the impact, share safety measures.
- Provide ongoing assurance that the organisation is safeguarding employee health and safety.
- Review communications and feedback from employees.
- Make Government and official websites with health and safety updates easily available to staff e.g. World Health Organisation (WHO)
4. Outline work-from-home, annual leave, and travel policies.
- Give clear communication regarding working from home.
- Ensure employees are clearly informed about any changes in travel policies and laws.
- Remind employees of alternatives to face-to-face meetings e.g. conference calls, video conferences and online meetings.
5. Develop external communications and utilise your marketing and PR teams.
- Work with your marketing, communications, and / or public relations team(s) to develop a communications plan to address external constituents, including news media and external stakeholders.
Communication plays a vital role within any organisation. Effective communication promotes positivity in the workplace environment and is a key factor promoting employee engagement and performance. If you would like to find out how you can make a real impact on your employee engagement and communication with a secure, engaging mobile app, book a demo with our team today!
Written by Ellen Convery, Thrive.
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