Communicating with workers in a 'new normal' world
1 November 2020
Covid19 has rapidly altered our work methods. Since its breakout, organizations are not only making decisions but preoccupied with how to communicate said decisions to their workers that are usually posted at home for quite a while. It seems that the initial response to the pandemic is behind us. At this point, organizations' focus has shifted from assisting workers to adapting to this interim period which is evidently here to stay.
Workers are no longer setting up their home offices, finding some arrangement for their children. Most workers have already grown accustomed to a daily routine, though it may consist of some stress factors.
Facing this reality, how can the organization maintain a connection to its distant workers and assist them in adapting to 'the new normal'?
It's key to understand that these strategies apply to the current climate yet are ultimately relevant at all times.
Understand that this is 'the new normal' and communicate accordingly
Firstly, we must understand that the way in which we work now is not going to change for a while. When the coronavirus burst into our life, the communication staffs in the organizations were content with providing communication in time of crisis. There was a need for a quick update of the organization's strategy and its adaption to the situation. Since then, long months have passed by. The focus should now shift from constant updates since workers are pretty much settled into their new routine. At this point, it is vital to accept the fact that these are indeed the new settings. The way in which organizations communicate with their workers should be accepted and perceived as a permanent solution, not a temporary one. Things may stay this way for a while.
Organizations should be asking themselves:
How can we maintain communication with workers despite a lack of updates?
Perhaps we can find new subjects to talk about such as health, weight watching, optimal work from home, etc. and send digital newsletters on these subjects once in a while
What changes can we initiate to allow our workers to feel more engaged? For example, creating digital routines such as sending periodical newsletters, posting daily updates, etc.
What can we do to uphold our organizational culture despite us being physically distant? For example, find online meeting solutions and encourage digital conversations via other organizational platforms
Communicate with your workers
Be sensitive to workers' different experiences. It's easy to assume that everyone goes through something similar, but you can't really know what each worker is experiencing. Don't assume their experiences to be identical.
Every time the organization shares a notice or update, it must be sensitive to a wide variety of worker experience. In order to simplify the task, consider defining "personas" for different types of workers to ensure all perceptions were considered.
This is a great opportunity to delve into how your team is feeling, on what subjects do they wish to receive information and in what format?
At the beginning of this pandemic, organizations communicated information to everyone. Now at a more adapted stage, it's time to shift to more personalized communication. This, in turn, depends on understanding you understanding your workers' experience and where their status at this stage of the pandemic. Various digital platforms allow personalization according to different segments. These features should be utilized, especially at this day and age.
Make sure that the organization's communication channels suit the workers and the type of messages you send. Every organization maintains various communication channels. Organizations make use of chats, emails, mobile apps, organizational portals, etc. Match the channel with the appropriate type of message and target audience. Some communications, the less urgent type, will be communicated exclusively via the organizational portal, while some communications are more important and will therefore be featured in email and communicated via mobile app notification.
Trust your managers
This is a crucial era for managers navigating their workers through this new reality. Workers need a strong leadership. If managers have yet to prove themselves in this regard, it's time to change that. Make sure your managers communicate transparently and frequently.
Transparent communication: managers must be honest about the situation, even if it may be difficult.
Frequent communication: managers must communicate with workers frequently even if there isn't much to update them of. If managers won't do so, workers might fear they aren't being included.
Define your culture to retain your workers' togetherness
Strong organizational culture retains workers. But what happens when workers are absent from their office for long? How can we retain organizational culture?
Talking over lunch, meetings, hallway conversations- these all allow workers to define their personal experience at work. And without these personal moments, the organizational culture may suffer.
Luckily, this doesn't have to be the case. Organizational culture can be defined in accordance with the new normal. Coming up with creative ways to get people together despite the distance is vital.
How can you retain and foster the organizational culture with workers physically distant from one another? Are there any digital means to attain this? Consider online meetings/contests, mailing gifts, etc.
What are we already doing that is contributing to our organizational culture? What can we do besides that?