Fresh eyes

Five employee communications tips for the hybrid working age

An employee working from home on a laptop
Paul Tustin Client Director PR & Comms Headshot

Written by Paul Tustin,
PR & Communications Director at Freshfield

Agile working is here to stay. According to a major survey of employees by accountants PwC, as many as 72 per cent of workers want a mix of in-person and remote working, many citing that they want to continue enjoying the flexibility brought on by the pandemic.

As we transition into the post-pandemic world, many organisations are still trying to figure out what model of working is best for them. Here we look at five tips for managing employee communications in the hybrid working age.

1. Ask your people

The Covid working world meant we lost many of the in-person communication opportunities that we used in meetings or in one-to-one communications with our colleagues, so identifying these gaps will help to formulate a plan.

While hybrid has enabled employees to adjust back in a staged way to the office environment, they still need to feel supported, with clarity of what is expected of them and to feel the kind of culture they will be working in for the future.

Ask employees what internal means of communication works best for them to make sure you arrive at the most effective structure using the most relevant channels. Your employee communications plan will need to blend remote and personal communications methods to reflect the adopted hybrid working model and the time spent by employees in the office or working at home.

2. Keep it simple

Breaking an internal communications plan into phases will make it easier for employees to take in information in small bites and it will make the process easier to manage and measure.

Broadly, the communications plan should be structured around the wider working model. This may include a period during which only specific teams or personnel are allowed into the office to ensure a feeling of safety.

There may follow a phase when all personnel are expected to be on site on certain days or for a specified number of days each week. Planning employee communications with these considerations in mind will make the process much easier for clear, consistent communications.

3. Share stories

Employee story sharing sessions are a simple yet powerful way to communicate and enable authentic team engagement. Use these sessions to share client feedback, project updates and work highlights of the month. These sessions will provide an opportunity for your team to open up and feel listened to. An employee may have delivered a great piece of work but if they are at home on their own, this positive experience may not be felt by others. It also enables leaders to hear meaningful stories and insight into how the team is working and feeling. A positive story told by an employee often grabs attention, and makes them feel good too.

4. Don’t lose the personal touch

Seeing your people in 15-minute sessions to talk through progress or feedback on certain company projects will help sustain relations. These regular catch-ups can also help encourage two-way dialogue rather than a more formal meeting.

Regular engagement on a one-to-one or team basis helps to create a feeling of continuity and structure, with opportunities for feedback along the way.

Get the most out of the time in the office together. Use these days for team meetings, brainstorms and ideas sessions, encouraging engagement on a personal level, stimulating new thinking and helping to make the office more of an experience than somewhere to simply sit at a desk.

If you can, ensure some of these sessions are recorded and listened to by senior team members and make them part of the internal communications process as the company shapes itself in the changing business world.

5. Monitor and review

Change is here to stay. This means being flexible, with the ability to move quickly as a company at each stage of the journey in the ‘Living with Covid’ world.

Assess the process, the channels and the feedback gained from employees to refine the model and ensure your employee communications remains engaging, relevant and meaningful.

By having a strategy that listens and communicates regularly to your people, you will be agile enough to move with the ever-changing business landscape with committed, engaged employees.

If you need support on an internal communications issue, please call our experienced PR and communications team today.

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