The COVID-19 crisis has impacted businesses on every level. Not only has it affected sales and market values, but it has also changed the way we work. Organisational structures and internal processes have had to be dramatically adjusted to work within the new rules. With remote working becoming the norm rather than the exception, companies have had no choice but to rethink their internal communications. Even now, as employees finally start returning to their desks, the new office environment is a very different place than the one they left all those months ago.
The crisis has forced businesses to take a closer look at their internal communication strategy and evaluate whether it is still fit for purpose. In fact, research by Deloitte suggests that only 47% of employers believed they had the capabilities or processes to meet a crisis with the best possible outcome. This was obviously a situation that needed to improve and quickly.
In the post-Covid world, your strategy needs to face up the challenge of reaching off-site workers, wherever they might be. It also needs to have a new level of immediacy, as yet uncalled for in day-to-day business. It’s no longer good enough to wait for everyone to open an email over a period of hours. The risk of misinformation and the need for guidance has never been greater.
It’s clear that the COVID-19 outbreak has changed the internal communication landscape. In this blog, we take a closer look at what it takes to communicate effectively in the post-Covid arena. We explore six key examples of internal communication where the challenge of business upheaval has been successfully managed and overcome.
6 Internal Communication Examples for the Post-Covid World
While no one could predict the pandemic, it has at least prepared us for any future disruptive events which may occur. By incorporating some of the following internal communication best practices into your plans, you will be future proofing your business. These employee communication examples will help to make your internal communications plan robust and flexible, whatever is looming over the horizon.
1. Clarity and Transparency
In times of business disruption, your employees need clear guidance without any hint of ambiguity. It’s natural for them to be worried and confused. They will inevitably have a lot of questions, for example:
“How will all the changes impact my role?”
“What are the new rules and processes?”
“Will the reorganisation of the company mean I lose my job?”
This is a situation where effective internal communication is absolutely crucial. Even without a crisis in play, many employees feel they don’t have access to all the facts. A survey by Gallup revealed that 74% of employees have the feeling they are missing out on important information at work. Your internal communication process needs to ensure everyone has access to the information they need and have all their questions answered.
One example of internal communication to be particularly aware of is the risk of misinformation. If your employees don’t receive information from the company about internal reorganisation or role changes, they will seek the information themselves. Once your employees start calling their colleagues to find out the news, the risk of rumour and distortion rises dramatically. Communicating change needs to come from the top, and it needs to be as clear and well-defined as possible in order to avoid misunderstandings at this crucial time.
2. Instant Notifications
The pandemic has made it abundantly clear that timing is everything in a crisis. In order to avoid misinformation spreading throughout your company, you need to give answers and guidance immediately. This is not the time to say, “I’ll get back to you later”. You need to have those answers at your fingertips, and you need to get them out to your workforce without delay.
Your employees don’t have the luxury of time to wait or search for critical information. According to Gallup, the average employee spends 2.5 hours per day looking for information they need. Now, in the post-Covid landscape, this time-lapse needs to be eliminated.
When we’re looking at examples of internal communication in an organisation, it quickly becomes apparent that your choice of internal communication channels is critical in this instance. Many companies discovered that their employee intranet wasn’t up to the task. While it may be great for sharing policy documents or company reports, it lacks the immediacy required in today’s working environment. Research by Medium shows that only 13% of employees use their company intranet on a daily basis.
This is where an internal communications app really comes into its own. The ability to send out instant notifications to mobile phones is now an essential requirement. By ensuring that everyone receives the same message at exactly the same time, you’ll put a stop to the rumour, gossip and fearmongering that can cause panic to spread throughout an organisation.
3. Visible Leadership
A strong leadership presence is even more crucial in the post-Covid world. Your senior team has a vital role in calming fears and reassuring employees as they steer the ship through choppy waters. They are perfectly placed to act as key message carriers, and the tone they adopt will filter down through the company ranks.
It’s also important to assign a clear role of responsibility for actioning both internal and external communication, ensuring there is clear corporate authority behind it. In times of uncertainty, direction needs to come from the top and cascade down through the organisation.
Some examples of internal communication that make the most of leadership include video clips and audio messaging. While it is important to provide written documentation on any changes of direction and procedure, people need to see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice to gain that extra reassurance.
There are many channels you can deploy to deliver this, including YouTube and WhatsApp groups. However, internal communication software will give an added level of security. In addition, by giving employees a choice of devices on which to access the communications, you will find you gain far greater reach across the company.
4. Message Segmentation
One requirement that has become increasingly important in the post-Covid world is the need for segmentation. With workers now dispersed across the country, it’s become vital to segment the content you’re sharing internally. Now, businesses are finding they need to send out personalised messages tailored to suit the audience in question. If you’re looking to improve internal communications, this is a good place to start, particularly in times of change and disruption.
Sometimes a company-wide message is exactly what’s needed. However, there are times when it’s important to ensure employees receive only the information they need and nothing more.
Segmenting your content is even more critical in times of disruption and change. One relevant internal communications example is the question of furloughed employees. You have a legal requirement to desist in asking them to complete reports or finish projects. In order to avoid serious internal communication mistakes, you need to make sure that message is only reaching the correct segment of staff. An internal communications app will give you the flexibility to segment your content based on locations, teams and business units, as well as furloughed and working staff.
5. Feedback Channels
As your employees begin to return to the office, they will inevitably have questions. Lots of them! They will want to know about the impact of the crisis on their roles, how it has affected the internal structure of the company and how it has influenced sales revenue. The benefits of good internal communication really come into their own if you can answer these questions quickly and directly. Fail to do this, and you will find fear and panic spreads quickly across the company.
The answer is to make it easy for those questions to be asked and answered. You need to put feedback channels in place that will collect and process the questions and concerns of your workforce.
When it comes to collating feedback, there are many internal communication ideas that can be put in place. For example, using an employee app, you can create a channel dedicated to those returning to the office, inviting employees to post and share their questions.
To avoid overload, you can create channels specifically for each sector that needs addressing, e.g. COVID-19 Safety Procedures; COVID-19 Internal Reorganisation; COVID-19 Flexible Working. By providing a platform dedicated to your employees’ needs, you will be removing the element of uncertainty and encourage open discussion. Once you have a free-flowing two-way channel of information in place, you’ll find confidence and certainty returns to your workforce.
6. Impact Measurement
It’s always vital to know whether your communications are being received and understood. But in times of change and uncertainty, this need becomes acute. If employees are not receiving key messages, their health and safety could be compromised. According to IABC, only 40% of internal communication practitioners measure the success of their strategy. This is a risk you simply can’t take in a situation where your strict regulations need to be enforced.
You need to know whether your employees are reading your content and updates. You also need to know which employees are not reading them and address the situation immediately. Tracking your internal communication metrics is not a nice-to-have policy; it is essential.
One of the most important examples of internal communication in an organisation is health and safety. When employees start returning to the office, you will be sending out messages containing safety procedures and the necessary steps your employees need to take. These messages need to be instant and unmissable, reaching every single employee.
This is where good internal communications software comes into its own, with the ability to fire out real-time notifications to every single mobile phone across the organisation. Every employee instantly receives a text, and you receive a detailed report of who has opened the text and who hasn’t. This isn’t just an extremely effective method of internal communication; it’s potentially lifesaving.
The Employee App: Ticking all the Boxes
The focus on internal communications has never been greater. Businesses are now more aware than ever that a well-considered communications strategy can make the difference between riding the wave of a crisis or sinking under the strain. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that the old-style intranet-and-email approach just doesn’t cut it in a post-Covid world.
Internal communications apps are increasingly seen as the solution in this new business landscape. They offer the immediacy that so many other channels lack. They reach out effortlessly across the organisation, connecting with even the hard-to-reach. And they provide a simple way of measuring results, so you know you’re on the right track.
These internal communication examples illustrate perfectly why employee apps are becoming the must-have solution for 2021.