A crisis can occur at any time; some can happen with prior warning and some with no warning at all. The best that organizations can do is prepare their employees for any type of work situation during this crisis and this can only happen through open and transparent communication. Proactive communication can help ease the employee reflex of panic, restlessness, and ultimately quitting.
Whether you have a plan in place or not, the key is to maintain communication in the most human way possible and ensure an employee-focused approach. People trust people and not logos. They don’t need you to have all the answers immediately; they just want to know that you are working on a plan that will take care of them. Gallup found that a whopping 87 % of employees aren’t engaged at work. Engaging employees will help reduce the attrition rate due to a lack of faith in their employer. Communication is the primary way to engage your employees.
Common Communication Challenges
Your communication plan must address the communication challenges faced by organizations that come part and parcel with your employees’ psyche. Here are some of the most common challenges:
1. Time management & differences
Working remotely means that every employee has some leeway to set their own work timings which could lead to a lag in work delivery. Working remotely also means there’s a lot of ways one can get distracted. From doing chores to other members in the house asking for attention; There are several ways to get sidetracked. Make sure that touchpoints are maintained at times that are convenient for both the employee and employer.
2. Inconsistency of communication
Every piece of communication always begins at the top levels of management and works its way down the hierarchy. In this process, messages can be altered as it trickles down. Inconsistencies can cause people to believe incorrect information and can lead them to make the wrong decisions. Ensure that messages coming from the top come directly from the top and by the top to maintain clarity.
3. Assuming employee issues instead of asking
In the middle of a crisis, it is easy for management to focus on the overall goal and forget to listen to what their employees are saying. Disregard or neglect can lead to people switching off. A partnership approach encourages a sense of community. Include them in collaborations or conduct engagement activities.
4. Cultural differences
Today’s workforce is more culturally diverse and each has different approaches to how they conduct themselves and work. While there may be diversity and an overall acceptance of diversity,; many will still respond to and be more easily persuaded by individuals of similar cultures. Managers tend to have difficulties communicating with teams whose backgrounds are different from their own. Try to keep each team as diverse as possible in order to avoid smaller groups forming within teams. Maintain a neutral tone devoid of any nationality or accent when communicating to give a more all-inclusive impression.
The New Age Employee Psyche
With the majority of the current workforce being millennials followed by Gen Y and a little Gen Z; it is becoming more and more evident that every brands’ mode of communication must adhere to a common consensus. They have a very different approach to work, how they conduct themselves, and what they expect from their employers. They’ve grown up in the age of social media where everything is out in the open and there is a constant flow of information fed directly into their phones.They build their connections, networks & communities online and have an uber personalized news feed on their social media handles. They get all of their information and all questions answered online.
Getting your employees to engage with you and your content entails you communicating said content through their preferred channels & devices. Businesses are now investing in engagement and communication tools that help connect with their employees in the best possible way. Turnkey solutions like HubEngage enable brands to own an independent communications & engagement channel that they can control and regulate.
This solution acts as a social media app and isn’t just a means to communicate but enables brands to engage their employees further:
- Set up employee recognition & rewards programs, contests, surveys, etc
- Create your own instant messaging platform within the app with an employee directory
- Send push notifications to inform employees about company news/ updates
- Create a section with online learning modules to educate employees & reinforce them with knowledge
- Empower employees by enabling them to upload their own content onto the platform (the organization can regulate this content)
The lockdown has brought to light several facts about how working remotely is very possible and also cost-effective up to a certain extent. It has also brought to light the distinct difference in how generations communicate and why the younger generations preferred modes of communication has made it easier for businesses to communicate with & engage their employees during the pandemic. Businesses are investing in solutions like HubEngage because this mode of communication and engagement will be used for generations to come. Now is the time to adapt and get ready for a time post-pandemic which will house an evolved employee environment.