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5 Ingredients For Internal Communication In A Hybrid Workplace

Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

5 Ingredients For Internal Communication In A Hybrid Workplace

Internal communication has always been crucial for engaging the workforce and ensuring alignment with the company’s core goals and philosophy. While it’s one thing to have the opportunity to interact with people and drive a message,  it’s another thing to drive it in a virtual workspace.

Given the current trends around flexible and remote working, there is much more of a demand for increased connectivity. More or less, every company is prone to have offices in different locations or even countries, or they offer remote working environments. In both ways, the organisation needs to communicate, distribute tasks or evaluate achievements.

The smooth functioning of any work environment, especially virtual drastically depends on the quality of internal communication as work can not progress without the constant flow of information. Often this internal communication is only focused on work-related matters – follow up on pending work, assigning more work or evaluating work; whereas it also plays a tremendous role in contributing to overall employee engagement.

Internal communication can be tough though, even when everyone is in the same office, so trying to ensure staff are kept linked up and in the loop when they’re working from home can be even trickier. Whether your whole workforce works remotely or it’s just a few members of staff, here are some ways to amplify your internal communication for the hybrid work environment.

Provide employees with a central information hub.

Providing employees with a central hub where they can find the information that they need to do their jobs and stay informed makes immense sense. Whether you switch to an intranet, a messaging app, or simply get your people to use a single platform for their email and calendars, your primary goal is to minimise confusion by centralising your content and integrating your internal communications mediums within a single source.

Storing this information in a cloud will reduce the cost of storage, allow quicker and easier access to tools and information. It also goes without saying it’s one of the best ways to keep a tab on employee engagement, and this, in turn, will ensure staff retention and increased productivity.

However, solely having a central hub or common folder or drives will not ensure that employees access this information, HR will have to constantly direct employees to this central repository by way of messages or emails until such time that employees themselves access the information without any doubts or queries.

Provide internal work chat

Internal communication doesn’t just involve one-way communication towards its employees; allowing team members to communicate and collaborate on a secure internal chat platform will speed up the communication process. In some organisations, private chats were are also enabled to help employees steer through wellness issues that emerged during the pandemic.

Communication on the go is one of the most in-demand features for all businesses. Adding a chat feature enables users to talk to each other instantly, send files, share photos and more; and it can be created, stored and maintained in a way that is a lot more secure than using text messages or alternative unencrypted communications.

While apps like WhatsApp are already being used for updates, it is better to have a more secure internal platform. WhatsApp groups etc can however be used for employee wellness by creating support groups.

Start an internal communications vlog or podcast.

We are in a digital age, and a big part of our workforce is young. Most people have some sort of digital presence, and many are interested in pursuing it as a hobby like Instagram accounts, vlogs etc. why not adopt it in the workplace as well? When you have a lot to say, reading it in text-only format can be boring; therefore, the video should be a top choice for getting out what might otherwise be ignored as a long-winded, verbose message.

Be sure to develop a comprehensive calendar and strategy so these don’t become one-off attempts that fail. Ensuring consistency with content, format and delivery is essential.

Use communication tools consistently throughout the company.

Digital communication now goes beyond daily emails, announcements and newsletters. Seeing teammates via online meetings, especially during the pandemic has gone a long way, helps people connect with each other and prevent feeling isolated. Zoom has been a very popular tool for video-conferencing in large part due to the company’s extension of its tool – for free – to anyone interested during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Agree on a particular virtual conferencing platform that can be used company-wide but recognise that employees may also need to use alternative tools to communicate with customers, prospects and partners. Further, tools that document processes, responsibilities, inter-dependencies and deadlines are key when virtual environments are at play. Ensure the information or discussions from meetings is accessible for future reference, regardless of associates’ locations.

The role of IT is important here, to ensure adequate licenses are purchased and the tools are implemented throughout the organization. The IT team should pick times when most employees are offline to push new technology without interruptions.

Gamify team interactions.

A key sign of engagement is when your team willingly interacts with social posts on the company intranet. This involvement increases teamwork, knowledge, commitment, and builds a stronger work culture.  When your team isn’t interacting with social posts on the company intranet, they need motivation. Gamification is an effective way to counteract initial resistance.

By creating a way that lets the employee play a game that offers points, status, and rewards, they can improve their skills and goals, or meet the objectives you are trying to reach. An example of this could be a sales scoreboard across all your regional offices.  This encourages people to log on, side with their team, share congratulations, and spur their sales staff on. The gamification aspect inspires us to interact and come out on top. This can help as well as bring teams closer together and break down restrictive professional barriers.

Improving internal communications during virtual office environments can be the true test of how well this could work for our professional and personal needs. A few things are key — embracing extreme flexibility, following data insights, and continuing to listen closely to employee needs — these will all undoubtedly help you to transition to the new reality without putting too much strain on employees and employers. Keeping an ear to the ground and staying informed is the first place to start to help ease the transition.

Lastly, your communication also needs to be able to grab the attention of your dispersed employees. Good looking creatives can inspire, support and help members of staff to realise they are more than just a job role. Effective internal communication should aim to break the barrier and usher your workers in, so they can embrace the culture, build stronger working relationships, and feel more motivated to fulfil their objectives.

Our experience at Yellow Spark tells us that the HR function often struggles with internal communication. Not just that, it is also often looked at as a cost-intensive exercise. We have helped out clients break these myths. Given the multiple touchpoints available to HR, we can help you weave communication through all your HR functions. To set up a strong employee communication strategy for your organisation,  write to us at contact@yellowspark.in.

Author Profile: Aparna Joshi Khandwala is a passionate HR professional. She co-founded Yellow Spark to work with like-minded people who believe in the power of leadership, which is the only business differentiator in today’s time.