Why is internal communication key to keeping employees engaged, especially during turbulent times?
With many organisations now adopting hybrid working arrangements, keeping up the communications between your team is crucial for the long-term success of your teams. This becomes even more crucial during turbulent times when employees can feel the stress and strain at both ends of the work-life spectrum. With the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, it’s essential that HR professionals have a strong understanding of internal communications to establish a two-way conversation with individuals and make employee wellbeing a top priority.
To achieve this, transparency is key, and trust needs to be placed front and centre. But how does this work in practice, especially if some of your workforce is working from home?
Here are a few simple ways to keep up the communications in empathetic ways so you don’t run the risk of not supporting those you rely on most.
Check in regularly
Whether you schedule weekly meetings, bi-weekly stand-ups, or end of day catch-ups, hybrid working is based on effective, regular communication. When this isn’t well managed it can result in poor information flow, knowledge gaps, barriers to effective team working and exclusion of team members who are not in the office. Communication within hybrid teams needs to be more intentional, as casual, or ad-hoc conversations are likely to prove less effective.
On a more personal level, it’s important to check in with your employees regularly on a one-to-one basis in addition to your team meetings. Fostering a sense of empathy is dependent on being aware of an employee’s background, which includes their mental health and financial status. Those struggling to put food on the table or caring for a sick loved one, for example, may also be experiencing symptoms of anxiety, stress and worry, which could affect their productivity at work.
Setting up employee surveys is another great way to get the comms going and gauge how people are feeling about their jobs. This way, HR can quantify the problems, discover the root cause of any issues and decide on actionable next steps.
Teamwork should be encouraged because it gets different members of your workforce working together which encourages accountability and builds relationships. Allowing and supporting them to establish their own principles for communication, whether that be meeting up physically or using a variety of interactive technologies, can create great benefits helping everyone feel included and reduce the likelihood of some members feeling excluded from the rest of the team.
Use tools to streamline workloads and enhance internal comms
Many employees can empathise that there’s nothing worse than having to sit through long, largely irrelevant meetings knowing that their mountainous work pile still needs to be done. When teams are working in a hybrid way, communication can be enhanced by asynchronous tools such as Slack or chat functions in platforms such as Microsoft Teams. This allows people to have more schedule flexibility, as well as location flexibility, and reduces online meeting time which could be much better spent getting work done without employees feeling they have to rush it before the end of the day.
Using technology correctly can create a sense of community and boost the employee experience significantly. For example, channels can be set up on internal platforms to connect people with shared interests, to address challenges and more. However, technology can’t be relied on alone, so to deliver the best employee experience possible it’s important to strike the right balance between human interaction and technology to keep your employees engaged and feeling part of the tribe.
Strike the balance
How to strike that balance will look different for every organisation, but by checking in regularly with your staff on personal and work-related matters, encouraging more teamwork and using technology in smart ways can ensure that organisations communicate with their employees in an informed and empathetic way. Not only will this foster a supportive environment but it will also help to retain talented employees in the long run.
Effective internal communication ensures that employees are well-informed, feel valued, and have a sense of purpose within the organisation. When employees are engaged, they are more motivated, loyal, and enthusiastic about their work, leading to improved performance and a happier, more cohesive workplace. In this digital age, where remote work and diverse teams are increasingly common, the role of internal communication in keeping employees engaged is more crucial than ever.
If you feel your business could do with a boost to its internal comms to bring your team closer together, our expert HR team can help. For more information, get in touch with HR Inspire – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy that can bring your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.