I have a confession to make... I haven’t made a new year’s resolution (neither personal nor professional) for years! (This also means I haven’t broken any! Yay me!) I’m not even sure why I haven’t made any as I’m all for self-betterment. I think I just forget!
However, if we were all to make a resolution to improve our employees’ experience and engagement levels (and why wouldn’t we?), it would probably start with a look at our internal comms. And so, with that in mind, I’ve done a little research (so that you don’t have to) into the hot topics for internal comms for 2022. Fortunately, I’ve already written about quite a few of these, and I will link those articles below.
And so, to part one of the hit list!
It’s no surprise at all to see this as the hottest of topics. Employers currently walk a difficult path, trying to balance employees’ desire for flexibility with maintaining meaningful contact and comms. I wrote here about keeping remote workers engaged and the importance of maintaining some face-to-face contact with leaders for those who are working remotely some or all of the time, whether through their choice or otherwise.
Working remotely should never mean working alone, unsupported, or unsupervised. Regular check-ins are vital, as are clear targets and transparency around company initiatives and decisions. Your internal comms strategy must carefully consider and cater for your remote workers.
Another no-brainer here at number two in our list. With everything that everyone has been through (and continues to go through, in some cases) the wellness of our people (both physical and mental) has never been more important or under scrutiny. And, over in the US, people are quitting their jobs in record numbers, primarily because they are confident that they can get “a better job” – essentially, one that makes them feel better and happier – elsewhere. I wrote this piece last month on how to improve your employees’ wellbeing. And, if you run a small to medium-sized business, please don’t make the mistake of thinking that programmes and incentives that enhance wellbeing are the realms of the biggest players only. You’ll just end up losing your best people to those biggest players!
And after I read a report claiming that 76% of employees believe that their employer should be doing more to protect their mental health, I wrote this piece on how to maintain focus on this key topic.
Diversity and Inclusion
Glassdoor reported last year that two-thirds of job seekers cite a diverse workforce as an important factor when evaluating future employers. The same survey revealed that well over half of employees think that their employer should be doing more to increase diversity in its workforce.
Unsurprisingly, Market Watch found that companies with diverse staff are better positioned to meet the needs of diverse customer bases, with the cash flows of diverse companies well over twice that of those who don’t actively chase and embrace diversity.
I gave some advice here on how to ensure your comms appeal to a diverse workforce and maximise inclusivity and belonging. (I also wrote here about how a diverse workforce can affect your internal comms and, more widely, the creativity in your organisation!)
Now, this is a topic I haven’t written specifically about, and I will rectify that at some stage soon. But the safety of the women in your business, and the level of safety that they feel, are both of paramount importance. I would add to that the bolt-on of how valued they feel.
For a few starters, you can help in this field through your internal comms by:
having and communicating a robust sexual harassment policy – a zero tolerance for any of its manifestations. And that may require an education piece too.
boosting awareness of women’s safety, wellbeing and value across all populations in your workforce. Some (male) employees just may not have considered things from a female co-worker’s perspective. Address this with workshops, blogs, messages from senior leaders, open group discussions, posts on the company intranet or social channels etc.
empower and encourage your women to speak up. Women must never feel shame or fear the consequences of speaking up about their experiences. Promoting sexual equality in everything that you do, starting right at the top of the tree, is a great place to start. Make sure your most senior women are visible and given a voice.
Obviously tied to the first entry on our list, hybrid events are conferences, meetings or workshops that combine traditional in-person, physical get-togethers with virtual, online components. The idea here is to include all and provide an immersive and engaging experience for your audience. Vimeo offer a good look at hybrid events here, and include some great examples from 2021. One thing that always boosts interactivity with your people, be they in person, remote or both, is an audience engagement tool like Vevox that offers live polling, Q&A functionality and instant surveys. It’s a tool we have used with quite a few clients for some time now, and it has proved invaluable in many ways.
Look out for part two of our list, with the remaining five hot topics for ’22, next week.