Internal Comms: The 10 Hot Topics for 2022 (Part Two)
Last week, we published the first five hot topics in our list of ten crucial Internal Comms focus points for 2022. And so, without further fanfare or unnecessary waffle, here are the rest…
Our first entry in part two of this list is one that requires its own piece from us – look for that as our next blog, before the end of the month!
But, in short… we all know that Internal Comms is about so much more than just sharing information. It is about inspiring employees to act or to behave differently. It’s about having an impact and creating action. The more we know and understand about the way people think, feel and act, the better we can tailor our comms to have the impact we require.
This is obviously of fundamental importance. There is literally no point in writing, creating and publishing engaging comms if your people can’t (or won’t) access it! This is where a health check of your comms strategy and channels can prove invaluable. Now is the best time to do this – not because we’re starting a new year, but because things seem to be returning to some degree of normality as we learn to live with Covid and restrictions continue to be lifted.
And accessibility is not just about the channels and the technology employed, it’s also about the comms themselves – the visuals, the language used, captions and subtitles, and the provision for feedback. And, when considering your people’s access to your comms channels, please consider their access to the time they need to interact properly and meaningfully.
Measuring the success of your internal comms is an important part of checking the accessibility of your comms.
I’ve already alluded to this above, but this topic is cropping up frequently and separately on searches, and so gets its own mention here. Your Internal Comms Strategy should be bespoke and up-to-date, and it should detail your channels and how they align with the different groups and teams within your organisation. There should be a clearly defined purpose and reach for each channel, and their frequency of use should be monitored and understood. The chances are, your channel matrix will look quite different now from how it looked pre-Covid. Or, at least, it ought to! (By the way, we have a completely free Comms Channel Matrix template that will get you off to a good start!)
Leadership after Covid-19
It’s no surprise to see this feature in current searches. Even leaders who had no prior experience of, or desire to, manage remote workers suddenly found themselves doing just that when the pandemic hit. And it can be a whole different ball game! Are your leaders fully equipped and trained to effectively manage their teams in the various forms that they now take?
Also, it can be argued that leadership now requires more empathy than before. Our people have been through a whole lot of worry, heartache, uncertainty and worse. Showing that we care about their wellbeing and their circumstances, challenges and issues is vital. As is leading with transparency and accessibility. I wrote about how to be a better leader under these circumstances this time last year.
Tied closely in with this is another hot topic – that of psychological safety in the workplace. This is something that good leaders know about and prioritise through their comms and their own behaviour. To nurture an environment where our people feel no fear in speaking up, in sharing their ideas and contributing fully, or even in raising their concerns, is to maximise collaboration and creativity and to fashion a workforce that truly feels a sense of belonging and loyalty.
Frontline & remote worker comms
Again, a predictable entry in the list and one that won’t be going away any time soon. Fortunately, it’s one I’ve written about a few times, with pieces on engaging with our remote workers, communicating with our gig workers and the importance of our frontline workers.
The fact of the matter is, regardless of Covid and its resulting restrictions and directives, flexible working is high on the list of desirables for most job seekers (and for those already in employment!). Even before Covid hit, the International Workplace Group’s 2019 Workplace Survey showed that more than four out of five people would, if presented with two similar job offers, turn down the one that didn’t offer flexible working. It also showed that over 50% of employees globally were, at the time, working outside of their main office premises for at least half of their working weeks, and that 75% cited flexible working as “the new normal”. It’s also worth remembering that flexible working is more important to Millennials and our Gen Z colleagues than it is to those of us born before 1980.
I started part one of this list with the confession that I don’t make new year’s resolutions. But, on top of the ten hot topics shared in this list, I’d like to finish with a few other resolutions we could commit to in the name of improving our internal comms and, therefore, our employee engagement:
Share your company objectives, goals, and performance regularly
Make your senior leaders visible, available, and approachable
Make 121 time mandatory, and a priority (regardless of worker status)
Never underestimate the importance and power of recognition and appreciation
Put ongoing training at the heart of your strategy
Use video frequently within your comms
Discourage the (excessive) use of email. (I bet there’s a more appropriate way…)
Encourage knowledge sharing and social networking