Internal communications more important than ever

Internal communications more important than ever

Whether your organization is large or small, there’s never been a more important time than today’s pandemic to have strong, consistent internal communications.

With situations changing by the day due to the COVID-19 crisis, companies are turning to internal communications to help employees transition successfully to a remote work environment and to relay operational updates.

It’s critical to keep employees informed. But effective internal communication should go far beyond stiff one-way updates from management.

As an example, Achieva Credit Union CEO Gary Regoli filmed a video for employees that talked about teamwork. He talked about how bees work together in the hive – something he knows a lot about, since he raises bees on the rooftop next to his Dunedin office.

Smart organizations are using internal communications to boost morale and build camaraderie in a stressful time. Here are five internal communications ideas for your company or nonprofit:

1. Use video conferencing for more than meetings. Use Zoom and other videoconference platforms for on-on-one discussions and informal get-togethers like trivia contests and virtual happy hours.

2. Find opportunities for employee recognition. It’s easier to congratulate employees on a job well done when you pass that person’s desk. In a remote environment, managers need to be more intentional in recognizing employees. Congratulate people on doing a good job, but be specific on what they did well – that makes the compliments much more meaningful.

3. Provide frequent updates. Keep the team up to date on what’s going on, and make sure managers are prepared to answer employees’ questions. Make sure official memos are easy to read (consider bullet points as an effective tool) and provide tangible information that isn’t just fluff. Otherwise, employees will tune out.

4. Model compassion and empathy. Keep your regular one-on-one or “check in” schedule with your employees, and ask people how they and their family are. People are under a tremendous amount of stress and are feeling a lot of anxiety, but may not know how to ask for resources to help. Create a culture where it’s okay to talk about how each person is doing, and offer options for help if needed.

5. Share helpful information. Some businesses have formal employee assistance programs (EAPs), which they should be talking about regularly with employees. Other businesses can suggest helpful resources, such as livestream workouts, meditation apps or community resources like 2-1-1, without the expectation of the company providing the service or shouldering the cost.

Quality internal communications can be a huge help as organizations navigate these extraordinarily difficult economic conditions. Every business needs an engaged, enthusiastic team that will do what it takes to get through these challenging times.

Business leaders often think first about communicating with their customers, business partners and investors. But don’t forget about employees – they are just as important.