By Caitlin Gibson
Although we don’t yet know what it’s like to work in a post-pandemic world, we can make some predictions. First, returning to work won’t be as simple as picking up where we left off before the pandemic started. Even when COVID-19 no longer influences most of the decisions we make, the impact of the virus and the changes it’s brought about will be felt personally and professionally for a long time. Notably, remote work is here to stay, and it’s rapidly accelerated digital transformations for businesses everywhere. Additionally, we can expect that more companies than ever will have a hybrid workforce; that is, one made up of remote employees, those who work on-site, and employees who do a combination of remote and on-site work.
How can companies enable the success of their hybrid workforce in a post-pandemic world? The key will be utilizing internal communications to rekindle a shared sense of purpose, so every employee—no matter where they work—feels connected to each other and the company’s goals. As a result, everyone will have the motivation and support they need to pursue the company’s objectives and adapt to new working norms and expectations.
How to Communicate with a Post-Pandemic, Hybrid Workforce
To communicate effectively with your hybrid workforce, prioritize these four actions.
1. Gather feedback regularly.
Before you recalibrate your internal communications approach, reach out to your employees and gather some initial feedback. This will help you determine what’s working and what’s not when it comes to your existing communications, so you can more thoughtfully adapt them for your hybrid workforce. Additionally, getting employees involved in the evolution of your internal communications strategy can help boost engagement overall.
To collect this feedback, you can send out a brief survey or utilize one-on-one meetings between employees and their managers. Whichever you choose, ask employees what communications they value the most, which communication channels they prefer to use, and how the company’s communications could be improved overall. After applying this feedback, your approach will inevitably need some additional finessing along the way as everyone adapts to working in a post-pandemic world. So, continue collecting feedback from remote, on-site, and hybrid employees on a regular basis.
2. Use internal communications software.
If you’re not already using internal communications software, this is a great time to start. This type of software makes executing your internal communications strategy an easier, more efficient process. Specifically, internal communications software can give you insight into what messaging is most effective and where there’s room to make improvements using communication data and analytics. So, you can identify which messages and communication channels are best suited to each group within your hybrid workforce. This software can also help you personalize your messaging for different audiences, so you can tailor your communications to your remote, on-site, and hybrid employees. Additionally, you can use this software to automate your messaging, which can make your communications more consistent and timely. That way, you can reach all of your employees in the right way at the right time.
3. Reiterate the company’s mission, vision, values, and goals.
Your hybrid workforce will rely on a shared sense of belonging and purpose to stay connected and motivated post-pandemic. In order to cultivate this level of employee engagement, you’ll have to go back to the basics and re-communicate what the company is all about, including your mission, vision, values, and goals. These are the threads that keep employees connected to each other and their work.
To reiterate this messaging effectively, pair a personalized communication campaign with an engaging content experience. This combination can clarify, in part, what company-wide objectives everyone should prioritize, so your employees can focus on bringing about specific outcomes in their day-to-day work. This is especially important for a hybrid workforce because, even if many employees work remotely, everyone can stay connected to and individually motivated by a shared mission, culture, and set of goals.
4. Prioritize one-on-one and small team meetings.
Employees should be connecting with their manager in a one-on-one meeting at least twice a month. These informal check-ins are the best place to evaluate how employees are feeling about their work, what progress they’re making on individual and team goals, and what support they need. This will be especially important post-pandemic because everyone will be navigating new expectations and working norms. All employees are going to need the support of their managers as they adapt.
Additionally, small team meetings are one of the best ways to ensure that remote, on-site, and hybrid workers stay connected and get to know each other better. To facilitate these meetings effectively and make them as valuable as possible, managers can periodically ask each member of the team to share what they’re working on at the moment. This can help everyone appreciate how the work they do serves their team and, by extension, the company. It’s also a great way for everyone to identify the best ways to support their team members, and, if needed, redistribute the workload.
Although we’re eager to return to work in a post-pandemic world, it won’t necessarily be an easy adjustment to make. The pandemic will have changed the way our businesses operate, how we connect with our colleagues, and what we need to be successful at work. In order to make this transition easier, many companies will have to recalibrate their internal communications by prioritizing the unique needs of their hybrid workforce. When done effectively, this process will not only help everyone adapt to a post-pandemic world; it could also create some of the strongest, most well-connected workforces to date—ones that will put many companies in a position to thrive.