By Peter Hoffman

Transformation driven by the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the revision of organisational business models with radical, rapid changes in the workplace. Employees are now subject to cycles of disruption and adaptation, driven both by pandemic-related health reasons and new business imperatives. Human Resource professionals in turn were compelled to adjust their people strategies – with changes across all areas within the HR stable requiring adjustment to the HR operating models – and a need to communicate these changes to employees in an effective manner.

A lack of centralised communication channels drives misinformation, a silo-mentality and a loss on sense of shared purpose – in turn driving high levels of employee disengagement and reduced productivity levels. The crisis forced organisational leadership to rethink how they manage employee communication to address employees’ need to feel safe and sound, retain and build trust and align their workforce to the changes in the organisational business models and HR operating models in times of uncertainty.

A lack of centralised communication channels drives misinformation, a silo-mentality and a loss on sense of shared purpose – in turn driving high levels of employee disengagement and reduced productivity levels.

This reinforced the need for clear and inspiring communication, supported by authentic social dialogue to help employees connect truthfully and honestly, strengthening the overall connections with employees to, inter-alia, rebuild organisational health, productivity, and talent retention. With changes in working arrangements, Internal Communication functions were positioned to work more closely with HR functions to drive employee communication and engagement.

Fast, targeted messages to the appropriate audience at the right time maintained agile problem resolution and a connected workforce.

Organisations had to adjust swiftly during the first wave of the pandemic with respect to how employee communication was driven. Changes in the way work is done, including the move toward remote working arrangements, supported the digitisation of internal communications. Digital communications strategies provided the basis for instant employee communication on decisions taken by management to assist employees in coping with stress and anxiety and to ensure business continuity within a swiftly changing and innovative environment. Fast, targeted messages to the appropriate audience at the right time maintained agile problem resolution and a connected workforce.

In support of renewal in the current recovery phase of the pandemic, Internal Communications is well positioned to support organisational leadership and management in driving effective communication messaging. This includes engaging with employees to understand where people are mentally to prepare accordingly, investing in cultivating open, compassionate conversations related to the emotional impact of the pandemic to strengthen ties with employees, focusing communication on the wellbeing of employees and creating a cultural conversation across the organisation with a positive outlook on its future.

Internal Communication’s role in enabling effective cross-functional collaboration and effective communication integrate well with HR’s objectives of empowering and engaging with employees, maintaining workplace productivity, protecting employee safety and wellbeing, and delivering a positive employee experience. Collaboration within organisations to establish and strengthen executive leadership supported digital communication channels that provide agile delivery with an employee-centric focus will improve overall employee satisfaction by providing a sense of value, respect, and trust.

In a workplace where HR professionals are focused on adapting their operating models to address organisational change, Internal Communication functions are well placed to support employee communication to ensure employees are more informed, connected, and engaged.

Join ‘Strategic Internal Communications’ training course delivered by Peter Hoffman on 12-15 December in Dubai. This course will demonstrate how the Internal Communications function not only supports the communication of business strategy but also plays a vital role in its delivery, by:

  • Articulating the business case for an effective, strategically aligned internal communications capability within your organisation to your senior stakeholders
  • Improving awareness, understanding, and advocacy of your business strategy among internal stakeholders
  • Moving your internal communications away from tactical interventions towards a more strategically aligned, value-adding approach
  • Demonstrating how effective internal communication is consequential to the success of your business
  • Helping you to evaluate and improve your levels of personal influence as a strategic communications partner