By Rucha Bhalekar, Regional Marketing Manager
People are the bond that binds organizations together. In today’s decentralized work environments, coupled with organizations’ global nature, traditional internal networking practices are far from creating that feeling of belonging and empowerment that modern employees expect at the workplace.
The days of handwritten notes and face-to-face meetings as the primary means of contact are long gone and will forever remain part of history. It is hard to imagine that digital practices that we picked up so fast during lockdowns would be discarded in the post-pandemic world. Messages that are global, but more multicultural, individually meaningful, and distinctly digital are expected by today’s workforces. A hybrid model, combining in person meetings with remote work practices, will become the formula for success.
Working from home makes us more connected
For global organizations, the switch to complete digital represented an extra layer and that cherry on the top in internal communications. Companies operating across various markets are used to frequent conference calls with regional and global teams working across geographies daily. What happened due to remote work was an “aha” moment for local teams in individual markets. Only overnight, it became just as simple to call a colleague who used to share a desk with you in the office as it was to reach out to another expert in your organization sitting in a different market.
A mental shift happened as teams became more and more connected globally and instinctively looked for their counterparts in other markets when seeking creative solutions. This creates a stronger feeling of belonging to a global organization and opens up new opportunities for professional development and career advancement.
So what more can organizations do to make the most of the now completely digital internal communications?
Pick one platform for internal communication
Both for everyday communication tasks and important moments, the right technology already exists. Employee experience intranets and employee apps are modern tools that make the transition from analog to digital simple, and they even work together.
But amid a pandemic, who has the time and patience to have four new internal communications apps open during a home office day, which is also spread across homeschooling, cooking, and keeping sane. So choose one platform where all communication goes on and is simple to use.
Facebook’s Workplace was a natural choice for Httpool. It enables online collaboration, instant messaging, video conferencing, and news dissemination. Having used the platform for internal communications already before the pandemic, the company now relies on it more than ever. Over the past year, more than 300 Httpool staff members learned about health safety measures, advice for working from home, productivity tips, shared more than 100 product stories, news articles, participated in a Christmas intercultural exchange, and even hosted 5 live streams of discussions centered around women’s day. For many, Workplace is now the first platform to check when clocking in and the last to view before logging off for the day.
Communicate continuously and well
During an airplane flight, pilots are usually the ones who talk directly to the passengers during turbulence. They are the only ones who understand what is going on, and the passengers place the most confidence in their words. Similarly, during a period of high uncertainty, employees like to hear the facts from their leaders.
Empowering managers to interact more authentically and empathetically can be a significant game-changer in global organizations. Having leadership talk all staff through the economic situation at the beginning of the pandemic was highly appreciated in Httpool. And so were the subsequent messages driven by the Global Human Resources teams, assisted by the company’s communicators.
Constant and continuous communication helps employees relax and thus focus on doing their jobs rather than worrying about keeping them. At the same time, it helps boost their morale and equip them with the resources and methodologies they need to continue carrying out their missions in the new world. Fine-tuning the company direction to what each of our partners perceived as market realities, Httpool employees were quickly able to adapt approaches, and adjusted the value propositions, all while receiving constant support from the management.
Make it fun
Last but not least, make internal communications fun! Zoom fatigue is real, and unless the “extracurricular activity” sounds extremely engaging, people will not attend or feel obligated to. Poker nights, Virtual Christmas Parties with the Chief Revenue Officer DJ-ing live for the entire region, online Diwali Celebrations, Yoga and Fitness sessions, are what makes the difference. Offering a day off for all gamers in the company at the occasion of the launch of Cyberpunk, the most anticipated game in gaming history, and remotely organised health weeks were some of the exciting initiatives implemented by Httpool across our geographies.
In the second year of the pandemic, we have learned that digitalization was also propelled in internal communications for the companies who understood how to harness it. By connecting digitally, we now feel closer than ever, working together to create an absolute level playing field of opportunities for all employees regardless of their geographical location. The mental shift has happened; it is now up to us to make the most of it.