FINDING THE ‘GOLDILOCKS ZONE' OF HYBRID WORK
How we operate in the workplace has seen a transformation in recent years. Lottie Bazley, senior strategic internal communications adviser at Staffbase, explores the art to getting internal communications just right.
The pandemic has forever changed the way in which people work, accelerating flexible and hybrid working styles. While 42% of UK business leaders feel implementing hybrid working has led to greater productivity levels, it has also brought new challenges.
The advent of hybrid working has provided several advantages, including access to a wider pool of talent amid ongoing skills shortages, cost savings on operations, and a more adaptable work environment. On the flip side, employees might find it more difficult to form connections and work collaboratively with their colleagues. This can also lead to missed opportunities for professional development.
As a result, implementing hybrid working today is not a simple task. It requires establishing clear guidelines, taking into consideration the diverse needs of the workforce, and ensuring prompt communication. Against this backdrop, internal communicators (ICs) need to work closely with leaders more than ever. It is therefore not surprising that recent Staffbase research found that 76% of ICs feel valued within their organisations post-pandemic.
Here are some key tactics for businesses looking to actively improve their internal communications strategies to ensure a smooth hybrid working environment, boost employee engagement and, ultimately, to build organisational resilience.
Tailoring approach to workers’ needs
An informed and engaged workforce in a hybrid working environment can’t be achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach. It is important to understand that every employee has their own ideas, expectations, and most importantly, fears and doubts in the current economic climate. Recognising employees’ concerns is an essential step to finding what style of communication works best for the workforce.
One way to gauge how employees are feeling is through conducting staff surveys. Once a survey is complete, positive and negative feedback from the workforce should be responded to in a timely manner, along with actionable next steps if necessary. The information gathered from these surveys can also be used for future decision-making by the company’s C-suite leaders and HR teams. It also provides ICs with the capability to quantify issues, determine underlying causes and put in place effective solutions.
Bridging the gap
Since the pandemic, digital communication has become the backbone of effective internal comms strategies as a key tool to connect the workforce. Hence, it comes as no surprise that in a functioning hybrid working environment, a multi-channel approach is key.
For example, setting up a communication channel in Microsoft Teams or introducing an employee app can be a valuable tool for reaching workers whilst working from home. Content such as corporate news updates and social channels, tailored to each employee, can help to promote a feeling of alignment within teams and the wider company. Similarly, recognising members for their hard work by sharing shout-outs online, will ensure employees feel valued even when working remotely.
The key to the Goldilocks zone
The pandemic has dramatically transformed the way we work, proving that hybrid work is a feasible option for many businesses. To achieve success, ICs and business leaders must foster effective two-way communication with their workforce. This will help to maintain high levels of employee engagement - even when working remotely - and quickly address any arising concerns.
This, combined with the right technology solutions, will enable businesses to quickly adapt to unexpected events and, most importantly, retain their top talent.
When done just right, businesses will find the Goldilocks zone of hybrid work, resulting in a happier and better-informed workforce. This, in turn, will foster a thriving and a more resilient work culture.