Re-Imagined Communication for your business in the COVID-19 Era

by Rick Farrow, CIO at Nuclear Decommissioning Authority

Keeping our businesses connected has been a huge challenge for many over the past 18 months.

COVID-19 has caused a significant shift to remote working. This has prompted many organisations to deploy tools such as TEAMS and Zoom rapidly, but has often resulted in uneven adoption of their innovative features.

Rapid deployment is often, understandably, coupled with gaps in employee understanding. Training to consider changes to working patters and behaviours, to suit our new capabilities is often addressed in an ad hoc fashion when working at pace.

To assist in a 'revisit' of your communication capabilities and to ensure your users are getting the most out of your investment consider the following points:

Tell a Story...

There needs to be a story for employees to rally around.

While broad-based information is effective for raising generalised awareness of issues or topics, it often fails to motivate employees to work in new ways.

Stories improve contextualised communications and calls to action by creating a journey that workers can identify with.

Rather than broadcasting communications across the workforce, crafting stories for specific groups of employees helps foster better understanding and promote emotional and psychological attachment to better working practices.

Encourage Community Support...

It’s critical that digital workplace and collaboration communications avoid being perceived as “feel good” news. If that is the perception, employees will dismiss the effort and rely on informal gossip networks. Communications about new ways of collaborating and new tools should include reports of progress, as well as the setbacks that invariably come up. Working with these groups to embed better ways if working to fit their patters, communicating actual progress is critical.

Promote Good Etiquette...

Participating and contributing in chat-based environments in a business context is a relatively new work function for many. Most colleagues will only have experience with group messaging in their personal lives through various social media and messaging tools. One of the consistently overlooked attributes of effective adoption has been “etiquette.” As employees learn, apply and fine-tune their skills using a new tool, they often make mistakes when it comes to norms and behaviours. Collaboration etiquette takes time for individuals and groups to agree on, but applied properly with guidance can save a lot of time and frustration. I suggest a 'One-Pager' with key elements pertinent to your business communications system/styles.