Strategically Innovating Internal Communications for your Business

Ericka Hatfield

Ericka Hatfield

Ericka Hatfield is currently the Vice President of Employee Communications at Cheer Partners. She supports and manages clients focused on their Internal Communications efforts centered on executive leadership and employee engagement.
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As we continue to live in what many consider to be the ‘new normal’, our ways of communicating with each other have evolved rapidly since 2020. We now approach year two of the global pandemic and if we have learned anything from this experience, it’s that there is much we can’t control. What we can control is how we disperse information to our employees and partners, along with the technology we choose to deploy those messages. Data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics, showed that approx­i­mate­ly three mil­lion peo­ple leave their companies every month.

Few of the reasons, outside of salary that make people leave their company are lack of belonging, feeling isolated, not receiving feedback or acknowledgement from their direct supervisor. Communication plays a significant role in ensuring that people stay with their organization and executives need to take notice of the importance internal communications has not only on their employee but their business. Many employers experienced the great resignation and if they don’t turn their focus to the reason why people leave this will continue to negatively impact their bottom line. Internal Communications can influence employee engagement through Human Resources, technology, and community experiences.

Onboarding and Human Resources

Leaders should take time to review and revamp employee communication, especially if it has been more than two years. Many policy standards and company cultures may have changed to accommodate new working environments as well as new commitments to social justice, mental health and other impactful shifts.  This begins with the onboarding process for new hires that is now either completely virtual or hybrid experience. Prior to the pandemic Glass­door found that pos­i­tive onboard­ing and train­ing expe­ri­ence can increase reten­tion by as much as 82%, meaning that hiring and communication are critical in setting the tone for new hires. This will require consistent review and updating of these materials and messaging on a consistent basis depending on the size and ability of the organization.

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As employees now have been entering the work force virtually (or from behind plexiglass), meeting your new colleagues organically or entering your new office, poses a challenge for communicators and HR professionals. Communicators now must create engaging and interactive virtual environments to capture even a fraction of the pre-Covid level of engagement. Human resources teams and communicators can work to be closely aligned to create positive employee experiences for not only new hires, but existing and tenured employees as well.

Technology Solutions

Now you may see companies engaging more with the offerings of platforms from gifs, emojis, virtual emotions, A/R, music, graphics and various chat features to help communicators create spaces of engagement and communications where often meeting fatigue has set in.

Part of the fatigue is due to the sheer volume of meetings, video calls, and emails. It is critical that communicators and communication teams streamline their messaging throughout every part of their business. This may mean enhancing back-off support not only with staff but resources that help to create hubs of information based on your business or industry. From creating the technology to drafting resources on how and when to use the technology communications is vital to any system rollout that employees have to utilize.

Qualtrics’s Glob­al Employ­ee Expe­ri­ence Trends Report discovered that employ­ees who are high­ly engaged in their work are 87% more like­ly to stay at their current job. Employee engagement is how, what, and when you communicate information to your employees. Intranet and portal communications are going to be essential for employers as more employees are remote and more businesses are expanding into global markets. Exploring these platforms will help centralize your information and resources and allow for your employees (despite their shift or location) to always know where to find urgent updates, HR materials, and safe space communities.

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Community Experiences

It is imperative that companies set up communities for their employees. As companies expand and shrink due to current climate creating safe spaces for employees is more important than ever. Employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups can offer employees a way to network and fellowship with colleagues that they may not get to normally. It can also offer a community of familiarity and comfort. As ERGs become customary practice employers will need to ensure effective communications around not only their purpose but how to access and interact within these spaces.

Supporting their programming, events, initiatives, and content will also be a significant role that communication plays in the effectiveness of their efforts to the organization and building the culture.

Importance of Internal Communication

Whether your company is going public, downsizing, or undergoing a tremendous amount of growth communicating with your employees about their future careers, professional development, and their fate at the organization is going to be a key driver in retention. Executive leadership needs to strive to be transparent as possible with changes and financials. Leadership should stay committed to the DEI promises that have been announced by almost every company across North America from 2020 – 2021 as not only are the employees watching but consumers are watching and publicly holding companies accountable. Consumers want to know if brands and companies are making commitments to their employees and as the world of internal and external becomes more intersected this will be critical part of hiring, retention, and aligning to company goals. Clear and concise communications should be prioritized and will be critical to business plans and goals for 2022 and beyond.

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Any organization experiencing challenges with communications, DEI commitments, crisis communications, employee engagement or want to expand their executive presence and thought leadership consider Cheer Partners to manage and support your internal communications needs. For more information, please visit www.cheerpartners.com.

 

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