Improving communication in the workplace: what can we learn from the lockdown?

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Last year many shops, restaurants, and hotels closed their doors unexpectedly. Frontline employees who commonly used to be the face of the organization were suddenly forced to remain at home for a long period. How does good internal communication ensure that your employees remain connected and engaged in uncertain times? And that they are entirely up-to-date in case the doors open again?

The definition of internal communication 

Internal communication consists of any form of information exchange within your organization. So not only important guidelines and news from higher up but also mutual communication between employees and departments. So basically, everything that is important for your employees to know. Typical internal communication tools are emails, newsletters, intranet, Whatsapp, a Facebook group, or an internal communication platform.

The importance of good communication in the workplace 

Good communication in the workplace ensures that your employees feel engaged in your organization. In this way, they become enthusiastic ambassadors of your brand who enjoy their work and radiate that to the customer or guest. And that indeed pays off: research shows that high employee engagement leads to more productivity, higher turnover, and lower staff turnover.

Doors shut: what to do? 6 tips for effective communication 

When your store doors have to close unexpectedly for a longer period, sharing company information and news among your employees is more important than ever. By doing so, you keep them engaged and up to date with relevant information, as well as keep their strong bond alive.

Tip 1: Optimize your communication channels 

During the lockdown, many organizations chose to keep their staff informed via mail, intranet, and/or a group chat on Whatsapp. Although these may have seemed helpful, those channels are not designed to keep a large group of employees engaged and informed for a more extended period. For instance, there is mainly one-way traffic on an intranet page, and you hardly have any options for videos or interactive tools. And we probably don’t need to tell you how annoying it is to be added to yet another WhatsApp group filled with spammy messages. Email updates are also not an option: not every frontline employee has a business email address. Secondly, e-mails are often way too wordy and confusing to communicate effectively.

An internal communication platform would be a more suitable solution. And preferably one that works on a smartphone, tablet, and laptop, wherever and whenever you want. Such a platform brings together different communication channels and makes your entire information flow effective and clear. It gives you many more tools and digital possibilities to maintain contact with your employees than an intranet page or app. Communication can be targeted; this way, you ensure that everyone is always aware of the information that concerns them through the most convenient way.

Tip 2: Keep your employees up to date with important information 

The past year has shown that a lot can suddenly change when it comes to legislation and regulations. Think, for example, of the mandatory distance, use of mouth masks and hand sanitizer, the maximum number of people you can let in, and checking proof of vaccination. It can be pretty overwhelming for employees, especially if they’ve just been allowed to return to work after a long time.

Therefore, during lockdown periods, you have to continuously keep your employees up to date on relevant current events and new guidelines so that they do not have to search for information themselves. This way, they will see you as a reliable information provider who is genuinely informed. And don’t limit yourself to text; it’s better to add graphics, interactive tools, quizzes, and e-learning that invite learning. For example, with an internal communication platform, it is possible to pin the most important announcements at the top of a timeline. So everyone always sees information that is important for them to know.

Tip 3: Connect with your employees

Frontline employees tend to bond with each other quickly. If they suddenly stop working together for an extended period, it would be a shame if that affected their working relationship. Therefore, make sure there are enough options that facilitate connection with each other. Think of an internal communication platform with personal timelines, chat options, and a birthday calendar.

In addition, make them aware of the bigger picture, show them business results, statistics, news, positive reviews, and what business goals the organization is working on. Especially if employees are at home and not in contact with your brand daily, this way of connecting is very valuable.

Tip 4: Organize games and challenges 

Organizing online games, quizzes, and challenges improve team spirit and create a healthy dose of rivalry between employees, departments, and locations. Challenge team members by tapping into viral videos and award prizes to the best entry. Moreover, through gamification, you encourage employees to learn more about relevant things to their work in an interactive and fun way. For example, a quiz about who knows the most about wine or a test about the most common questions from a customer.

Extra tip: Learn how the fashion brand H&M shares how they managed to connect with their employees via playful challenges during the lockdown [watch the video]

Tip 5: Doors open? Focus on effective onboarding 

Hooray, the doors can finally open again! There is a good chance that you will soon need new staff to deal with the crowds. A user-friendly app with an onboarding module helps you to guide new employees before, during, and after the first day of work with a personal and, above all, interactive onboarding. In doing so, you can make recruits enthusiastic about your organization even in turbulent times, and inform them about what they need to know to do their job well. It pays off: tailored and well organized onboarding ensures that new employees are more productive, creative and satisfied, and want to work for your company for much longer.

Tip 6: Collect feedback from people on the floor

It may sound a bit like a cliché, but to measure is to know. As soon as the doors of your company can open again, it is essential to collect feedback from your frontline employees. After all, they have the most contact with your customer and can indicate at an early stage what is going well and what is not. 

Improve your internal communication with Oneteam 

Do you want to keep your employees connected and engaged, even in challenging times? Choose Oneteam’s user-friendly platform for all your internal communication.

Watch the video below and discover how Oneteam can help you.

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