Employee communication

HR departments now, more than ever, have a magnifying glass upon them in terms of how they protect the physical and mental wellbeing of employees.

During an unusual time like this, it is essential that employees feel they are kept in-the-loop with their leadership, as well as each other. The key to this is constant, consistent and honest communication.

Now is the time for organisations to prove themselves to their most valuable asset, their people.

At Incremental, our People team (our HR function) has been diligently working to provide open lines of communication for all our Incrementalists. Leveraging our values, Incremental has put into place four key strategies to successfully manage employee communications amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Always a better way

Strategy – provide collaboration tools to keep Incrementalists engaged and productive

It’s essential to have the tools to collaborate with colleagues when you are in the office, but even more so when teams are working apart. Organisations must provide appropriate tools to allow employees to continue to communicate and work collectively on joint projects with minimal disruption.

Luckily, at Incremental, we are ‘digital by default’ and were early adopters of Microsoft Teams. Our Incrementalist already used Teams to collaborate while in the office and between our multiple offices, so switching to remote working was relatively easy for us.

For fun, we have regular virtual coffee breaks to replace the ad hoc coffee machine catch-ups and weekly group chats where different teams combine to share stories and updates, as well as baking recipes! Microsoft Teams is keeping us all connected and giving us the ability to continue to collaborate.

Open by nature, share by default

Strategy – candid and consistent employee communication

Right now, regular employee communication has never been more critical. Sending a weekly email does not suffice when dealing with unprecedented circumstances. Providing clear and factual communication and guidance across all offices is of the utmost importance.

To keep all Incrementalists informed, each week, our leadership team hosts a weekly ‘all-hands’ company update. The weekly update provides a forum for Incrementalists to hear the latest news and the thoughts of the leadership team.

Scheduling a weekly online ‘all-hands’ and allowing for Q&A, offers employees opportunities to express their concerns and ask questions. It’s crucial that organisations are honest in sharing what they know or what they don’t yet know, but are working to understand.

We also have a Team channel specifically for Covid-19 related company updates. This gives us access to up-to-the-minute company information, and Incrementalists can also share updates.

Listen, understand, be understood

Strategy – empathy and understanding

As well as ensuring you are communicating what you need, the delivery of this is also essential. The uncertainty over coronavirus, worrying about family and friends, and concerns over job security all create a fragile mix of emotions. Employees will have good days and bad days and perhaps be more emotional than usual. The tone of your updates must be sincere and caring. Reassure employees that their safety is a top priority, the situation is being closely monitored and remind them of the support available to them.

Keep it simple

Strategy – create flexible working guidelines that are simple and helpful

Coronavirus has created a lot of emotional disruption from shifting overnight to remote working, missing family and friends and not being able to socialise. For many, they have the additional burden of homeschooling.
Having young kids around and trying to work remotely, don’t often go hand-in-hand. This is an added pressure for employees. In light of this, Incremental made it clear, very early on, that all employees with young families had the flexibility to work hours that suited them.

Taking unforeseen pressure off employees is a great way to instil trust. The way an organisation reacts to these unprecedented circumstances and how they treat their employees shows its true principles. Creating flexible guidelines that are simple and helpful and that support employee wellbeing goes a long way.

In summary

How HR and leadership teams communicate during times like these, has never been more critical. Looking after your employee’s wellbeing now will pay dividends in maintaining skilled and happy talent.

For further information, download our guide, Dynamics 365 Human Resources, which details all the key functionality of Dynamics 365 Human Resources that will help your employees feel informed, connected and supported. Alternatively, visit our business continuity hub for all our latest remote working support resources.