The Corona virus has up-ened our daily lives and disrupted businesses around the world. Covid has permeated every aspect of our daily lives. From how we live and work, to how we engage with the world, and how we will visualize a new future. Business as usual is no longer the status-quo and effective crisis management is essential for every business and organization in the recovery process.
The first goal which should always be safety, should be followed by a solid response plan that guides employers and supports employees and all stakeholder’s well-being. Meanwhile, responses need to successfully transitioning the workforce from brick and mortar to necessary home-based virtual offices.
Smart companies recognize that the only constant is change. The “new company” must have the ability to pivot swiftly, responsibly, and effectively. Which are all qualities of good management. Crisis is frightening and destabilizing. It makes us feel anxious and out of control, but at the same time, a crisis can inspire incredible creative problem solving and growth opportunities. I believe it is no coincidence COVID has happened in 2020 and with covid comes the new 20/20 vision we can adopt and adapt for our companies and lives.
Join us in this 4-part article series that will cover key elements in regrouping and rebooting personally and your team:
● Part 1 – Communication strategies that fortify operational continuity, employee morale, productive online collaboration, and stop confusion
● Part 2 – Best practices for virtual office etiquette and virtual team tips that will inspire social connection and reinforce collaboration as the key to recovery
● Part 3 – Inspiring business design thinking, business model transformation and creative problem-solving to take advantage and see “crisis as opportunity”
● Part 4 – Managing stress,anxiety, and depression for you and your team in times of uncertainty & Personal Emotional first-aid and wellness practices that support business stabilization, self-care, and family life
As many companies and organizations were abruptly forced into a shift to a remote workforce, many leaders are still unclear as they try to tread these uncharted waters. Especially if your company or organization has never engaged in remote work. The sudden forced transition of co-located teams to a fully remote approach can reduce synergy, increase inefficiency and disrupt communication. For those who were never technically savvy to begin with or whose jobs are hard to translate into remote work, It can be confusing and feel down right impossible to just get it together. So how where can you begin to cut through the confusion?
Before you can create or improve your communication strategies, you have to understand what you are doing right now. Many small businesses and organizations never think about a formal communications strategy. It does not need to be complicated. What does your current communications look like (emails, social posts, internal communications with your team)? What are your current goals and objectives when it comes to these things?
Perform audits of the communication channels you are using to connect with customers, teams and employees. This might include email, chat, memos, texts, town hall meetings, one-on-ones, training, presentations, onboarding processes, employee documents and newsletters, as well as collaboration tools or platforms such as google, zoom, slack etc.
The following are other common types of communication channel.
How effective have these methods been? What could be improved or added?
As you review your strategy, consider how you will measure success. These could include employee engagement stats, feedback, and employee adoption of communication tools. Just be sure to have frequent reviews of what is working and what is not.
Open communication encourages knowledge sharing, collaboration, and feedback. Foster communication by adopting communication channels that make it easy for employees to connect and share. Revisiting the norms and ground rules for interaction Virtual whiteboards, instant chat, and videoconferencing tools can be beneficial to collaborative exercises and promote participation. Keep in mind they can also require teams to reconsider existing norms and agreed-upon ground rules. If you don’t have formal rules, now is the time to think about it. Most important to open communication for a team can be boiled down to one word, transparency. Consider not just using a top down communication approach.
Transparency creates trust between employees and employers and improves engagement and performance. Without transparency from leadership, employees may feel uncertain about the future and unclear about their roles and the reasoning behind key strategies or decisions.So how do you go about tackling transparency?
Internal communication shouldn’t just be top-down. Get feedback from your employees and act on it. Feedback is a powerful tool for understanding your employees’ experiences and point of view. In light of open communication, Ask employees for feedback. It’s a simple but effective way to give your employees a voice. According to inc, employees who feel their voice is heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Build feedback loops into your regular operations. Make giving and receiving feedback routine and it will become a natural part of your culture. As you incorporate feedback into your communication strategy, be sure to outline the standards and expectations for feedback. As you develop these new standards, ask yourself the following questions:
Answering these questions will help you establish clear expectations and help your managers and employees give and receive feedback effectively. Investment in authenticity, courage, empathy, compassion, and humor as valuable assets to build a more resilient business team that ultimately delivers a greater ROI.
The human brain processes visual information faster and more easily than the written word. Visualizing data and information can clarify and translate complex ideas, reduce misunderstanding and miscommunication, and help people make connections between data and processes more easily. So using visuals in both internal and external communications can be very useful and boost understanding.
Some challenges may require team members to adjust to the tools themselves: team members should be generous with one another in offering practical support on navigating virtual tools—such as help formatting or recording presentations or informing the host about any technology issues. Teams need to get up to speed quickly on visual management and virtual whiteboarding and tailor established ceremonies into standard virtual routines. New ground rules for communication may be needed to keep people who are interacting virtually from talking over one another. For example, something as simple as asking each speaker to “pass the ball” by calling out the next presenter by name can help during a webinar or meeting.
Have a designated technology champion or hire someone to “tech tutor” members of your organization that are having a hard time. Don’t leave it to individuals to figure out on their own. 30 minutes of QA for a beginner on certain softwares and technologies can do wonders for their confidence and getting the help they need to be more a more productive member of a remote team.
By reviewing your current communications strategy, establishing communications best practices, using visuals, leveraging the right technologies and designating tech champions, you will be on your way to clearing some of the fog that COVID has dropped on us. Hopefully by thinking through and implementing a few of these ideas, your organization will be on its way to increasing efficiency and reboot your clear communications.
Be sure to read next month’s part in our 4 part series, Best practices for virtual office etiquette and virtual team collaboration tips, as a key to recovery for your team.