Whatever your position in the company, you will not have all the answers and, with a policy of transparency, your employees will appreciate that. 

 
 

Certainty: the best perk you can offer your teams right now

Coffee machines, ping pong tables and free parking sound great, don’t they? But the world of work is a very different place from what it was in 2019. As we continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic, we need to offer our employees a slightly less sexy benefit:

Certainty.

While this encompasses job security as a whole, it also covers the fundamentals of job descriptions, which may have been affected post-pandemic. With uncertainty around customers, economic downturns and a stable return to the office, your employees may be asking about:

1. Their working hours
2. Rates of pay (with furlough considerations)
3. Access to benefits schemes
4. Client retention
5. Your future plans for the business.

This puts the pressure on you - or your internal comms teams - to reassure employees without simply telling them what they want to hear.
 

Why your internal comms need to be transparent

There are no two ways about it – employees appreciate honest managers. Lie to them and risk a demotivated workforce, or worse still, a slew of resignations. In times of crisis, employee retention is more important than ever.
 

Happy workforces are more productive

It’s no secret that a mass exodus leads to disillusioned workers. According to a study by the University of Oxford, happy workers are 13% more productive, leading to a more stable business future post-pandemic.
 

High turnover leads to higher costs

With added training, HR activity and lost working hours, replacing employees adds up to much higher costs. In fact, further analysis from Oxford suggests this figure can be as high as £30,000.
 

Your customers need assurance, too

If your turnover rates are high, your clients will have to face the churn of account managers who, again, need to be retrained and kept up to speed. This puts your clients in a position of uncertainty, and could even result in early contract terminations.

So, how can we focus on retention in an anything-but-normal situation?
 
As many of us continue to work from home and rely on video conferencing, our teams will doubtless feel fragmented. In a recent blog, Managing a Divided Workforce, employee engagement specialist Michelle Mook said: “Communication is everything. Do your best to reassure and make people feel valued.”

What does this mean in context? It means focusing on the assurances that we can give our employees, rather than those we can’t. When it comes to answering those five questions we’ve outlined above, keep these tips in mind:
 

Keep talking

Silence speaks volumes, so schedule regular communication to keep your teams abreast of what’s going on. Ideally, the answers to those key questions on pay, benefits and ongoing work should be answered by senior managers.
 

Find the balance

Again, we don’t want to home in on the negative here. Keep communications factual but make sure you include some light relief, too. It’s about getting the mix right of company updates and social conversation. Yes, sometimes there may be bad news to share, but make sure you share the good news, too. Celebrate wins and, whatever you do, keep your company culture alive.
 

Make a concerted effort to listen

When we say listen, we mean really listen. Offer opportunities for one-on-one chats, and remember to always ask for feedback. You need to know if your teams are crying out for more/different information or better communication.
 

Choose channels wisely

Look at your current internal communications. This could be your opportunity to revamp your internal newsletter and share wins, business updates and other company news. Don’t forget – your teams may be missing that ‘water cooler chat’. It doesn’t always have to be Zoom. Many of us are feeling tech fatigue right now, and a simple email can be just as effective.
 

Have fun!

Fun should be part of every workplace culture. Work hard to keep it alive. If you’re talking regularly to your team you’ll know what will float their boat, from quizzes or team challenges to charity events.
 

Honesty is the best policy

Whether it’s emotional support or simple admin, honesty is key for employee retention. You may require more of a ‘handover policy’ if you’re reallocating tasks to different staff members. Conversely, if you’re heading back into the office, your teams may appreciate a ‘re-onboarding strategy’ – giving you all time to focus and plan for the months ahead.
 

Celebrate the wins

Keep rewarding the little things. Even if you can’t offer all the perks you once could, feedback is one of the biggest motivators for better workplace performance. You can try methods such as:
 
  • Employee of the Month in your newsletter (with the promise of a prize later on!)
  • Thank yous for new client wins
  • Regular one-to-ones to focus on and reward personal development.
Download our internal comms guidesAbove all, don’t be too hard on yourself. Whatever your position in the company, you will not have all the answers and, with a policy of transparency, your employees will appreciate that. Your business has no doubt weathered storms in the past, and will have come a long way in the last 12 months, too. Hold your head high and keep talking for, as they say, this too shall pass.

For more advice on communicating during the pandemic, read our free guide. And if you’d like help with creative internal communication ideas and strategies, you know where we are.
 
    
 
The Partners Group

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