The days of the weekly ‘headquarters newsletter’ are coming to an end. Employees feel no real obligation, or sense of interest in reading updates in this detached format - it often feels like it’s about a fictitious office they feel removed from in many ways. Worse yet, it often lacks authenticity, personalization, or any real human connection - few can warm up to a form letter!
Consider that much of the current workforce is living in 2 different environments - one foot is firmly planted in their home office, with all the daily distractions of remote life, and the other one’s dreaming of some real ‘water cooler’ banter that isn’t socially distanced. Many feel like they’re either living in their own heads or in some ‘gotcha’ reality show.
So, how can we create that level of cohesion, commonality, and intimacy amongst workers that are often spread about the city, the country, and the world?
Change it up. Embrace the unknown. Create a framework that fits the present.
Perhaps make it up as you go along. The key is to build authentic communications into your company culture. There is no wrong answer here.
Make it feel like the message comes from a real human being (it does)! Not staged or static. It can be an individual or collective voice that feels frustration and happiness, revels in accomplishment, and craves collaboration.
A powerful technique is to showcase that framework in a myriad of ways, to promote employee engagement and interest. Here are some examples:
Deliver it in multiple formats: live meetings, embedded video, q&a style.
Supply it more than once: short, deliberate snippets to focus on - presented multiple times a week.
Keep it light & fun - this will organically encourage employees to look forward to it, and not to dwell on the doom & gloom or uncertainty emphasized in most daily media.
Spotlight a department or employee, and ask: How are you getting on? What daily rituals bring you happiness? How do you balance having kids at home, or back in school? What brings you joy on the weekend? How do you ‘unplug’ and recharge? What has the pandemic taught you about yourself? What trip(s) are you most looking forward to taking?
Regardless of how you approach this, keep these points in mind:
All of these ideas and approaches bring a human element, and they infuse authenticity through intention, connection and spontaneity.
Not everything has to be structured, or filtered, or ‘on brand’.
Reach your workforce where they’re at - even if it's a scattered state of ‘what ifs’ much of the time. In fact, especially then.
Provide some humour, some reassurance, some facade free connection.
You may be surprised how much these techniques can feed innovation, productivity and loyalty.
All by often saying less, but meaning more.