There will be very few organisations to have come through the Covid crisis completely unchanged or unscathed. The ones who will emerge stronger will be the ones who understand this, address the challenges it brings, and embrace the positive changes to the organisation’s “new Big Picture”. It would be very unwise to bury our heads in the sand and imagine that everything will go back to the way it was overnight. Or ever.
So, what will your organisation’s new Big Picture look like?
Separate research studies carried out by Gallup, Perceptive and Otago University New Zealand suggest that, where people have been able to work productively from home, they would prefer a blended approach to work in the future. This will mean spending important time in the office but with the flexibility to work from home, with the benefits this entails. Forward-thinking employers are already discussing how to accommodate different working practices in order to retain their best staff. Every organisation will need to make decisions quickly to define their new normal. Only then will they be able to move forward in a way that satisfies all parties.
How will you communicate this to your staff?
Now is the perfect time to bring everyone back together. Having felt disconnected and rudderless throughout the crisis, your staff will now be looking to the organisation for clear guidance and direction. Communications need to be simple, unambiguous and easy to understand at all levels. Establish channels of communication that keep everyone connected and up to date, whether they are on-site or working remotely. Regular, morning huddles or end-of-week catch-ups keep staff informed and co-ordinated. Only you can decide whether these should be face-to-face, online or a combination of the two. Consider having one or two specific days in a week when everyone should be on site, and arrange all critical, face-to-face meetings on those days.
Online or face-to-face?
We often appreciate things far more when they are missing. One thing working from home has taught us is the importance of real human interaction. Facial expressions and body language are difficult to gauge in a video meeting. Normal, everyday conversations in the corridor or at the coffee machine spark new ideas, innovation, creativity and problem solving. Even if your employees have worked efficiently and productively from home, the human element of working life should never be underestimated. This is why most of us will still need a certain amount of time in the office, in the company of colleagues, no matter how productive we have proved ourselves to be.
How will you inspire them with a renewed sense of direction and purpose?
Many organisations will be returning to work with a reduced workforce. Even if you have been lucky enough to retain your staff, you still need to reassure them that the organisation remains strong. Your workforce have endured months of uncertainty. What they need now is a sense of stability and optimism going forward. You need to let them know that they are still valued. You need to re-unite them as a team with the same aspirations and goals for the future. First of all, you probably need to remind everyone what these goals are. Then explain what part each of your employees will play and how you will support them along the way. Don’t forget the importance of the personal touch. Share uplifting messages, celebrate birthdays and reinforce team spirit by recognising individual and group achievements.
How will you re-connect them to your values, and how have these values shifted?
Your core values define your organisation. They build trust and create a sense of belonging. During periods of upheaval, they may shift as we adapt to change. You need to be clear just how and why your values have changed. Then it is essential that you communicate existing and new values to your staff to re-align them behind the brand, reinforce what you expect from them and bring a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm. Recognition is important so make sure you showcase those individuals or groups who exemplify your core values.
How will you make sure this process is not just a broadcast?
Effective communication in the workplace should be inclusive. It is not a one-way flow of instructions or edicts. It is circular; a loop of information, feedback, listening and actions. When you have explained your core values, goals and expectations, encourage input and ideas from every level of your organisation. Very often, people on the ground may see different or improved ways of doing things but will not speak up if they do not feel that their opinion will be valued or even heard. Organisations who do not listen are missing out on a very fertile source of ideas and inspiration.
Your Big Picture overview
All of this gives a great deal to think about. At The Big Picture People, we are uniquely qualified to help organisations define and develop their post-pandemic message, curating it into a powerful Big Picture overview for you to use as a centrepiece to your internal communications. We create clear, effective, visual communication tools. Our learning maps and games give your whole workforce a visual summary of your values, aims and direction. It is your North Star, if you like, a constant guide for all to see and follow. Our visual communications are easy to understand, and encourage conversation, exploration and a circular communication loop.
How would a Big Picture learning map work for your organisation? We design bespoke learning tools for large, multi-faceted organisations around the world so every solution is unique. Each one starts with a chat about your objectives and a free consultation. Give us a call or drop us a line and find out how it could work for you.