The last few months of lockdown, uncertainty and working from home will have left many of your staff feeling adrift. No matter how many zoom meetings, telephone conferences or remote catch-ups you have had, there is a very strong chance that the majority of your workforce will be feeling rudderless, disconnected from your core values, out of the loop. This is not anyone’s fault. It doesn’t mean your communications strategy has failed. It is widespread and a natural consequence of a worldwide shutdown. The question is, how do organisations overcome it?
Your staff are your most valuable resource
Of course, there will be an initial stage of welcoming staff back into the fold, bringing them back together. The importance of socialisation and connecting with colleagues cannot be over-stressed. It is one of the things people have missed most and now value more highly than ever before. You then need to make them feel part of the family once more. They are, after all, your most valuable resource and an essential part of your business.
Core values inspire belief and trust
Key to achieving this will be to re-connect everyone in the organisation back to the core of the business, its values and its culture. These are your strengths. They are what makes your organisation what it is. They dictate how things are done and why. Everything you do should be aligned to these values. Your core values build trust, winning hearts and minds not only among your customer base but, equally importantly, among your people. It is imperative that you link your existing staff – and any new starters – back to the values of the business.
What are your core values?
Some organisations may find that their values and priorities have shifted slightly in response to the very different way we have had to go about our daily lives. We spoke recently about the strengthened sense of community brought about by the COVID lockdown. So many businesses stepped up to help out and be part of a bigger society, and they have seen their credibility soar because of it. It may have highlighted attitudes and behaviours that are worth carrying forward. It is always a good idea to re-visit your core values from time to time, and recent changes in the public and corporate mindset make this a perfect time to do so.
Effective communication is not as easy as it sounds
So, you have specified your core values, you have re-built your strategy around them, now you need to get your workforce back on board. We are still surprised by the amount of unnecessary, unintelligible corporate jargon out there. It is a guaranteed way to lose the attention and goodwill of your audience. Communicate clearly and succinctly with your staff. Explain what your values and beliefs are, what you want to achieve, what part they will play in that, and how you want people to behave. Make your employees feel part of the process by encouraging input and ideas from them. Reignite their enthusiasm, don’t bore them to death.
Offline communications help build teams
At Big Picture People, we believe very strongly in clear, effective, face-to-face communication, connecting people at all levels within an organisation, from bottom to top. Our offline, visual communication tools, learning maps and games use socialisation and an informal environment as a way to win the hearts and minds of every employee. Effective communication in the workplace is vital but so often hampered by a perceived Us-and-Them culture. Learning maps and communication games offer a level playing field, encouraging socialisation and input from every member of staff, and inspiring belief in a company’s values.
Renew their sense of belonging
Over the next few weeks and months, as people return to work, it is essential that they feel re-connected – to society, to their colleagues and to their workplace. Reinforcing your company beliefs and values will help to create that all-important sense of belonging and a shared vision of the future, both corporate and individual.
Keep up the good work
And when everything has returned to normal? Linking your people back to your core values should not be thought of as a one-off, post-crisis necessity. It should be part of the everyday running of the organisation, and under regular review. Companies should aim to constantly re-align their activities, re-connect their workforce with the company values and reinforce those values in everything they do.
Find out more about the solutions we offer to facilitate effective communication in the workplace.