“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”
— Abraham Lincoln
Internal communication has become vital for connecting remote teams and helping preserve employee morale and workplace culture. Organizations are increasingly turning to video, email and social media platforms to communicate with employees. Leaders are putting their internal communication ahead of external and other marketing communications because they know their people are the key to surviving this global crisis.
Our employees fuel our organizations. Lincoln’s words hold true today – given the facts, our people can be depended on to move us through any crisis and toward the future.
So how can you improve your internal communications to better serve your employees, and in turn, your business?
Create a mix of informative and inspiring content.
Communicating factual information is only half of the job of today’s leaders. Businesses that are maintaining culture in this environment are the ones communicating early and often with important information, as well as finding opportunities to connect with their teams in new ways to inspire them and show leadership.
Address their issues, not just yours.
“When am I going back?” “What will it look like?” “What’s my value?”… These are the questions on employees’ minds today as they continue to search for meaning and contentment amid a new reality. Address these questions through your internal communications efforts consistently and respectfully, and the results will be significant.
Let your people SEE you.
Short videos from leadership, even recorded on mobile phones, is an authentic and transparent way to communicate now and in the months that follow. Don’t let technology intimidate you, or your typically high standards stand in the way of authentic communication with your employees. Show your courageous leadership through short, simple videos. Recently, Franco helped a client CEO address her workforce on International Day of Families. She shot an at-home video, following Franco’s simple tips. The video conveyed authentic leadership, empathy and inspiration, and performed very well with employees on Facebook.
When Airbnb recently announced layoffs, CEO Brian Chesky delivered an empathetic and transparent message to employees. The 3,300-word letter included details on the company’s financials and explained how the company made the decision to do layoffs. The letter ended with a message to the heart of employees…
- To those of you staying, one of the most important ways we can honor those who are leaving is for them to know that their contributions mattered, and that they will always be part of Airbnb’s story. I am confident their work will live on, just like this mission will live on.
- To those leaving Airbnb, I am truly sorry. Please know this is not your fault. The world will never stop seeking the qualities and talents that you brought to Airbnb … that helped make Airbnb. I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing them with us.
Stick with it.
It’s likely your employees have been your first communications priority since the mid-March COVID-19 crisis hit. But consider how you’ll give them the same attention when your business environment heats back up. Great leaders will keep their employees in that “first priority” position. And winning organizations will fund and measure the internal communications function with the commitment it deserves.
Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, and especially now, we’ve worked closely with business leaders to help them develop and enhance internal communications programs. If you need support with your internal comms, please reach out to me via email.
Tina Kozak is Franco’s president. Connect with her on LinkedIn.
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