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The Future of Internal Communications Is Here: What’s Next for HR Leaders?

6 minute read

Last year, we saw the rise of the so-called ‘emergency culture’ which took HR leaders and employees from a state of panic to a state of constant alert. 

So how do companies successfully transition to the post-pandemic workplace?

“People are really looking for authority and information flow coming right from the top of the company,” said Steve Heywood, General Manager & CEO at Edelman, in a recent Speakap webinar about internal communications during times of crisis.

The fact is that employees want to be better informed and feel more involved. Motivation, engagement, productivity are all great bonuses that come after internal communication is set up and done right.

In this blog post, we’re sharing 5 key themes for HR leaders who want to level-up their internal communications and get ready for the challenges of the new workplace.

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Growing Importance on Remote & Non-desk Employees 

With almost 3.9 billion people in lockdown or under stay-at-home measures, working from home has officially become part of the new norm. According to Upwork, 41.8% of the American workforce continues to work remotely, and an estimated 22% of the workforce will still be working remotely by 2025.

One of the most common concerns for HR leaders managing remote and non-desk workforces is employee communication and productivity. To keep these workforces happy and engaged, organizations will rely on detailed internal communication strategies and centralized channels that help them reach everyone timely and effectively.

Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health Takes Center Stage

A shocking 45%-50% of young workers have reported a decline in their mental health during the pandemic. If this goes on too long, it can cause a significant decrease in people's psychological and emotional well-being; hence it's taking over the HR agenda.

Luckily, there are hundreds of solutions out there to solve this issue. From virtual office parties to organizing face-to-face meetups, leaders can find a way to fulfill their team's social needs. They can reach out on the spot with instant message updates and monitor employee happiness through polls and regular check-ins. 

Not only does this create a deeper bond with the workforce during tough times, but it also lets them know that leadership is there for them and they’re all in it together, which can go a long way.

The HR Professional Takes on a Heroic Role

The pandemic posed an unprecedented opportunity for HR leaders who had to transform from administration experts to culture champions almost overnight. 

Communication strategy has become an integral part of successful HR departments that have officially acquired a seat at the decision-making table. HR's responsibilities now touch on a wide range of activities, from internal communications to maintaining workplace culture and morale.

"When you communicate bad news, empathy plays a major role in communicating with your employees" 

Chris Palermo, Internal Communications & Employee Engagement Expert

"As a communications specialist, you must stay connected with your employees and make sure that you know what they want to hear and how" 

Annelies de Boer, CHRO at Speakap

Never in the past have organizations expected so much from HR. In the new workplace, HR leaders are expected to prepare their organizations, not for the next crisis – but any crisis, and at the same time act as the ultimate gatekeepers for the company values and employee wellbeing.

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Upgrade in Workplace Technology Systems 

During the pandemic, organizations had to implement drastic changes to achieve better collaboration, enhanced training, remote connectivity, and security. 

The new workplace is digital. No matter where employees are located, their savviness, or the devices used, they’re looking for instant and relevant communication that gives them the right information at the right time. 

Technology is the only way to achieve this, and HR executives are actively promoting this digital transformation through employee communication tools that guarantee business continuity in the workplace of the future. 

Thankfully, a plethora of customizable, mobile-friendly options are available to help organizations centralize their internal communications and give employees easy access to the latest updates, onboarding and training materials, payroll, and satisfaction surveys, all in one place.

Greater Focus on Employee Experience

If there's one thing CHROs learned from this pandemic, it's that employees must be prioritized without compromise. And prioritizing means using every means possible to cover their needs before, during, and even after working hours. 

For today's employees, if it's not personal, it's not useful. From onboarding to training and sharing audience-specific information, employees are only interested in things that matter to them. The employee experience is a journey built step by step.

HR professionals are becoming more data-driven and start using more detailed analytics tools to track adoption, productivity, engagement, and satisfaction. This helps them prove the impact of internal communications on the business and at the same time track possible issues before they become real problems.

Conclusion

In internal communications, establishing norms of working promotes inclusion and engagement for employees especially now that more and more people work remotely or non-desk.

The pandemic has left companies reeling, and we’ve learned a lot of important lessons for the future. It’s only natural for employees to crave meaningful and authentic communication from leadership and for HR leaders to look for ways to offer faster, more effective internal communications in the new workplace.

 

If you found this article useful, you might want to check the Top 10 Internal Communications Lessons from the First COVID-19 Shutdown or our Infographic about Key Learnings Through the Eyes of HR Leaders.

Rita is a Product and Marketing Copywriter at Speakap. She has a proven track record of success driving results for SaaS companies and continually enriches our content channels with her wide range of expertise.

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