In brief: An internal communications program that is consistent, caring and emphasizes connection is the lynchpin to maintaining a strong team culture and productivity in a hybrid work environment.
In detail: According to Statistics Canada, more than two million Canadians had a hybrid work arrangement in August 2023, an increase of 1.7% over August 2022. It seems clear that hybrid work is here to stay. As much as employees may enjoy the flexibility however, employers often find it difficult to maintain a cohesive work culture and ensure productivity. A strong internal communications program can help.
Internal communications is an underappreciated tool in the communications toolkit yet in a hybrid environment, it can make the difference between your employees feeling part of a team vs being a disparate group of individual workers. In particular, an internal communications approach that follows the three Cs, can make a real difference.
- Stay Connected – Designate ‘connection days’. These could look like team video calls on Tuesdays, ‘Work From Office Wednesdays’ or lunch gatherings on Fridays –whatever you choose, do it thoughtfully, and communicate the benefits clearly and frequently. Connection comes from a predictable schedule that allows for shared experiences. Make sure you’re talking, writing and posting about those opportunities and the benefits of those experiences to the team.
- Stay Consistent – Internal communications is not just what management says or writes – it’s also how management behaves. Leaders in a hybrid environment are watched as closely as those in a fully in-office environment so any disconnect between what you say and how you act will, bit-by-bit, undermine your credibility. Hybrid work environments mean using a range of communications tools, from calls and emails to online group chats and Town Halls. After all that effort, it’s important to follow through and deliver on the programs you talk about through those channels; anything less is confused mixed messaging.
- Stay Concerned – Your employees are also parents, sons and daughters, siblings, and volunteers. Demonstrate your honest concern with who they are when they’re not working and watch the idea of ‘team’ come to life. Hybrid work may mean that you don’t see employees in person quite as often but communicating your genuine interest in how they’re managing reinforces a supportive team culture that transcends screens.
Internal communications – like everything that involves working with people – is as much art as science. Demonstrating consistent, caring connectedness at every level of your organization can help your team overcome the distance of hybrid work. Interested in learning more? McMillan Vantage is here to help. Contact us at email@example.com.