Over the past year, the COVID-19 nightmare has brought many challenges to the global economy. But every cloud has a silver lining. Companies should utilize this opportunity to strengthen solidarity between internal departments, and develop an efficient remote working environment. These actions not only reinforce employee loyalty but also make a good impression on other stakeholders. Internal communication, accordingly, will become a powerful tool for companies to optimize the media in the current context.
Apart from its usual contribution to the development of a business, internal communication also bring many significant benefits to help employees adjust to the new normal and address other problems stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
1. Design a channel for updated information and feedback
COVID-19 has taken the spotlight on all media channels. It is also a perfect storm for fraudsters, who intend to spread fake rumors and cause a state of panic among the general public. Therefore, internal communication should provide accurate statistics about the pandemic and other updates on the company’s operation. By doing so, employees can rely on the company’s sources and continue to deliver their work with peace of mind.
Vietnam Airlines is a typical example. On its intranet – Spirit, there is a category called “Coronavirus.” This is where people update their health status and share real-life stories about the flying crew’s journey to fight the pandemic on every flight. These efforts received positive feedback from readers and successfully expressed the humanist element in their brand image.
In case of emergency, employers need to provide policy responses to the pandemic, and support their subordinates via email or SMS. In return, employees can express their difficulties and questions to employers so that they are promptly resolved.
2. Create favorable environment for remote working
How would you feel if your internet connectivity is so weak that the important meeting with your client is constantly interrupted? As a result, both parties could not exchange the necessary information, or even have unnecessary misunderstandings. These incidents are common and have severely affected employees’ work performance during remote working periods.
A research article on Harvard Business Review claims that telecommunications and internet infrastructure in Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, or India aren’t highly regarded by experts. The reason is the high demand for internet access during the day overloaded the network, leading to disrupted connectivity. Then, how to sustain effective work performance from afar?
Firstly, employers need to discover the network problems that employees are facing and equip them with the necessary technical devices, such as 3G/4G data packages or company laptops.
In addition, task management applications, such as G Suite, Microsoft Team, or Slack, allow group members to gather ideas after meetings and share them in a mutual working space. This way, every member can have access to internal data as well as stay up-to-date with work requirements from superiors. Moreover, internal social platforms are great tools to connect members for team discussion and ensure that the work procedure runs smoothly.
3. Engage and stay in touch with colleagues over distances
What could be better than not worrying about rushing to the office at an early hour? During work from home, you can just wake up to your computer. Seems like every office worker’s dream has come true. However, not everyone feels the same, especially those who are more comfortable having face-to-face conversations with their colleagues at work. When the work-from-home framework is being applied, all daily interactions now can only occur through a small screen.
In a research by Dell Technologies, 41% of the participants say that lack of direct interaction is their top challenge, 39% find it difficult to learn how to use virtual tools without guidance. Indeed, the absence of social interaction for an extended period makes employees stressed or unmotivated in working.
Internal communication does not merely convey messages from upper-level managers to employees. It also maintains the connection between colleagues, ensuring a friendly and comfortable working culture despite geographical distance. By interacting on social platforms, employees can alleviate their solitude by interacting and sharing thoughts and ideas with colleagues and supporting each other at work.
4. Boost Employee Motivation In Time Of Crisis
Facing the aftermath of COVID-19, many businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy and their employees are worried about the prospect of unemployment. To overcome this crisis, cooperation between company leaders and internal departments is critical. And it is time for internal communications to step in and maximize its role.
For example, EloQ Communications recently posted EloQ’s moment to share our members’ thoughts on the first week of working remotely. Some people quickly adapted, while others are still getting used to the new environment. Most importantly, these sharings help our members feel less lonely and motivated to work while knowing that colleagues are still around.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought both financial difficulties for businesses and mental burden for all employees who are working from home. They are sensitive due to being over-exposed to Coronavirus news and feel anxious about the government’s response plans. Low morale will lead to reduced work productivity. Hence, sending motivational messages or cheering them up is necessary to reassure them and motivate the team to work harder together.” shared Dr. Clāra Ly-Le, Managing Director of EloQ Communication.
Internal communication has proven to support businesses and employees themselves, especially in adapting to new changes. With an effective internal communication plan, firms can maintain stable operation processes. Conversely, employees also feel more secure when working from home. In the future, the role of internal communication activities will be further expanded and is expected to become an innovative trend that brings many valid values to businesses.
The author Dinh Pho is an Internal Branding Intern at EloQ Communications. Dinh is pursuing her bachelor degree at Ton Duc Thang University, majoring in Marketing.