Top 3 Takeaways from Employee Experience & Communications: Digital Engagement Strategies
There has been a seismic shift in the workforce in early 2020. Most office buildings have partially closed. A majority of employees are now working from out of their homes, and thoughts are trending towards permanently staying that way. The workplace culture you used to have is now attempting to be recreated over video calls. But is hosting a virtual happy hour once a month enough to maintain your employee experience?
ALI Conferences hosted the virtual Employee Experience & Communications: Digital Engagement Strategies conference on May 14, 2020 with a lineup of communications experts who provided strategies and solutions for these particular challenges.
Here are the top 3 takeaways from the Employee Experience & Communications virtual conference:
Breakthrough & Connect
Despite how it may feel, the world has not stopped moving. Although workplace culture may look different now, it’s important to convey to both current and future employees that you have a great employee experience, despite having multiple “global offices” now.
Medidata is just one company that is currently hiring during this time. Edward Ford, Senior Director, Talent Brand + Experience for Medidata presented on how they are using Instagram to “communicate and engage with employees during a crisis.” Despite the fact that we are currently social distancing, current and future employees need to see that leadership and their organization are connecting with them on a personal level. Medidata does this a number of ways, including hosting Instagram Live split-screen videos title “#Medidatian Sessions” where two employees discuss what’s current at Medidata.
What about organizations that have essential workers on the front line and employees reporting from home offices? St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is just one of these organizations that are reaching these two groups of employees experiencing different realities. To bring all their employees together, St. Jude launched Yammer groups for employees to motivate and connect with each other. After Jennie Bledsoe, Director, Internal + HR Communications, and her team launched just a few Yammer groups, they were proud to see that their employees started creating their own groups, such as those new to a city, fellow musicians, and more.
One Size Does Not Fit All
It’s important to remember that not all employees are experiencing the same days as you. While some may be essential workers, like the employees at St. Jude, others may be working from home while in vastly different situations.
Some employees may have kids they are now learning how to homeschool. Others may live alone and haven’t seen another person face-to-face all week. Some employees may not have a dedicated workspace in their home and are struggling to separate work life from home life. Others may not have a reliable internet connection.
Connecting with employees does not mean just sending them a message. Make sure your managers and leaders take the time to check in with their team on a personal level and don’t forget to develop a mix of communication networks and methods that cater to all types of your employees.
CEO = Chief Empathy Officer
Ann Melinger, CEO of Brilliant Ink, recently read a great message that resonated with her: “CEO = Chief Empathy Officer.”
As mentioned above, not all employees are experiencing the same day-to-day, and to retain dedicated, motivated employees, it’s important for leadership to take the mental wellbeing of employees into account. Connect with them emotionally.
27% of our #ALIComms attendees said that the biggest shift in their workplace culture due to COVID-19 has been the discussion around the emotional wellbeing of employees. We’d like to see this number higher! Talk to your employees, survey them, and see how you can help them improve and stay motivated during this tough time.
BONUS: A-HA Moments from Employee Experience & Communications
At the end of the conference, we asked out attendees to write in the chat-box what their “a-ha moment” during the event was. Here’s what they wrote:
- Use the appropriate channel for the right message.
- If you’re not targeting an audience, you risk not connecting with anyone.
- Build a persona and picture of the employees you are talking to in order to connect with them better.
- Build a community for employees to connect with leadership and each other
- “Lead from the front!”
- Asking employees not just how they are doing with the work, but personally and emotionally as well.
- “We are not all in the same boat. We’re all in the same storm.”
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