As organizations begin to emerge from the rubble of the pandemic, business leaders have plenty of unknowns to tackle—and several of the most important ones all begin with “re-.”
- How to reengage employees after two years of remote work
- How to retain and attract a talented workforce
- How to realign and reconnect employees to your culture
- How to rebuild working relationships between in-person, remote or hybrid workforces
And that’s just scratching the surface.
There is no shortage of “re-” challenges for today’s business leaders. But there isn’t a shortage of solutions and opportunities, either.
Whether your company wants to remember and record the events of the last few years, is reeling from The Great Resignation or wants to redefine its culture, you need a sustainable, integrated employee engagement plan.
Any effort to retain your workforce, reconnect employees to your company’s mission or reacclimate them to the office after literal years of working from home needs to start with respect.
According to Pew Research, 57 percent of employees who quit in 2021 listed feeling disrespected at work as the reason. So if you’re looking to ramp up your company’s retention, reengagement or reconnection efforts, respect should take center stage.
But what does that look like exactly? Simple: It starts with two-way communication.
There’s no better way to show someone you respect them than by listening to what they have to say. As you communicate with your employees about the future of work, you need to invite them to share their thoughts, too.
Your employees have experienced a lot since March 2020. They have insights, opinions and stories to share. By inviting them to open up, you’ll give them a much-deserved platform to divulge anything they’ve been holding in—or holding back.
But listening to them isn’t where your job ends. It’s only the beginning.
If your organization is returning to the office, incorporate what you’ve learned into your plans to reacclimate employees to in-person work. Use their stories to build your company culture via internal communications. There are unlimited ways to use your employees’ voices to define your new “normal.”
What kind of communication effort will be the most lasting and impactful for your company?
Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Everybody wants to be a storyteller, but what about story listeners?
Listen to what your people have to say using History Factory’s StoryARC™ methodology or History Factory’s Remote Story Capture, a tool that allows geographically scattered employees to share their stories and contribute to your company’s storytelling efforts. And there are so many ways to use the results.
Now is the perfect time to start story listening, because while it’s always going to be important to capture your company’s stories, documenting the history of COVID-19 is just as critical.
The last two years have caused a paradigm shift in the workplace comparable to the emergence of computers in the 1980s, the rise of email and the internet in the 1990s, and changes in security after 9/11. While it’s always important to capture your company’s stories, that’s especially true during moments of historic change.
What happened to your company culture during the past two years? Was your company on the pandemic’s front lines? How did your company and its valuable employees pivot and respond to your customers’ needs?
Capturing your company’s history using its employees’ voices is one of the smartest things you can do to ensure its legacy is preserved. But it’s also one of the easiest ways to show employees that you see and value their contributions and experiences.
We talk about stories and storytelling a lot because we know how impactful they are to accomplishing a wide range of goals. Whether your goal is to get buy-in for your vision or celebrate a rich and complex past, your company’s tales serve as a compelling representation of your operations, beliefs, motivations and values.
Of course, there’s your founder’s story and other legends and lore that have woven themselves into your company’s legacy. But there are so many little details that contribute to the overall narrative—and they’re just as important to capture.
A story or video content bank does just that. It serves as an organized resource where your quotes, facts, and stories large and small can be collected, vetted for sharing and made available for your company’s use at any time and for any purpose.
For example, you can use a content bank as a resource for social media posts, company publications, displays, presentations, internal communications and more.
You may not have cubicles anymore. Instead, you may have an open floor work plan where people have temporary desks that they use whenever they feel like coming into the office, or perhaps you’re in a new, unfamiliar office building. However your back-to-the-office situation looks, you’ll want employees to feel comfortable with, connected to and energized by any changes your organization has made.
One effective way to pull this off is through a series of physical or digital installations or exhibits. Pulling from your company’s archives and content bank, these can serve as a visual representation of who your employees are, what your company’s experience has been, and what your future might look like.
Not only can these visual displays tell the story of the past few years, but they can also showcase your company’s purpose, goals and mission since the beginning. Even better, if these exhibits are digital, they can be updated to share new content and messaging.
Exhibits and storytelling installations can push your employees to build (or rebuild) a sense of pride in their company and give any visitor who comes to your office a strong sense of who you are.
Have you ever attended a gathering of people you maybe haven’t seen in a while? How did it feel?
If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that connection is central to the human experience. Whether you’re inviting people back to the office, figuring out your hybrid work situation or opting to remain fully remote, giving your employees a chance to reconnect is critical.
Revive your company’s culture, unify your employees and foster opportunities for connection through company wide events. These can be the perfect place to reaffirm your purpose and values or communicate that you’ve decided to pursue a new path.
Either way, we can take care of the details. From concepting to execution, we’ve done it all—and we know it works.
To keep employees connected to their work, engaged in your company’s journey and committed to its mission, it’s critical to understand what they want, how they feel and where they want to see the company go. While that’s always true, it’s more relevant now than ever as employees look for jobs with higher pay, greater flexibility and better benefits.
Don’t wait to react to the unexpected this time. A solid communications-based strategy can play a key role in building and ensuring a committed, connected workforce—and we can help.