2021 plans: more focused

2021: Plan for More Focused Efforts on Your Corporate Communications Strategy  

As companies look ahead to 2021 and communication plans start taking shape, the continued unpredictability of COVID-19 weighs heavily on business decisions, making flexibility an even higher priority in how brands and organizations move forward. A good first step is to acknowledge that while a lot has changed, one thing will always remain the same: employees are a company’s most valued asset and planning with their best interest in mind should always be top of mind.

A few startling statistics have jumped out at me as of late:

  • The percentage of U.S. remote workers jumped from 31% to 62% in just three weeks (Gallup)
  • 35% of people surveyed by WhistleOut said that weak internet has prevented them from doing their work at some point during the Coronavirus crisis. (Forbes)
  • 43% of employees said they have had to use their phone as a hotspot during the crisis (Forbes).
  • 74% of companies plan to permanently shift to more remote work post-COVID-19 (Gartner).

Building effective internal communications strategies is more important than ever. With things changing rapidly, we need to be prepared, but it’s critical to remember that we also need to stay nimble and be able to shift as things unfold, which they will continue to do as we learn more. While developing your plans, keep these three things top of mind as you prepare:

  • Do your channels stack up? I recently read an article from PwC stating that the pandemic has accelerated the future of the workforce by 5 to 10 years. With employees shifting and permanently working remotely, we do not have the same touchpoints available as we did to communicate important messaging. We may have relied on physical signage or printed newsletters. What new technology do we need to deploy or how do we better utilize our current channels, such as the intranet, to better reach our internal audiences?
  • Do you have the right content mix? It was recently stated that 85% of employees are most motivated when management offers regular updates on company news (Trade Press Services). It is critical to review your content makeup and ensure that you are prioritizing the right categories of content to best engage your employees. For instance, 35% of your total mix should focus on training and education content. Employees are looking to stay fresh and up to date on their skills, as well as new ways to talk to their customers. We no longer have the face-to-face mentoring and networking readily available in this remote environment. How do we account for continual development opportunities through our content and channels?
  • Are you staying connected? To generate engaging strategies that work, you must provide opportunities for employees to be heard. Regular pulse surveys can help you stay informed on what is important to your employees or what challenges they are facing. Results will help you stay nimble and able to shift quickly to adapt to changing needs. With remote work a mainstay, ensuring you still feel connected to the pulse of the organization and have a good grasp on company culture will be key to building out programs that work.

While no two approaches will be the same, keeping an employee-first mindset at the crux of your internal communications strategy gives you a solid foundation to build a flexible plan that will always come back to what your employees most need and want from the organization. And with continuous change almost certain to be the theme again in 2021, looking to your employees as the guiding North Star helps ensure you are moving forward on a path to continued success.

Ready to map out your internal communications strategy? Contact us to help guide you through the steps to build an actionable plan and create an engaged workforce in the new year and beyond.

Written By

celeste conklin

associate director, strategy & development

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akhia communications — an Ohio public relations agency