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How to bridge the communication gap in remote and hybrid cultures
Around 28% of employees have a hybrid work schedule and nearly 13% are remote — all while 30% say they want the ability to work from home full-time.
- Why it matters: All that distance can fracture company culture if employees don’t feel like part of a community. Leaders need to find a more modern — and permanent — way to bridge the gap than we’ve been trying and testing over the last few years.
“In today’s working world, for many of us, there is no physical office, so the technology tools you choose are how people understand and interact with your company. They are the mechanisms that define your culture,” Axois HQ VP of People Connie Marean told HRO Today. “It’s about creating the virtual manifestation of how your teams get to know each other and get work done.”
And it’s never been more important to get that mix — from the communication strategies you execute to the tools your make available to your team — right.
Business communications software makes all the difference
Mckinsey research found that employers would be wise to invest in technology platforms that integrate colleagues working remotely and on-site — as long as it doesn’t mean leaning on a deluge of video calls.
Colleagues can get worn out by being on camera — especially introverts — but they still want to feel connected. That’s where an internal communications strategy built around platforms that foster connections between employees is crucial, but it needs to be one that makes creating and maintaining culture easy for comms leaders as well as for individuals.
Tools that help leaders build community tend to be:
- Data driven. You need a platform with metrics you can actually use to improve your culture. So find an option that allows you to see who's actively opening and reading messages. Only then will you know in real time who’s more likely to feel connected, engaged, and aligned around organization goals.
- AI powered. From brainstorming critical communications to synthesizing key details and keeping voice, tone, and messaging consistent, AI-powered writing guidance lets anyone craft a comm that keeps folks connected.
- Templated. The whole point of implementing software is to make a task easier. That’s why communications softwares should come with template libraries you can use to quickly build updates around holidays, events, and topics that matter to your company’s culture.
Tools that help teams feel a sense of community tend to be:
- Collaborative. When you ensure voices are heard and considered, it fosters inclusion and community. So consider investing in workplace communications software that comes with an unlimited number of seats at the table. That way, anyone and everyone can feel included and empowered to elevate the messages that matter.
- Feedback driven. The best way to ensure your message and cultural efforts are paying off is to ask your audience. Ensure your software has a way to gather feedback through polls, surveys, or other methods so your culture can continue to grow.
The sooner you invest in and implement software that improves company culture, the sooner you can start building connections and a community that employees want to be a part of using consistent digital communications.
Building connections with newsletter communications
Employees need culture to feel fulfilled and part of the team, and software can help make that happen. But the more intranets, channels, and platforms you implement to create connections and share information, the more messages get spread thin and overlooked.
Newsletters are an effective way to bridge workplace communication gaps across groups, roles, and locations — to compile and elevate key directives and to shine light on your org-wide culture, too. They’re a consistent way to make sure employees all get the same message no matter where they’re located or the hours they work.
Four ways they can help build better company culture:
- Increasing community. When you’re struggling to get employees connected, one central communication ensures no one feels left out or uniformed. Everyone can know about both the upcoming project changes, DEI updates, and other activities in one convenient place.
- Bolstering trust. Only 21% of U.S. employees strongly agree that they trust their organization’s leadership, but newsletters can help employees feel more informed and aligned with leadership’s vision and the company’s future because it gives them a connection to the leaders writing them.
- Retaining more colleagues. When colleagues are engaged at work, the likelihood of them leaving the organization decreases. So by keeping them informed and aligned with consistent communication, there’s likely to be less turnover and tumult.
- Highlighting enjoyable activities. Everyone can feel like a part of the fun when they’re all invited to take part in company fantasy football leagues or by sending in Halloween costume photos. And offering those opportunities through email to everyone can make it feel a little more like the pre-Covid office culture. Bonus: you can feature those photos in the newsletter to help colleagues get to know each other better.
Once you start thinking of your org-wide newsletter as a cultural connector, you see not only the value it brings all your employees, but that it’s worth investing time and money in getting it right.
The bottom line: “People used to have so much agency in how they communicated with one another — coffees, quick walks, meetings, happy hours,” Connie says. “Now they only get to use the tools and channels you define — Zoom, Slack, and whatever else you add to the mix. The medium is the message. It has never been more important to get the medium right.”
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