Over the last few editions of Bounce Ahead, I have intentionally avoided directly mentioning the elephant(s) in the room.
- COVID-19 global pandemic outbreak
- Global work slowdown and shutdowns
- Working from home (oh the joy!)
- Vaccination rollout and resistance
- Resurgence, locally and around the world
Sheesh! Read that list again.
That’s a lot for all of us to adapt to, in a relatively short time. Armed with limited information, no clear path forward and way too many talking heads, I opted to not add to the noise and kept Bounce Ahead about the work.
Early in my career, one of my mentors taught me about the power of ‘reading a room.’ Over the last 4-5 months, the collective room seemed to be suffering from C.I.O or COVID Information Overload. I know I was, so I purposely wrote the last few editions of Bounce Ahead with an eye towards not mentioning ‘it’ directly.
But lately, my conversations with peers and clients feel more focused, more positive and more optimistic. Even though how we conduct business is changing, what won't be is the need to communicate effectively, to create connections with others.
Words, when combined thoughtfully, do just that. They inspire, they inform and they guide.
As we emerge from ‘it,’ it now feels right to me to share a few tips on how you can use language, and in this case, internal business communications, to welcome your (weary) teams and employees back from COVID shutdown. (There, I said it!)
But internal communications is not a one and done proposition. It requires strategy, maintenance and a thoughtful approach.
I invite you to take a few minutes and read on to learn more. In the meantime, here’s to a safe return, business renewal and rebirth!
Bounce Marketing & Consulting
P.S.: If you’re enjoying Bounce Ahead, please spread the word with someone you think would benefit from it.
Something to Consider
Do you remember the first person you told when you got engaged? How about when you landed a new job? Or became pregnant with your first child? Whenever we have big news to share, we usually start with our closest circles first. After all, you wouldn’t want your mom to find out she’s becoming a first time grandmother from social media, would you?
We all tend to follow this practice instinctively in our personal lives. So why are employees, our “closest circle,” so often an afterthought when we have important news to share?
Communicating with empathy through the right mix of channels and strategies can make employees more confident in leadership and less anxious about change. There are other benefits to consider. Internal communications can improve culture, engage staff, and increase productivity. After all, you’ve hired smart people. Arm them with information, to help them focus on doing their best, while also feeling “in the know,” well supported and heard.
This is more important than ever in a post-pandemic work environment.
Think about it. Last March, when we were just getting on a roller coaster no one asked to be on, there was a lot of confusion, anxiety and misinformation. Tie that in with work stoppages and new phrases like “essential employees vs. non-essential employees,” and it was all too much to bear. The combination of all of these factors created a very messy and confusing situation that required a coordinated and consistent response from business leaders. Internal communications systems were tested. A few passed with flying colors, a few failed miserably and most are still proceeding without a playbook.
While organizations may fall anywhere on the spectrum between fully-remote and back in the office, strong internal communications can help ensure your teams are informed, aligned, and engaged.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Communicate from the inside-out. Remember, any big news whether good or bad should be shared with your closest circles first. Make sure internal communications is a strategic component at the top of any major company announcement, launch, or roll-out. Employees who are engaged early are more likely to support or evangelize the impending change.
- Keep a steady drum beat. Set a regular cadence for internal communications-- whether a weekly newsletter, bi-weekly CEO video, monthly staff meeting, or all of the above. A consistent flow of information drives culture, eases concerns, and helps answer questions before they arise.
- Focus on quality over quantity. The last thing employees need is yet another company email with little to offer. That may lead to an anticipatory “delete” every time they see an internal communication. If you only have enough content for one communication each month, that’s fine. Just make sure it’s meaningful. And don’t be afraid to ask your employees what they want to know. You might be surprised to learn the things you find important may not be important to them. Consider launching anonymous climate surveys or instigate one on one chats with your leaders. It’s amazing what you can learn, when you listen first.
There’s much more to consider, and we’re here to help.
Effective business leaders understand that engaged employees are their most valuable assets. Bounce works with businesses to maximize their potential (and connection to their organization) through writing, design and strategy.
Call on us, if you’d like to learn more. Then, you can breathe easier and call Mom to tell her the exciting news!
Bounce at Work
When a local community partner donated augmented reality and virtual reality equipment to our client, a local school district, Bounce helped celebrate the occasion.
We organized a press conference, involving community leaders, local government officials and district administration to share the news.
Since this was such a positive event, we recommended memorializing it through video. Bounce led every element of production; from storyboard concepts to messaging to final editing.
Together, we created an impactful video that helped position the district as student centric, innovative and connected to its local community. The result was a festive and informative video, touting how students could use this new tech for learning and exploration.
Take a minute to watch the video above.
(Small) Businesses We Love
Whenever Bounce has a video production need, we call on LaToya and the great team at Brass City Media (BCM) to help us deliver.
BCM, founded in 2014, is a strategic partner to Bounce and fellow M/WBE certified firm. BCM specializes in video production, brand consulting, and virtual events for organizations and small to mid-sized businesses.
BCM creates compelling in-person and virtual experiences for some of the most innovative and iconic brands in the world, such as: Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Black Enterprise, Goldman Sachs, Tory Burch Foundation, and the NBA, to name a few.
BCM’s expertise in authentic storytelling through video helps clients improve brand awareness, increase engagement and build trust with their audience. Take a moment to view their latest video project, so you too can get a sample of BCM’s approach to video production.
Things Worth Sharing
- Excellent internal communication follows 3C’s; correct, consistent, and constant. Read this great article from Caitlin Percival for a solid breakdown of her approach to internal comms.
- How much should you tell your employees? Transparency, like most things, is best done in moderation, according to Jonathan Herrick, in his piece for Forbes.
- In a post COVID environment, Mary Schafer from ADP tells us that now is the time to have a clear internal communications plan in place. In her article, she lays out an excellent case.
- Looking to get out of the house AND support local businesses? Check this week’s fantastic lineup of events occurring all over our hometown, in QEDC’s latest edition of It’s in Queens! Live music, walking tours, cultural events and more!
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