Communication strategies that worked pre-COVID will not necessarily work now. According to Eyal Gutentag, remote work and social distancing have made it necessary for managers to learn new, effective ways of communicating with their staff. Here are some ideas that managers can use now.
- Keep Communications Simple
Your staff will need to hear from you more often than usual in order to allay their uncertainty and anxiety. However, each communication should be simple and to the point. Information overload could be a problem for your employees. In his Medium post “Post-COVID: 5 Ways Managers Can Communicate Better”, Eyal Gutentag recommends creating a calm and focused environment for your staff. You should show that you are in control and that everything will turn out okay.
- Be Positive
Your communication with your employees should be positive and optimistic. Your staff will be looking to you to help keep up their morale in these trying times. Recognize the worth of your staff and express gratitude whenever possible. Show that you care about your people by being sensitive and empathetic, as suggested by Eyal Gutentag in previously mentioned Medium post. This will help them to know that the company is behind them and supports them.
- Request Feedback
Make sure that your employees know that you want their feedback. Devise safe channels for them to give you their opinions. Eyal Gutentag manager has suggested that you provide a page on your website for employees to post their concerns. You may want to make this anonymous in order to encourage feedback. It is good to have a variety of ways that employees can express themselves. Different employees may be more comfortable with different ways of communicating. Allowing everyone to voice their opinion will make the atmosphere at your company much more pleasant and will help your employees to be more productive.
- Reassure Employees About Their Jobs
Your employees may be wondering whether their jobs are safe. If you can, let them know that their jobs are not in jeopardy. If layoffs are coming, your staff will appreciate it if you can give them advance notice. Be accessible to your employees so that they can express their fears about losing their jobs. People are much more productive if they are not worrying about keeping their employment.
- Support Employees in Working From Home
Many of your employees may be working for home for a while. Any support that you can give them will help them to do their jobs successfully. You can help them by giving them good equipment to use, similar to what they had in the office. They may be struggling with inferior monitors and computers or non-ergonomic desks. If you can, help them to purchase what they need. Also, be aware that your staff may have the need for more flexible hours due to child-care concerns.
- Build Community
Help your staff to build team spirit by informal means, such as phone calls or group texts. Your staff may be suffering from Zoom fatigue, so more video meetings may hinder rather than help.
If you build new communication skills now, they will serve you well even after the pandemic ends. Fears about COVID will continue for a while afterward, according to Eyal Gutentag, so keep those communication lines open.