June 17, 2020

3 warning signs for staff comms during lockdown

Whether working or furloughed, employees share a strong need for information. Staff comms have evolved rapidly in the last few months. So we looked at how well communications are hitting the mark.

Keeping all employees on the same page

Over the last 3 months, MyCustomerLens has been running employee pulse surveys across the leisure & fitness industry.
The results show that employees are desperate to be kept in the loop. This makes sense as we’re all craving clarity about the ‘new normal’ and how far it will be from the ‘old normal’.
By meeting this need for information, managers are helping maintain:
  • motivation
  • mental health and,
  • a culture of collaboration.
But success requires more than a regular email or team Zoom.

3️ warning signs for busy managers, and what to do differently

Our research shows that keeping your employees up to date is a factor of 3️ things:
  • What you say (the message)
  • How you say it (the messenger)
  • When you say it (sequencing)

Warning – employees aren’t hearing what they need

“tell us what is happening, what their plans are for return to work, answer questions honestly about possible redundancies”
With milestones moving and situations changing by the day, it’s tempting to stick to the facts. To stick to what you need to tell colleagues. But think about what your teams need to hear as well as what you need to tell them.
The most obvious topic is how things are going to work. While away from the office, staff are seeing how other industries are adapting. They are seeing processes and facilities evolve to keep staff and customers safe.
They have concerns and ideas. They want to hear about your emerging plans, not just the final decision.
“Intranet is providing both informative information and updates on colleagues”
Also, don’t overlook the topics that help bring teams together. Staff are feeling distanced from their colleagues. Office banter, emotional support and opportunities for a spontaneous chat have fallen away. This is affecting some employees more than others.

Warning – staff comms need more variety

“Maybe a phone call from my line manager as we have only had email updates”
We’ve all been trying to find and establish new routines, and comms isn’t any different. Regular zoom calls and newsletters have been established. The medium, structure and tone of voice become predictable. This familiarity and consistency also impact engagement. Newsletters get quickly scanned. Bingo cards get sent round before meetings.
Along the way, 1-2-1 communications have dwindled. Picking up the phone for a quick chat has become unusual. Managers deprived of walking the floors have lost their way of checking in with staff. Staff have lost their way of seeing managers stay in touch.
“I feel they are doing everything they can and communication is fantastic”
To avoid this risk, look to add variety to your staff comms. This could be phone calls just to check-in, or video messages sharing what’s going on.

Warning – departments are communicating in isolation

“Update staff first, getting fed up seeing press releases on Facebook and then getting email”
When staff hear about news through the media, or via social media channel it erodes their trust. With reduced staff numbers, coordinating across departments has become harder. Managers are juggling new and extra roles. Customers are also demanding information.
To avoid this risk, align your employee and customer experience plans. Employee experience impacts how they support or deliver the customer experience. If customers hear about plans or new offers before employees then both sides get frustrated. Customers get frustrated that staff can’t answer their questions. Staff get frustrated that they look silly or unhelpful to customers. Neither side feels valued.

Staff comms will be a vital customer experience lever

As facilities reopen, customers and staff will have many new questions. How well operators respond to this, will have a big impact on customer experience.
Quickly collecting new questions and sharing the answers will become a point of differentiation. It will build confidence and trust amongst customers and employees.
To find out how real-time feedback can help you keep your staff comms on track, contact us today.

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