Post-pandemic is about a different type of baking, says Sarah Moloney.
Build and bake your business
The ‘new normal’ has forced every business to shift significantly in order to remain afloat. Despite these pivoting efforts, the pandemic will not last forever and organisations must continue to evolve and adapt beyond this moment in time. Hardship provides opportunity to grow and change, and while pausing and reflecting on a business strategy is necessary, continuing to pause is not always the right answer.
Businesses must reinvent, innovate and be more robust than ever before from here on out. COVID-19 has presented a unique opportunity to bake strong communications practices into the core, both internally and externally.
Whether refreshing a strategy or building a new one from the ground up, now is the ultimate time to bake in good habits that fit for a post-pandemic world.
Build and bake internally
Far too often, businesses focus solely on their external presence – in the main to reach a target audience, drive engagement and conversation with stakeholders, or simply to maintain service continuity, all of which are important.
Businesses must reinvent, innovate and be more robust than ever before from here on out.
However, getting your internal communications in order is equally as valuable and should be prioritised and planned for, particularly in the face of challenging times, the first half of 2020 being a prime example.
Businesses globally have faced, and continue to face, many internal challenges because of COVID-19. The obvious challenge is creating a good remote working environment backed by efficient and effective technology.
However, there are several strong fundamentals that should be considered when it comes to analysing internal communications, and getting those right is essential as we adapt to the ‘new or next norm’.
Communications professionals should, if they’re not already, be evaluating what is working and what isn’t across the spectrum. Assess what is underpinning the communications strategy and how the organisation is effectively communicating with its employees to strengthen relationships, sustain productivity and build motivation.
Questions you may want to consider are: how are your employees reacting to your response in the face of crisis or disruption? Are your actions viewed upon positively and are you listening to your employees and being empathetic to their needs?
Transparency, coherence and consistency must be ingrained in your internal communications strategy to keep good people, motivate and inspire them.
Another key area of evaluation lies with purpose. Not only is it important to bake in an internal communications strategy that is transparent, coherent and consistent, it’s also equally vital to ensure one of the ingredients is a purpose-driven foundation where you can articulate and demonstrate your actions.
And this has to go beyond words in an email, businesses should convey how they intend to approach this, and importantly make it happen. The most effective forms of communications take advantage of multiple channels in which to communicate to a workforce (especially in a pandemic or for those organisations that aren’t all sat under the same office roof.)
And through these various channels, it’s key to encourage a two-way dialogue because if there is anything the world has learnt from the Black Lives Matter movement, it’s that listening to the workforce and asking questions is the only route to driving forward a truly purpose-driven action for change that encompasses the opinions and thoughts of everyone.
Baking a communications strategy
There is one overarching message that lies within the build and bake strategy: businesses should strive to achieve a rounded communications approach, particularly during a time when demands are high and budgets are likely to be tighter than ever.
This requires a full kitchen clean – top to bottom.
Start by analysing the businesses channels, what it is and isn’t using, and evaluate which should or shouldn’t be leveraged. Look at what’s a timewaster, and where this time could be better spent. This applies to both internal and external communications.
For your strategy to be successful, it must be applied to the entire ecosystem to ensure greater effectiveness. Put knowledge back in the hands of the audience to empower internally and wow externally.
As a business, you may never find yourself with a timely opportunity to reflect again on what you are doing. Now is the moment to refresh for the future and evolve – to harvest a better approach and leave old habits to die.
Whatever you are looking to achieve, don’t let the moment pass you by. The world continues to evolve, and so should your business to keep the workforce and clients happy. If the pandemic has presented us with one lesson, it’s that organisations’ need to adapt fast to build for the future. The world will not stop turning and neither should you.
About the author
Sarah Moloney is UK managing director of KWT Global