22 Jun 7 Points of Communicating to Your Company and Clients in 2020
Clear communication was extremely important as we were moving into crisis management mode in March and in full-on crisis mode in April. Then May brought new challenges with the death of George Floyd. The problem is that communication is still vital as quarantine orders begin to phase out allowing more businesses to reopen. Maintaining a communication strategy to foster strong company culture while introducing new safety protocols and procedures for employees and clients will be imperative to the success of business operations. Jeremy Ames, Founder and CEO of Hive Tech HR, provides the following 7 Points of Successfully Communicating to Your Company and Clients in Mid-2020:
Communicating to your employees and clients early and often about any upcoming changes will invariably give people clear guidance and expectations. Repetition is effective when done correctly. Email distribution lists can be gold but be cautious of “email overload,” as it’s the number own reason people unsubscribe from email marketing. Overusing any one medium may drown out the message and dilute the impact of future messages. Creative messaging across a variety of the communication mediums will increase your chances of awareness and adoption. You can’t afford to have an employee miss an important message, and you don’t want to minimize the chances of clients seeing them either.
Fatigue is closely tied to frequency. In a world that we’re drowning in thousands of electronic messages – in one format or another – being overwhelmed is the natural bi-product. Stay-at-home orders and virtual working arrangements pushed many to utilize virtual conferencing applications both personally and professionally to maintain a level of human interaction. Our team circulated a recent article itemizing a handful of psycholocial reasons video applications have caused fatigue. Between the rise of digital marketing and recent push to work from home, employees and clients are experiencing fatigue. Encourage your team and clients to take breaks throughout the day, step away from their devices, and find ways to practice self-care.
The goal of internal and external communications is to create engagement. With the shear number of messages out in the world today, the message carriers are intensely competing for mind space. Therefore, your success is tied not only to the message being viewed, but mainly in having it “seen.” You want the employee or client to take action; take a survey, read the new safety procedure, like a Linkedin post, etc. There isn’t one simple answer to create engagement. It can be an investment in creative messaging, consistent messaging, an appropriate messaging cadence, compelling call to action prompts, and capturing attention on multiple mediums.
As we navigate how to best engage employees and clients in today’s environment consider their mental health, other obligations and possible distractions they may be experiencing. Between COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and recent progress in LGBTQ rights, there isn’t a lack of topics requiring heighted empathy. A lot of HR teams are concerned about how employees might interpret communications, and in an attempt to be empathetic, actually end up creating a negative wave across the organization. The best advice is to revisit the corporate values and find connections between those and current events. That’s a much better starting point for proper messaging, since it mitigates the risk of the messaging coming across as opinion. On the client communication front, selling and marketing has been very tricky to navigate without appearing apathetic. It’s our opinion that empathy-based marketing can be tasteful if the message is authentic, honest and employee and client culture aligns with the messaging.
This is a super-tough one in today’s political climate. Say something that could be perceived as politically-motivated and you risk alientating your employees. Don’t say anything about current events like Black Lives Matter and you risk alienating your employees. While certainly not legal advice, the most logical approach to this seems to be to focus on the Human Resources and Humanitarian impacts of current events. The ties between BLM and diversity and inclusion aren’t a significant stretch. Explaining what LGBTQ rights mean to your HR practices could also be fair game. We’ve seen many clients and partners add Juneteenth as a holiday, and we ourselves will be observing a Period of Reflection where work takes a backseat to recognizing a moment in U.S. history that should be tied to learning and progress.
Now more than ever its important that content be relevant and project an appropriate tone. Inboxes have been inundated with COVID-19 emails and according to The Wall Street Journal the emails were not as comforting as companies may have intended. Be situationally sensitive to what’s going on in the world and thoughtful about the ways that your company can appropriately present themselves to both employees and clients. Otherwise like everything else people will unsubscribe, disregard your message or misinterpret the intent.
If you have any soothsayers in your HR or communications departments, tap into them now and always. The uncertainty that the 2020 crises have caused is embedded deep in the psyches of employees and organizations. Helping humans anticipate what’s coming next in a world that’s so difficult to navigate is communication gold. Not surprisingly, though, the ability to predict has become even harder, and bears some level of risk because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the world can change on a dime.
You can find a few other employee communication considerations in our last blog 7 Points of Successfully Executing on Remote Work.