What to do if the whole company suddenly has to work remotely?
The recent coronavirus has brought to light the need for a digital workplace strategy and roadmap. It’s time to get serious about the idea of desktop employees working remotely.
Companies have to accelerate a digitization process that would otherwise take months, if not years of preparation. Home offices are the inevitable future of the workplace. If the coronavirus continues to spread, far more companies will have to rely on the concept of remote work as the norm. Be it because parts of their teams are quarantined, or they have had contact with infected people – or because suspected cases have occurred in the company.
What is required for a successful remote office?
The equipment in the remote office does not differ significantly from that in the regular office.
A desk and a good chair
High-speed wireless access
A laptop or desktop and an external monitor depending on your business role
Headset with a good quality microphone for video and voice calls
It is best to set up a corner in your home where you won’t be disturbed or, better yet, a separate room. Working from the sofa sounds nice at first, but it’s usually not half as comfortable as it looks. These are the basic requirements for a quick at-home setup. If your company and employees are serious about the concept of a digital workplace and remote work, it is best to set up a permanent home office.
Wich remote tools can your company quickly spool up?
A laptop is of little use in the home office if employees cannot use it to access the documents they need to work. The essential requirement is, therefore, a cloud-based platform. If your company has been on a slow digitization journey, you may already be using tools like google drive and Microsoft One Drive.
Digital tools are also required for meetings or project management if each employee is at a different location. Here is a VERY brief list of some of the more popular communications and collaboration tools available.
Slack, communication tool for short-form chats
Asana or Jira: digitize project planning
Trello: replaces to-dos on post-it notes
Miro: virtual whiteboard for creative, virtual collaboration
Facebook Workplace: intranet, for example for essential announcements
Zoom or Hangouts: video conferencing
DocuSign: virtual signatures
E-Post: saves you having to go to the mailbox
It is tough to implement these platforms in a few days, even weeks. These individual platforms also do not equal a full-fledged digital workplace. “Tools like Asana have a learning curve for implementation, management and team use. Companies that are not yet using any of these programs should at least begin the move to cloud document management with a platform such as Google Drive.
Which employees are best suited for remote work
Most jobs in digital companies only require WiFi, laptop, smartphone and the tools mentioned above. Employee roles such as IT, marketing, customer service, people & culture, supply chain, finance, internationalization and management can work remotely. It is difficult for departments that are still physically bound to files, product manufacturing and retail customers.
How do you know your employees are really work in their home office?
The company must become focused on value delivered that is measurable. In the office, you can’t make sure that everyone is delivering value at all times; “Presence is not the same as performance. “
The formulation of clear goals together with the employees and to motivate them to adhere to them. This simple statement actually requires a clear and well developed holistic plan. Hella creative can help with building a strategy that is actionable and quickly adopted by your workforce.
What else is there to consider?
Building up and maintaining “team spirit” is a hurdle when everyone is at home. When you work remotely, you tend to only talk to each other professionally when you have a meeting. Remote work means distance on all levels. But closeness is the basis for building trust. Strong connections within the team arise, for example, from the short, private exchange at the coffee machine or during lunch.
There is a misconception that remote working does not allow for the building of culture and company values. If your organization is holding onto the idea that face to face interaction is more valuable than remote, you will have a difficult time building culture. Facebook, Instagram, and Slack have built multi-million dollar applications around the idea of distant relationships.
Your employees are ready, young and old
Every employee in your workforce has become acclimated to this notion. They engage and exchange on these platforms every day, and much to an employer chagrin, at work. Your workforce is already prepared to join their teams remotely. Embrace it and trust that your workforce has been hired for their skill and discipline.
Culture is much like Brand, it’s not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is. Brands do not require people to be physically close for success (unless your product is dependent on physically bring people together). They do need great experiences regardless if they are digital or physical. HR has put considerable energy into the physical experience with fun events and foosball tables. If your organization can build a strategy and plan that align with a road map and a digital platform, your companies digital employee experiences may surpass the physical.
Is remote work just a luxury for your employees, or do such workplace models offer real benefits for companies?
Studies say that your company can see a real advantage from remote work scenarios.
“Remote Work” is a real desire for the young, digital generation and a powerful argument in recruiting. In an international study by Buffer & AngelList , it was found that 98% of those surveyed would like to work remotely. The reasons given are more flexibility, no commuting and more time for the family.
Inc. Magazine makes a great point in defining the difference between remote work and working from home. Essentially Working from home is a break from the office where an employee works removed from the office and their coworkers. Remote work requires different workforce capabilities and well-planned communication, collaboration, and knowledge management technologies. Oh and bandwidth.
What are the challenges of remote work?
Working from anywhere does not guarantee satisfaction for your company and your employees. Remote work brings with it several challenges that you have to deal with:
The lack of personal contact, cohesion, collaboration and communication within your company can suffer. This is caused by an insufficient digital workplace plan.
A real or perceived two-tier society may arise between the “office” and the “homeworker.” This issue arises when a well-planned Culture of inclusion strategy is not in place and advocated.
In a corporate culture that was previously based on the presence and control of employees, the introduction of remote work can cause uncertainty. Leaders must understand that they do not monitor their employee’s activities minute by minute or day by day for that matter. The focus must be placed on your employee’s ability to deliver the value their role requires.
Contact Hella Creative Solutions to learn more about the challenges your company may face with remote work digitalization.
How to activate your remote workforce
How do you manage to understand these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities of flexible workplace models?
Define which employee roles are suitable for “remote work.”
Working together with your professional departments, determine which areas of responsibility, teams or positions are suitable for remote work. Make clear, understandable rules. When everyone knows who is entitled to remote work, when and why, envy and competition between employees are avoided.
Basically, areas are suitable in which work results can be measured qualitatively (e.g. project goals) or quantitatively (e.g. accepted calls in a call center), and the work is digitized to a high degree.
With the right frameworks, process and governance, work is possible from almost anywhere for any “desk job”: Even in the HR department.
Determine the framework
Extend your employees’ internal guidelines and employment contracts with the necessary passages. Questions regarding workplace equipment, the cost of office supplies and electricity and insurance must be answered. Software solutions enable employees to easily request their office absences so that superiors and also colleagues know (via the automatic calendar entry). This makes the process transparent and involves all employees.
Also, it is essential to make arrangements for working hours and breaks during remote work and to determine how often or at what times the employees have to be on site. Such regulations provide security for everyone involved because they understand what is expected of them.
Investigate whether target agreements and performance assessments need to be adapted to the new situation. A standardized training plan (onboarding) for new employees is also mandatory for companies that offer location-independent work.
Equip offices and home workplaces adequately
Ergonomic office furniture is required by law. With remote work, it is fundamentally technology and software equipment that decides whether work is fun and enjoyable. Your organization will need the right software tools for communication (e.g. video telephony and chat) and collaboration (e.g. project management solution and knowledge database) before it will see the productivity benefits of remote work unfold.
Changes may also be necessary for your physical workplace. After all, the employees need a place while they are on site. On the other hand, your offices should not be left empty half of the week. An open space office is a modern and workable option. Here the employees present can flexibly choose a place, form teams and quickly get into a conversation.
Train your managers
Leading a team is never easy. If the group is spatially distributed and only meets every now and then, it is a unique challenge. Remote workplaces high demands on a manager’s communication, moderation and motivation skills.
Train your managers for this particular task. Please support them during conflicts in the team . Help you formulate suitable target agreements with employees. Employees who work outside are often at a disadvantage when it comes to transportation. Your successes are seen less. A standardized system for performance assessment helps managers to recognize and promote talent.
Promote personal contact between the teams
Videotelephony and chats are excellent, but they never replace personal connection. The fewer colleagues work in the same office, the more critical individual meetings are. Organize regular team building activities with the specialist departments.
The biggest challenges for employees
According to an international study by Buffer and AngelList, communication, collaboration and loneliness are among the three most significant problems with remote work. It is all the more important for HR and companies to work on (digital) measures that enable smooth collaboration.
Frequency and effort depending on how many employees work outside and how often. This can range from the weekly status meeting followed by the white sausage breakfast on Monday morning to the annual company event where colleagues from all continents are flown in. Not insignificant detail on the side: The budgets for pizza, beer, DJ and hotel accommodation should be firmly planted!
Hire employees you trust
Even if this point comes last: it is perhaps the most important. Your employees have to deal with the challenges of remote work – high personal responsibility, individual social isolation, a high degree of digitization. You, on the other hand, have to trust your employees to do their best without the boss’s watchful eye.
A lack of trust in employee motivation is one of the main arguments that companies use against remote work. However, if you do not fully trust an employee, whether he is sitting in your office or not, the question may be allowed: Why are you hiring him at all? Contrary to all fears, the average productivity of employees in the home office is increasing, as studies show.
In the selection process, make sure that candidates have the necessary character and skills to be able to work independently and regardless of location. By the way, most of them know whether they are “the type” for the home office or prefer to see their colleagues every day.
After an experiment with 250 employees, half of the subjects decided to go back to their office desk after a few months at home. The direct question in the interview, “Would you like to work remotely and why (not)?” is whether a candidate is suitable for remote work or not.
So it depends on how you do it. Work out an individual strategy and plan that fits your company. Test remote work in one or more model teams, evaluate the results and optimize them. Then roll out the concept for your entire company.
Identity management, at times, gets a bad rap. When we consider the act of capturing user information, we sometimes see it as a covert or unethical practice. When we seek to understand a user (employee or customer) behaviour or craft a perception of the user’s character, it is seen as intrusive. This perception of identity and profile data collection may be due to the fact we are seeking to build a “view” of our consumer (employee or customer) by the use of technology. Technology is cold and objective. What if we were to add context to consumer behaviour and profile data. What could we achieve for our consumers, and how could we genuinely craft a more intimate relationship?
Regardless whether you are focusing on employees, customers, partners or recruits, you are targeting consumers. You are seeking to build lasting, meaningful relationships with the consumers of your technology platforms, your product and your services. To better understand why we do what we do as Marketers, Communicators, Developers, Experience designers and Experience Architects, I believe we need to go way, way back to the beginning. Back before, our digital transformations, mobile connectivity and even the TV and the hay days of the broadcast advertiser.
I believe what you will find in the following simple snapshot of the Trousdale’s General Store is what we are all striving for with our digital experiences.
Welcome Back to Ontario Canada in 1836
General dealers were established in the 18th and 19th centuries in many remote populated places where mobility was limited, and a single shop was sufficient to service the entire community. Due to its close connection and confinement to its customers, general dealers often adjusted their sales offerings to the specific preferences of their community.
The oldest continually run general store in Canada is Trousdale’s, located in Sydenham, Ontario, which has been operated by the Trousdale family since 1836.
Sociability has always been a feature, as locals come to chat as well as buy.
Mr. Trousdale – Store owner
Ben Brown – Customer
The year is 1937 in Ontario Canada
Ben Brown has been coming to the Trousdale General Store since he was a child. Mr. Trousdale has known Ben since he was a young boy and has seen him grow into an adult with a family of his own. Ben has grown to trust Mr. Trousdale because Ben respects the life Mr. Trousdale has led. Ben knows Mr. T has been through the First World War, where he served as a field medic, he has seen and done many things. He knows when Mr. T was a boy, he helped his father build this store from the foundation up. Ben sees Mr. T as an advisory on all things, from hardware to medicine to life advice.
Mr. T. has built a relationship with Ben, heck he was invited to Ben’s wedding. He knows that Ben runs the fam about 2 miles out of town. He knows that he will soon be building a new barn for the cattle he is fixing to raise. He knows Ben usually has a set of extra hands to help him, but his sin had taken ill with intense flu. Mr. T knows what Ben will need as soon as he walks through the door.
Access and authentication
Mr. T. Knows exactly who Ben Brown is when he walks through the door.
Mr. T. Knows where Ben lives, How many members are in his family, he knows the condition of their collective health,
Mr. T. knows the supplies Ben will require to take the appropriate action in his day and his life.
Together they form a bond that spans time through generations.
Mr. T. Has the same relationship with his employees, supply partners, and other neighbourhood retailers.
The evolutionary Challenge
The year is 2019. Both Mr. T. And Ben are long since gone. The idea of the general store has faded and made way for big-box retail. The employee has multiplied exponentially, and the customer numbers are in the billions. We no longer reach a couple of miles outside of town; we reach globally. The consumer company relationship has experienced the disruption of scale. The broken bond has increased the distance between customer and company living enterprise organizations with little understanding of their employees, let alone their customer. To increase the divide even further add a layer of cold, emotionless technology and the hope of understanding the customer like Mr. T. Seems impossible.
To compensate, we have tried to leverage our technology through CRM, Supply chain for our partners, HRIS for our employees. To service our customers, we have developed beautiful experiences delivered through applications and media across desktop and mobile devices. All our products and services have digitalized.
We believe that taking a more empathetic customer-first approach to everything we conceive gets us closer to those strong bonds of Trust, Respect and relationship.
Your company has implemented or seeks to achieve a secure IAM (Okta, Ping Identity) Information access management system for employee access. Your organization aims to implement a CIAM (customer information access management system) to reduce friction and create a holistic view of your companies applications.
Build a team of professionals with capabilities in Technical Architecture, Cyber Security, and Development, to name a few. Leverage the technologies that form your technology stack for IAM success. To drive this forward and into the enterprise, you have faced the challenges posed by change management across executive and through lines of business.
Decreased friction targeting employee authentication and access. Each employee has one single identity. This unique identity allows the employee to access all applications and services that the employee is permitted and expected to interface. You will increased security, decreased risk, and reduced the level of effort for the IT teams. This reduction effort means the IT team can focus on proactive actions and innovation. We have empowered our workforce to become more efficient. Through efficiency, we increase our competitive advantage.
We collectively know more now about the attributes of our employees than we ever have. The more migrations and integrations that take place across the LOB, the more we will continue to know. We are amassing an incredible amount of data.
Present Day 2020 and Beyond
Create a foundation for the collection of your customer identities across all digital products services and marketing, and we hope to exact the same outcomes as with our employee efforts. You will require a Federated Customer Identity Access Management (CIAM) system and service to understand your customer better. It is our inference to create a single view of your customer that will communicate a 360 degree understanding of the person we transact.
Build a team of professionals with capabilities in Technical Architecture, Cyber Security, and Development, to name a few. We will procure technologies that form our technology stack for CIAM success. The selected Federated Identity Management technologies will need to traverse, ingest protocols from a more diverse and ambiguous list of applications and media. To drive this forward and into your enterprise, you will face more complicated change management challenges than posed by or employee programs.
In doing so, we will decrease friction concerning customer authentication and access. Each customer will have one single identity. This unique identity allows the employee to access all applications and services that the employee is permitted and expected to interface. We have increased security, decreased risk, and reduced the level of effort for your IT teams. This reduction of energy means the IT team can focus on proactive actions and innovation. We have empowered our workforce to become more efficient. Through this efficiency, we increase our competitive advantage.
Federate Identity Managed Service
Federated Identity Management helps customers reducing passwords, improving customer experience, productivity and security. Businesses benefit through reduced costs associated with password recovery, enhanced security, better data quality and increased customer engagement and revenue.
Federated Identity Management provides the seamless user experience, improves customer engagement and security. Federation also centralizes customer profile data into a Single Customer View for improved customer analytics, segmentation and GDPR compliance.
You will collectively know more about the attributes of our customers than we ever have. The more migrations and integrations that take place across the LOB, the more we will continue to know. We are amassing an incredible amount of data.
Federate Identity Managed Service + Context
Don’t leave any data on the table.
“In a time where differentiation, adaptability, and customer focus are essential business values, it doesn’t make sense that the sources for all activities—the identity and contextual profiles of all users and customers—are spread across incompatible and siloed applications.”
We have improved the employee and customer experience by reducing friction, increasing security, delivering transparency, and building trust. Your collective digital and physical experiences create an enormous amount of momentum and DATA. What do we do with the data? How can we better serve our customers like MR T.? We need to know the customer. Modernized Identity Management makes way for a deeper understanding, which creates new relationships with the customer that last.
Federated Identity Management does not just provide your customers with a single identifier across all your consumer-facing applications. You also connect to internal-facing applications. If we include applications used for marketing, sales and Human Capitol, we are capturing exponentially more, highly contextual consumer data. When duplications are removed, living a single identifier, we have a robust 306-degree view of your customer.
Your Enterprise organization
The Customer – People
The Workforce – People
Partners – People
Device, Technology, Applications – Things
Data – Contextual Identity Intelligence
Value to your Organization
Inform Application Development and Procurement, Inform Product Development, Empower a more agile competitive, innovative Enterprise,
Value to your Customer
Trust, Transparency, Empower, Personalization, Sense of ownership and control, World-class experience, A sense of connection to something greater, Strong, lasting relationship.
With Federated Identity Managed Services, we are taking a DMP that exists for one purpose in one line of business in one application and connecting it to hundreds of DMPS. FID provides a complete view, a clear picture of who that person is. FID provides a contextual understanding of that person. My actions will be different when engaging your customer-facing marketing than when I engage your customer internal activities and employee engagements. All engagements that tie to the single identity help describe who I am. If we group and divide these individual persons into groups and further divided into segments, Your will have the ability to:
Better support Business Strategies
Enhance customer experience both offline and online through Your media and applications
Deliver Personalized Experiences
Increase Consumer Satisfaction
Generate Competitive Advantage
Increase in Revenue
Delight the consumer
Improve Customer Retention
Improve Operational Efficiency
Iterate with agility
Discover hidden opportunities
Elevate consumer experience and satisfaction
Act locally or globally
Service consumers across silos
Increase upset and Cross-Sell opportunities
Build better products
Reduce Support Costs
Reduce Employee Attrition
Educate and inform
We have built a team of professionals with capabilities in Cyber Security, Data Science, Change Management, Business Strategy, Communications, Marketing, UI/UX, Development, Design Thinking, LOB Stakeholders, Executive Sponsors, to name a few. We will procure technologies that allow the team mine data and make it actionable.
Provide proactive and reactive services to surface consumer intelligence and support critical business strategy continually.
Empower Brand, Marketing, Sales, Human Capital, Business Development, Product Development, Partner programs across all lines of business.
Deliver timely consumer intel through an internally accessible web presence.
Provide extended benefits and access to data for Business units that partner with the CIIT (Consumer Identity Intelligence Team)
The company is the product, and your employees are the consumer of that product. Before becoming employees, they are prospects. Companies leverage marketing strategies and tactics to acquire the best talent. When a candidate converts to an employee of the companies workforce, they become a consumer of the company’s product. The employee consumes the company’s mission, vision, processes, policies, procedures, and all knowledge of products and services. The employee leverages all they consume to provides value to themselves and the company.
This approach should form the basis, the atomic level, of all the strategies and activities associated with the modern work culture.
Companies are more focused than ever on acquiring and retaining the best talent. It’s a significant budgetary hit when they lose an employee due to lack of interest, discontent or a better offer. The single most effective way of keeping talented employees from jumping ship is an empathetic focus on the employee experience. Companies must take an employee-first approach to digital transformation.
The modern workplace stresses the importance of what the employee can bring to the table in terms of skills, knowledge, capabilities, processes, customers, and revenue for the business. One of the best ways to improve employee experience is to have an empathetic focus on their needs while taking a plunge into digital transformation. Companies must cater to the needs of the people who work to create their products, services, support their brand and develop a culture of respect for their employees.
What is an Employee?
A company does not make valuable products, deliver world-class service, or even provide support; people do. A companies workforce brings vigour, enthusiasm and innovative ideas to a company. People are at the heart of all businesses. The company’s people are the force that defines the success or failure of a business.
Simply put, the employee is the core of any business, and is at the heart of any customer experience. Any employee, whether it be a sales representative or a customer service executive, form the basis of the image of a business. For example, an employee who is rude or harsh will automatically lower consumer experience, and will make people warier of employing the services of the company in the future.
Your employees build, implement, and use technology, which can be utilized to enhance the productivity of the business and enhance its value. Investing in employees and design thinking methodologies are more profitable, as they increase the productivity of employees. As people engage, learn, train and share experiences, they grow their expertise, thus being in a position where they can create more memorable customer services.
However, an employee is not just someone who helps a company to grow and prosper. In the modern workplace, interacting with an employee is the first step in understanding consumer experience. Investing in one’s employees entails understanding them as customers.
What Is A Customer?
In the world of economics, business is the means to an end, and converting a customer to a consumer is the end goal. Every product that is made for the markets is made for the customer. Through healthy competition, businesses gauge what a customer may want and evolve effective strategies to cater to their demands. The art of marketing has developed to create very efficiently, effective strategies that leverage targeted tactics to achieve measurable and repeatable success. Once a customer accepts a product and purchases it, they are then converted to consumers of the product.
What Is A Consumer?
A customer becomes a consumer once the final act of purchasing a product is complete. If they have a positive experience with the company, they become an advocate for the brand. The “Brand Advocates” are worth every single dollar that is spent investing in the company, as the most crucial way a business grows is by word of mouth. For example, ad campaigns do help in maintaining retention about a brand, but a customer is not likely to buy a product if they remember the name. However, they are more likely to but the product if they know someone who has used it, and has had a positive experience with the company and the product.
With the rise of digital transformation in growing the culture of a business, most of the interactions between the customers and products take place online. Thus, it has become essential to not only focus on the physical workplace, but also on the digital workplace, with equal, or more emphasis. Even though customers may not be aware of who it is behind the screen, they will associate any interaction, whether positive or negative, with the company. Hence, employee experience creates the final and lasting image of a business.
The Power of Marketing
Over the past decade, customer experience has evolved from a “technology first” approach to a “customer first” approach, through innovative design thinking strategies and an empathetic approach towards the needs of the consumer. This empathetic approach towards the customer reinforces the idea that the consumer is always right, and puts technology in the back seat, with a direct focus on human to human interactions.
In this regard, employees and consumers are the same. If all consumers are customers who have accepted a product by purchasing it, then employees become consumers when they embrace the idea of the company. An employee who is yet to be hired can be likened to the prospect of purchase, and once hired, they become a part of the company culture.
Just as a business cannot exist without its consumers, a company cannot survive without its employees.
Your employees are customers when they are not at work. Every customer requires a company that will grant them ease of access, meaningful and helpful content, convenience, collaboration, a streamlined pace of work, and easy communication. All employees require the same thing from their company, albeit in a different context. While consumers are looking for these options in order to help them correctly employ the services of a company, employees require these options in order to have a better work environment, with better communications, and a place where it is easy to work.
Most companies provide on the job training for new recruits, in order to familiarize them with the business and acquaint them with the work culture and ethics prevalent there. If an employee finds that their expectations are not met, or that they do not find the work culture conducive to them, they can easily leave. This causes a huge budgetary hit to the company since the employee has received all the required training, but the former did not receive the needed returns on their investment. Thus, simply training an employee and getting them ready for the job is not the end goal anymore. In the modern age, people are looking for a means to make their jobs seem like not quite a burden as it was once deemed to be. A company has the responsibility to cater to those demands. Otherwise, they may find themselves losing in the bid to keep up with their competitors.
Technology as an enabler of employee experience
In the digital age, customers rely on the speed of technology and advanced devices in order to have a fulfilling brand experience. For example, major delivery service has started using drones to send products to customers, who receive their orders at a faster rate, at a time that is convenient for them. Since businesses can afford to spend millions of dollars to ensure that their consumers remain loyal to them, there is no reason why they cannot spend a small portion of that amount to have the loyalty of their employees as well. Experiences should be created in an equal manner, both internally as well as externally.
The modern workplace must always be planned by keeping the needs of the employees above all else. This is the best way a business can ensure the successful implementation of a digital workplace. Regardless of where the company starts, iterative success will only be guaranteed if all the steps it takes are thoughtful, relevant, measurable and accurate. All the capabilities and tactics which are used to enhance consumer experience can also be used to manage employee experience, without going out of the way or reinventing the wheel.
Catering To Both Consumers and Employees
There are several similarities between a consumer of a business and an employee of the same. These include the following:
Similarities between Brand External and Culture Internal
Brands have a responsibility towards their customers, as well as their employees. A business that constantly updates and revamps itself to keep up with the times will always find itself providing relevant content to its consumers. Similarly, with timely training and guidance, a business can ensure that their employees are up to date with the latest tools of business, and can create a meaningful experience for their employees.
Similarities Between The Employee Experience And The Customer Experience
The most important similarity between a consumer and an employee are their experiences with the company. The digital workforce is a great tool to enhance this experience on both fronts. Working and engaging with customers in a regular, consistent manner will help them become more acquainted with the brand, and what it offers on the market, ultimately culminating in consumers. Similarly, engaging with employees through continuous interactions and group activities will help create a positive work culture, ultimately resulting in a place where employees are met with affirmative workplace experience.
Similar Marketing Practices Can Be Used Internally
As stated above, businesses are the means to an end. When the business is a brand, its end goal is always the customer. Similarly, a business as a company should always make its employees the end goal. In the same way that consumers can be used to create brand advocacy, a business can also utilize its employees to develop cultural advocacy. This can be done through a digital transformation, such as creating a digital workplace through aspects such as online help and remote working.
The customer is always the focal point of a business, and products, processes, programs, services and support experiences are always built, keeping them in mind. The same adage, which is used externally, must be used internally for the employees of a company. This focal point, or the end result, should always guide a business and help them make smart and digitally adaptive decisions, whether it be for consumers or employees.
Many organizations pay extensive attention to how they communicate with the outside world. It must be as efficient and personal as possible. However, what about internal communication? Isn’t that the same for that? To make a difference as an organization, you have to improve your internal communication first. How do you do that? We help you on your way with these seven tips. Any organization can action these tips without engaging the professional support of a consultant.
The added value of excellent internal communication
What does internal communication do within an organization?
Let people find each other and let the dialogue develop
Ensure involvement of employees with each other and the organization
Provide clarity about the strategy, mission, goals and values of the organization
Let people work together better, faster, more effectively and more efficiently
Although these four elements partly overlap, you can call them all-important for the proper functioning of an organization. Adequately addressed internal communication makes organizations stronger, more efficient and more productive.
How can you improve your internal communication?
Communication professionals are not all satisfied with their roles. How organizations view, internal communication is also not always optimal. A few frequently mentioned areas for improvement from the study:
The internal communication department is often too late involved in decisions or projects
The internal communications team does not employ skilled digital marketing strategists.
There is not enough budget for internal communication
Top management does not set an excellent example in the field of internal communication
Senior management does not see the connection between employee experience and customer experience
Can you improve your internal dialogue as an organization? We provide the following seven tips that you can start using right away.
Prepare an internal communication plan
What role does your communication team currently play in your organization? In what way do you communicate now? So does that work? Where is improvement possible? You create an internal communication strategy or communication plan based on these questions.
You decide how concise or extensive you make your communication plan. You can improve your internal communication in different ways. Do not forget to ask everyone in your organization for input – if necessary, anonymously. This way, you find out what people are open to, or what their ultimate need is.
Connect teams and departments
Do the different departments or groups within your organization all know what they are doing? Also, do they sometimes work together? By bringing teams – even when they seem to be busy with other things – in contact with each other, you make the exchange of knowledge possible. Organize a joint brainstorm or a question and answer session. Sometimes tips or new insights can come from unexpected sources.
“You improve your internal communication and your organization as a whole if you ensure that departments do not alienate from each other.”
You improve your internal communication and your organization as a whole if you ensure that departments do not alienate from each other. Also, it promotes the bond between colleagues – and that can only benefit communication.
Ensure support and make clear who is responsible
Who is responsible for internal communication at your organization? Is there a separate department for this? Does it fall under the Communication or Marketing team? Alternatively, under HR? Internal communication is one layer below management for the majority of organizations.
Whatever department it takes on: ensure that it is clear to everyone responsible for internal communication. Put several motivated, enthusiastic people on it, which you know are also capable of motivating others. In this way, you create support within your organization, and as many people as possible participate.
An excellent example of a team member’s role responsible for success and support is a community manager. The community manager has the task of inspiring, motivating and addressing everyone within (and often outside) your organization. An essential link in your internal communication.
Use the tools that you have available
A digital workplace, collaboration platform or social intranet is a suitable tool for discussing projects, exchanging ideas and sharing tasks. It makes internal communication a transparent, smooth process. Nobody has to leave their workplace for it.
When choosing a digital platform, always take into account its functionalities, but also user-friendliness. It makes a big difference whether your employees greet it with enthusiasm or reluctantly (or not at all) start using it.
Do you have an intranet or a digital communication platform? Then you have a versatile tool at your disposal. You can go in many directions, especially in the field of internal communication. Analyze what you have and find out how the software can help you improve internal communication. For example, make use of audiovisual content, make data and statistics transparent for everyone, share your company story or spread your message efficiently throughout your organization.
Naturally, you also have options without a modern intranet. A newsletter by e-mail, a staff magazine, a meeting with participants from several teams – it works, but it takes a little more effort.
Provide and encourage room for feedback
Within organizations with a strict hierarchy, internal communication sometimes runs smoothly. Not so strange, since a message has to take many turns. Also, communication often only goes one way: from top to bottom.
An organization is bursting with knowledge and ideas. Also yours. However, do people also get the space to share this? You can only improve your internal communication if you let it come from both sides. The management team or management must not be the only one who communicates internally.
Give employees the space to use their feedback. Also, above all give them the feeling that they can do this freely. Let people give their opinion about your services or products, your working method, your organization as a whole or other specific issues. It is a shame if you do not use the knowledge and creativity that are present within your organization.
Avoid a flood of communication
With current technologies, it is much easier to spread a message quickly within a (large) organization. That is, of course, positive, but at the same time, there is a danger in it. Be careful not to flood people with information. Other important messages can get buried.
“Don’t flood people with communication. Otherwise, the most important messages can get snowed under.”
Newsletters, short messages, infographics, images, videos – all good, but choose the right moments for it. Too much communication is counterproductive. If you love people for their work because of the amount of information you send them, you know it’s better to turn the knob back a little.
As an organization, it is essential to stay in conversation with your employees. Continue to involve them in what you do and allow them to think along with you about issues that directly or indirectly relate to their position, your organization or the market in which you operate. Employees will come up with ideas faster if they are regularly asked.
Remember that you do not sell an advertising message or commercial pitch to your team. They quickly get through that. Authenticity is essential, even when it comes to internal communication. Finally, make sure that you communicate as directly as possible, instead of via detours. This way you prevent – just like with a whisper game – your message has utterly different content at the end of the line.
We have all heard the phrase “the customer is always right .” The sentence stresses the importance of putting the customer at the center of experience strategies. The phrase is many times misconstrued to mean, if the customer says sell me this $100 item for $10 dollars, you must. It more accurately represents the emotions and sentiment of the customer.
With customers being the utmost importance to achieve external and commercial objectives; the Employee Experience is something that gets a back seat or ignored.
A happy associate radiates what the organization wants to achieve. Their actions and attitudes fuel the consumer experience. The employee impacts, directly and indirectly, both the image and the reputation of the organization.
In general, customers are more likely to share a bad experience than a good one. The cost of poor customer service is on the rise. Think about the last negative experience you had with a company. What, or better, who was involved?
A workforce member who is not happy and interacts directly with customers is undoubtedly a recipe for disaster! Unfortunately, we have all dealt with people who do not want to work in the company, which ends up being very painful for the client.
Interactions with the customer are the prominent examples of the employee’s impact on the customer experience. You will need to step back and also observe your marketing team, your production teams, your manufacturing, the list goes on. Any employee who does not embody the company values, mission, vision will impact your customer’s experience.
Employee & Customer Experience go hand in hand
Both experiences are of the utmost importance; the Employee Experience at the center of the consumer’s journey, becoming more critical.
Not only must employees be empowered and incentivized to offer the best possible customer experience, but they must have an intrinsic desire to do so. However, how to create an environment that fosters this type of excellence? Here I share some good practices
Employers should look for ways to give employees the options to have more control over what impacts their experience, for example, their work hours through flexible work times. Today the work-life balance is increasingly difficult to achieve, making it a much-appreciated benefit. Because each person’s obligations outside work are different, flexible schedules are an excellent way to improve employee satisfaction.
It promotes social connections:
Socializing is a crucial component of happiness. Employers must find ways to foster social relationships, for example, an office arrangement that facilitates communication, consisting of workstations so that employees can see and talk in addition to encouraging birthday parties and select dates.
Promotes good health:
Poor health is not only harmful to the employee but also the company. Stress is one of the most damaging factors for organizational productivity, which is why companies should encourage employees to reduce stress levels and improve their overall health. Educating about health issues, providing reading materials, talks or classes. People cannot make positive changes if they don’t know what to change. Your organization can offer discounts for gym memberships or incentives for going to work by bike. “Promotions” such as these will encourage employees to make positive decisions outside the office and exercise regularly.
Create an environment of growth:
Nowadays people are choosing jobs not only for salary but also for the contributions and growth that this will deliver to their lives. Employers can create a growth environment through training, seminars and celebrating achievements. Employees should be encouraged to take risks and learn new skills. Employees get bored and lose motivation if they never get the opportunity to expand their skills and responsibilities.
Break the routines:
Surprises always attract attention and cause reactions in people. Finding different ways to surprise employees is an excellent way to enchant and keep them engaged. Small gestures that show that your time and work is appreciated (for example one day bring something for everyone to eat and share, a competition in which the prize can be half a day off, an office party)
Foster the Tribes:
People will tend to cluster in like-minded groups. This type of clustering is true for all people, not just the employees of your organization. It is vital as managers and leaders that you become aware of the common types that arise in your organization. Once you spot them, you must foster them.
An example would be a development company focused on end to end development across a broad market and industry customer base. Your core development team has a growing focus on a specific development language and methodology for delivery. The focus should not be on the code language or method. Instead, your focus should be on the team that has become passionate about the tools. Provide the team with a center of performance or excellence. Surface your champions and give them ownership over the success of the center.
Finally, when companies do not care about the experience of employees, there is a disconnection in many areas. This dissociation eventually finds its way to customers in the form of poor service and inferior products.