Looking to leadership during times of change
In times of challenge and uncertainty, employees look to leadership to carve a path forward. During the pandemic’s height, incorporating guidance from the C-suite was a hallmark of many internal comms strategies.
This emphasis on leadership will continue as your organization transitions to your next normal and builds the foundation for your recovery. As a result, expect your C-suite to turn to internal comms to craft messages that reach your entire workforce. More than two-thirds of internal comms professionals have already noted an increase in visibility from leadership, a trend that is likely to continue to build over the coming months.
One company that has led the way for connecting leadership to employees is Cardinal Health, one of America's largest healthcare enterprises. As recently featured in a blog written by Kerry Christopher, Cardinal Health's Vice President of Internal Communications, Unily has been instrumental to their communications throughout 2020. In this piece, we summarize what Kerry believes has been vital to their team's success despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new playing field for internal communications strategy
The new world of work poses emerging challenges for every profession, and internal comms is no exception. With nearly half of all workers planning to continue at least part-time telecommuting in the pandemic’s aftermath, internal comms must adapt their strategy to engage both remote and in-office audiences. When it comes to leadership communications, visibility and transparency will be top priorities to ensure your teammates feel connected with your C-suite, whether they’re working from miles away or merely across the hall.
In addition to decentralized work environments, internal communications teams must also devise strategies to engage their colleagues on the frontlines. Unlike office-bound departments, employees in fields like manufacturing and customer service may not have the option to work from home. As a result, messages must be tailored to reflect the realities these teams experience and include communications that specifically relate to their roles.
7 steps to futureproof your internal communications strategy
As leaders reimagine their world of work, it is internal communications that will lead the way in aligning the workforce against this vision. Future corporate communication strategies will be decidedly inclusive, agile, and digitalized. To succeed in this new era, internal communications teams will move towards an omnichannel approach that brings the consumer experience into the workplace.
3 internal comms tools that are game-changers for leadership
Internal comms teams have several priorities to juggle. From connecting remote colleagues to engaging your frontline, your strategy for leadership communications requires an omnichannel approach that can be tailored to reach key audiences. The following internal communication tools can prove game-changing for internal comms teams:
#1. Videos and podcasts
The old adage “out of sight, out of mind” can ring true for leadership communications. Your employees don’t just want to read about what your CEO is doing, they want updates straight from the source. Given that viewers retain 95% of a video message versus just 10% from text, the medium can be a particularly effective tool for updating your colleagues on news and policy changes.
#2. Virtual meetings
While packed in-person meetings may be off the table for quite some time, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring together large groups to discuss future strategy virtually. By hosting group discussions online, team members from across the globe can weigh in and enjoy virtual face-time with their colleagues. To make the most of these digitally-driven gatherings, consider setting aside time for smaller group discussions and publishing the meeting highlights on your company’s intranet so everyone can remain aligned and updated.
#3. Email newsletters
Despite some nay-sayyers who may claim that email is dying, the medium is actually very much alive and currently evolving. Emails can catch your colleagues where they are (in their inbox) and push them back to your central comms hub to gain more information.
To take the efficacy of email one step further, finetune your messaging strategy to ensure key communications reach the right audience. If your CEO wants to update your Customer Service team, you can specifically target this department and rely on a mobile responsive UX to ensure a rich experience for frontline colleagues.
Spotlight on Cardinal Health: using their healthcare intranet to keep connection high
With approximately 50k employees in 46 countries, a comprehensive communications strategy is crucial to unite Cardinal Health’s dynamic workforce. While updating their employee website had been on Cardinal Health’s radar for some time, the enterprise finally debuted a new healthcare intranet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new platform has enabled the enterprise to respond to growing demands with increased efficiency and has armed their entire workforce with the tools to help their customers deliver the highest standards of patient care. As a result of Cardinal Health’s innovative internal comms approach, a recent survey reveals that employees have more trust in leadership and confidence in the future than they did before heading into the pandemic.
"The site has great search capabilities, contemporary design, is viewable on any device and soon will allow us to translate into multiple languages and even reach employees in our distribution centers, labs, and transport networks for the first time. It’s a real game changer for us."
Take advantage of your intranet to enhance leadership communications
As your organization transitions to your next normal, your colleagues will turn to internal comms for updates and opportunities to engage directly with decisionmakers and members of your leadership team. If you’re looking to upgrade your internal communications strategy with an intranet, get in touch with our digital workplace experts.