Internal Communication after corona: What’s Next?
During the corona crisis many communicators proved their bold creativity: within days, they have created digital communications platforms, explored unused channels, produced large amounts of content. And what will happen from now on? We think it is time to review the current state of internal communication (IC)!
The corona pandemic has disrupted the everyday processes in many companies, especially in the matter of collaboration and internal communication. This confronted communication managers with a great variety of challenges over the past three months. But there were also some welcome side effects: The impossible became possible in IC. And at the top management level, some may have only realised during the crisis how important internal communication is.
IC in a state of emergency
As in every crisis, much was unclear during the early days of corona. As quickly as the virus spread in March, the need for communication increased rapidly as well. Constant adjustments to the measures taken by the authorities, information about protection and hygiene precautions, the reorganisation of operational processes as well as fears and concerns of employees led to a drastic increase in relevant topics. The limits and possibilities of one’s own internal communication became apparent – sometimes in an uncomfortable or even painful way.
The same applied to the degree of digitisation of one’s own company. Those who had already done their homework beforehand enjoyed an important advantage: they were able to send employees to their home offices and meanwhile kept up communication without complications. However, companies with a high percentage of (production) employees without access to a computer faced completely different challenges.
in the short run, creativity is winning
Only those who are willing to break new ground can maintain business operations during a crisis. Many vivid examples of small, mostly digital revolutions arose during the past months, especially in terms of internal communication.
Companies experimented with new IT solutions. Virtual team meetings replaced face-to-face meetings in the conference room almost completely. MS Teams has been rolled out company-wide and was being used as an employee app. Instead of townhall meetings with the production staff, there have been letters with QR codes, which led to videos. The website became a channel for internal communications – after all, everyone was glad to see how the company was working to stop the virus spreading as well as keep its employees updated even under difficult conditions.
Many companies, especially small and medium sized ones, have gone through a crash course in digital internal communications and a process of change which would normally have taken months or years.
Internal communication on a new level
We know that companies had to react immediately. Though it is quite normal that quickly implemented solutions do not fit smoothly into the internal communication strategy right from the start.
Three months after the peak of the pandemic, we can gradually return to normality in our everyday work. But time has not gone by without leaving its imprint on internal communication. We observe that many companies have taken internal communication to a new level. This step cannot and should not be reversed. But what is the next step?
Looking back as a foundation for the future
Let us take a deep breath for a moment and look back at the decisions and developments of the past weeks. What can we learn from them? What mistakes have we made? What was good? What was bad? Not only from our point of view, but also from the perspective of our stakeholders? Which internal communications channels are working, which should be expanded, and which tools should we leave behind? Based on a solid analysis, a concept can be developed that allows old and new channels to work together in an optimal way – either independently or with the help of external consultants.
how can this be handled?
- Take a close look and listen carefully, for example by carrying out small surveys or focus group interviews
- Define goals, for example in a workshop with the management
- Compare the actual with the desired situation
- Set priorities
- Plan professional implementation
Unique opportunity for ic
In fact, now is the ideal time to establish internal communication in a strategic way as everything is still in motion. The decision-makers have been sensitised and many of them are open to the idea of improving internal communication. The crisis has put internal communicators in a better position. And one thing can be taken for granted: The next crisis for sure is to come – if not corona, then it will be something else. It is time to prepare for it now!
Would you like to improve your internal communication? We would be happy to guide you through the conception and implementation process. Just give us a call.