What Role Does Communication Now Play in Companies?By Carlos López | Wed, 07/14/2021 - 12:54
It has been nearly 17 months since we started the confinement due to the global health crisis that, besides taking us by surprise, put us in a scenario that few envisioned. Gradually, we are seeing the light of a new era characterized by a digital transformation, including in how we communicate. In this era, it is of the utmost importance to anticipate and to adapt the traditional forms of communication to the new environment in such a way that it allows us to provide information and have it available in a timely, quick, simple, truthful and verifiable way. This will let us continue connecting with our different target audiences and, in the case of companies, with their employees, customers, and suppliers.
This scenario leads us to appeal to our collective intelligence, not only on a business level but also on a personal level, to strengthen collaboration and communication between the different groups or elements that coexist within a company. In addition, we should always adopt a perspective based on the point of view of our customers, suppliers, and stakeholders to maintain a functional ecosystem that helps us find new ways of doing things and produce true cooperative and informative processes.
Therefore, the role of communication is a key element in generating true teamwork when working remotely and without the usual physical contact, so that our colleagues’ commitment and responsibilities are not only unaffected but even favored.
However, the migration to a digital communication scheme involves not only opportunities but also great challenges, since we cannot assume that all employees have available resources to access digital media, or that they are necessarily skilled in their handling or inclined to use them. Given that, the company must also take into account its different audiences and provide the necessary tools so that they can operate under this new scheme.
When migrating from an on-site scheme to a remote or hybrid one, communication strategies must focus on:
- Valuing and promoting the well-being of the most important pillar of the organization: people, by creating an environment of prevention and security, which includes communication as an indispensable tool to generate such an environment.
No doubt, taking care of our employees and their loved ones improves work efficiency and reinforces commitment.
- Having multidisciplinary groups made up of leaders, physicians, and specialists in health and wellness, so that, with their experience and vision, they can design the strategies and messages that will make employees and their families feel like the company’s most important element, which will be reflected in the results. It is essential that employees know that, for the company, their health comes before any work-related concern.
- Diversifying messages and media. Communication can neither be the same for everyone nor can it be delivered in the same way. One of the main challenges of this pandemic was the diversification of spaces, roles, and resources. It is important to consider that a single medium or a single message is not valid for everyone.
- Committing to transparent and honest communication. Be clear and consistent from the beginning and maintain coherent and reciprocal communication at all times, providing certainty about experiences both inside and outside the company. It is important to open communication channels to listen to employees.
- Being constant and timely. The farther away we are, the closer we should feel. Maintaining constant and timely communication will allow us to continue feeling close and part of a team. Employees require a sense of belonging and communication helps us generate this bond.
- Providing training in the use of digital media. The forms and processes of communication change when we use digital media. It is necessary to train employees in the techniques and in how they should act when operating in this environment, as well as in which situations this form of communication is more effective or when it is necessary to manage its weaknesses.
- Acknowledging and thanking employees for their commitment, passion, and dedication in facing the current pandemic, who whether working from home or on-site, demonstrate responsibility when performing their activities and go above and beyond. These are challenging times in which they may be experiencing difficult moments derived from a health crisis. Being present for them, and letting them know that their effort is valued, is of great worth to each of them.
It is also worth mentioning that good internal communication will have a positive impact on external audiences. For example, in the pharmaceutical industry, members of the sales force are essential because they are the first to have contact with physicians. It is up to them demonstrate to these health professionals the company’s attention and care.
Companies experienced a significant challenge at the beginning of the pandemic when they had to send 100 percent of their administrative staff to work from home because this policy was just beginning to consolidate. The trust placed in each of the collaborators, together with clear, precise, and open communication, as well as the material support provided to develop this working modality, were the key elements to maintain a reciprocal commitment with employees beyond the facilities themselves. If this consolidates despite the pandemic, it will, undoubtedly, make it possible to have teams that are committed to their companies and eager to win achievements.
On the other hand, as indicated earlier, we find ourselves in an environment where we must take advantage of the opportunity and acceleration offered by the digital era and new technologies to create an environment of greater closeness with our audiences, which we did not previously have in mind or that was very difficult to do, taking advantage of every space or channel available to companies.
With all this, we must not forget the importance of coherence in communication within companies. We cannot talk about something that is not experienced internally. During difficult times for the world, when the health and well-being of families are essential, we must not only communicate and understand these concepts but also experience them. Communicating is useless if we do not experience these concepts personally.
For these reasons, we regard communication as an essential element for adaptation and a transversal tool within organizations that will allow us not only to diminish the negative effects from the transformed environment we live in but also to take advantage of the opportunities it offers.