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6 Tips on Effective Employee Communication in Hybrid Workplace

Effective communication is a backbone of every successful business. If communication game is strong, a company can thrive in hybrid workplace. What does it take? We can start from employees communication with each other, what are the formats of communication company chooses to adapt, and finish with how fluent and clearly understood communication is office-wide. We hope that following 6 tips will help with your internal communication journey in a hybrid working field.

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Effective communication needs a strategy

Plan how communication will work in your company. When employees are divided between office and remote environments, it’s crucial to strategize. 

There are two modes of hybrid communication: synchronous and asynchronous. When making a  communication plan, make sure that those modes are in balance. To start with synchronous, this kind of communication happens at the same moment you transfer a message, thus, it requires an immediate response. Examples of synchronous communication are phone calls, video conferencing, instant massaging, etc. This communication mode tends to be forgotten in hybrid teams but it shouldn’t be avoided. Implement synchronous communication for feedback, problem solving meetings, brainstorm sessions, emergency situations and planning sessions. Synchronous mode works the best for team bonding as well!

Moving to asynchronous communication, we have to speak about time delay between receiving a message and responding to it. This mode of communication doesn’t happen in real-time, hence, works when we want to eliminate pressure of instant response. Here we talk about email, fax, shared documents, collaboration tools, etc. Asynchronous communication should be used to process high quality information because using this mode you set reasonable time expectations to action on a sent message and come up with a respond which might need more time or adjustments. Besides, some information really requires to sink in before taking any further action.

To determine your hybrid communication strategy, ask your teams what works the best for them. Here are some ideas for those questions:

  • What is the most convenient way to communicate with your teammates?
  • Do you choose how to communicate depending if a person you want to reach out to works at the office or remotely?
  • How do you communicate important information about work?
  • What are the most convenient communication tools? In what situations?
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Different message requires different formats

A meeting isn’t always an answer. To get the best results, select appropriate communication channel. It’s especially important when working in a hybrid workplace.

Of course, face-to-face communication is essential more than ever, hence, frequent meetings are recommended and even a must if there is a new hire in a team. In order for a new team member to feel included and adapt in a company smoothly, they need to feel comfortable knowing with whom they work. Additionally, if there is something urgent or requires discussion/instant feedback, without a doubt, organize a meeting! However, meetings are not always efficient, we’ll shortly tell you why. For instance, if you want to check the status of a project with a manager, it’s better to use messaging platform to get a response faster rather than waiting for him/her to reply to your email or take time to do a meeting. Do you need something urgently from your supplier? Make a phone call. Do you want to release a monthly statement? Sent it via email. Think not only about a content but also about a design, layout is essential to get employees engage in something important.

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Yes to visual communication

Communicators adopt more online channels, like so, visual communication is also growing in importance. It’s clear that people tend to engage more with visuals than they do with texts. 

Messaging apps, intranets, newsletter tools are designed to be used with visuals. Concentrate more on attention-grabbing photos, create unique designs, display information using infographics and don’t forget video content. Visual communication is the fastest way to share information because, as human beings, we first recognize things in the images. In this manner, majority of us respond quicker to images rather than texts. Visual communication not only saves time to process received information, but also provides clearance on what we want to portray with our message. In addition, using visuals in internal communication creates employee branding consistency, this can help staff members to understand the identity of a company they work in and remind them of core values a company wants employees to follow.

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Choose the right tone

Awareness of your tone is especially significant in hybrid workplace. The reason behind is that a big part of communication happens online and it means communication without facial expressions or hand gestures.

Different to a conversation face to face, online one can make us question what person’s intention or tone was when a message is written only on our screens. Make sure that your communication is clear and empathetic. It’s vital for a company to think about ways to share information of the best practices of tone of voice in written communication so everybody would be aware what’s expected from them and how to communicate in effective and respectful way in team’s and private messages. This way your company can establish a framework that it based on company’s values and allows employees to work efficiently even working with each other in distance. Communication guidelines allow full transparency between the teams.

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Recognize others. It’s important

As people don’t meet in the office so commonly, it also complicates employee recognition. This doesn’t mean that this part has to be forgotten about. Actually, it should be the opposite.

It’s essential to prioritize employee recognition and plan to attain it digital ways. Team members need to receive motivational feedback not only from their team leaders on one to one, but also be recognized publicly. Why it’s so important? Well, it does significantly help employees to feel more connected to their organization and rewarded for the results they bring when making extra miles. However, don’t forget to listen to each employee: how they prefer to be recognized? While somebody would enjoy public recognition, other’s would like to receive it personally. When in hybrid workplace, make sure that all employees get a shout-out in digital channels. Important notice: employee recognition shouldn’t be only one day, it should be all year around. One of the solutions to make recognition sustainable is to establish a reward program. 

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Clearance on clarifications

Communication moving to digital space means that some things can get lost in translation. It’s crucial to document during a meeting even if it’s a remote one.

Something said during online meeting could be misheard or misunderstood, and if employee isn’t present at the meeting, they must trust secondhand information which can be misinterpreted. Any solution? Force a practice of making notes and documenting a meeting. It might sound like an old-fashioned way but it works when important information is written down and later shared with participants of a meeting as a follow-up. Think about the right formats to share meeting details, it can be Slack, email or a newsletter if there is an additional information you want to share with meeting notes. This way any team member can be sure to not miss out on any valuable information.

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