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Internal communications and employee engagement in a hybrid working world

We are all familiar with a whole range of different communications channels we can use to get messages across to our workforce. The 2020/21 pandemic has added even more channels to the already bewildering array. In fact, it’s probably pushed us forward a good ten years.

Each of these comms channels has its own uses but, to create a powerful communications strategy, you need to know which channels to use and when. We can easily use the most immediate channel to get a message out quickly, without stopping to think about whether it is correctly targeted or whether it will be effective.

Once upon a time, we had a traditional, tried-and-tested but limited set of comms tools. Most were based around passive media – noticeboards, company newsletters or beautifully-produced, full-colour quarterly editorials. The problem with these was that the information was already obsolete by the time they came out. The scattergun approach meant everyone received the same information, whether it was relevant to them or not. Things have changed massively, particularly over the past year or so.

Today’s communications, and the channels that surround them, move at a much faster pace. Therefore, our communications must be a lot more agile. We have an amazing array of much better and more immediate tools at our disposal, but this makes a well-planned and effective comms strategy even more important. Without one, it is too easy to fall into a black hole of information overload, where none of your messages have the impact they deserve.

The Engaging Internal Comms podcast was launched in June 2020 to capture the thoughts and ideas of a wide range of professionals working with these challenges in the internal communications and employee engagement profession. Series 2 of the Engaging Internal Comms Podcast featured a number of interesting discussions covering topics from engaging the new breed of remote workers to building employee advocacy. In this article, we take you through our five most popular episodes from this second series of the podcast.

Measuring online collaboration | S2 E4

In one of the most downloaded episodes of Series 2, the CEO and Co-Founder of SWOOP Analytics Cai Kjaer discusses the importance of creating opportunities for conversations and dialogue within large organisations.

SWOOP is a platform which uses analytics and data to help organisations and their people become better collaborators, something Cai admits he is passionate about. He uses the lessons he has learned in his career to explain to Craig Smith how organisations can go from one-way communicators to two-way collaborators.

Using data collected from his company, Cai reveals how those in internal communications can help improve their organisation’s strategies by using these online platforms for engagement rather than broadcasting. Tools such as Microsoft Teams, Yammer and Facebook Workplace are common in today’s working world and he explains how they can be utilised more effectively.

It is only through conversation that we can take people with us and generate the change we are seeking.

Listen to this episode here

Engaging multi-cultural employees | S2 E6

A question which often puzzles a lot of internal communicators is what is the most effective way to appeal to employees from a range of different backgrounds? ITER’s Stakeholder Relations and Internal Communications Manager Shira Tabachnikoff goes a long way to finding an answer for this, advising on some of the best practices for this conundrum.

Shira is well placed to discuss this topic, as she heads the communication for employees from 35 countries speaking over 40 different languages. This is a topic which has also been covered in Series 1 and she admits that it is not always an easy task.

Explaining the benefits of working within a multicultural environment to employees is just one of the techniques Shira advocates for to Craig, explaining the important part company values have to play in any diverse workforce.

I think empathy is truly the most important ingredient to engaging multicultural employees.

Listen to this episode here

Adapting internal comms to changing situations | S2 E8

The pandemic was one of the fastest moving situations seen in modern times and it highlighted the importance of an effective internal communication strategy to communicate these changes to employees. This is something Tanya Pakhuta has first-hand experience of in her role as Global Internal Communications Manager at LeasePlan.

She was forced to help the organisations near 8,000 employees adapt to the rapid developments of COVID-19, all while keeping them motivated and connected. Tanya, who is fluent in English, Dutch, Ukrainian and Russian, shares some of the new channels of communication she helped introduce on the back of this change.

From running global charity events to using Instagram to connect employees, Tanya speaks passionately about the successes of her team and what they have learned during this challenging period.

The pandemic might have been the best thing that happened to our careers.

Listen to this episode here

Employee engagement in a 24-hour operation | S2 E12

Not every organisation operates on a 9-5 basis, which can bring certain challenges for those looking to maintain high levels of employee engagement. Atlantis Resorts is one of these companies and it’s Director of Internal Communications Kristina Vaneva informed the Engaging Internal Comms Podcast how her team overcomes such obstacles.

Through her passion for employee engagement as well as her personal YouTube channel, Kristina tells the podcast how she is constantly trying to maintain an upbeat atmosphere for the organisation’s 2,200 employees. However, she explains why it is vital this is a two-way responsibility if it is to succeed.

Honest communication and demonstrating care through actions are just some of the techniques covered by Kristina in this episode, as she also discusses how her role was adapted to the new demands of the pandemic.

Every day is a huge challenge, but a fun one, so it’s within our DNA to be prepared, resilient and expect the unexpected.

Listen to this episode here

Organisational purpose and remote working | S2 E25

Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has been heavily in the UK spotlight over recent years because of the role it played throughout the pandemic. Communication both internally and externally has been key to its success as it helped the country deal with the unprecedented situation.

Niall Ryan is Head of Internal Communications and Engagement at DHSC and in this episode he offers an insight into how effectively the department managed its workers and its communications. Being under such scrutiny from the public, this was undoubtably a test for him and his team. Throw in the rapid shift to remote working in the mix and the department was under huge pressure.

Niall provides some reflections on what he could have done better to Craig, while also discussing some of the tools, techniques and channels that paved the way for strong collaboration between leaders and workers.

What has sharpened my focus is the need to make purpose and strategy relevant to individuals to showcase how they are making a difference in what they deliver.

Listen to this episode here

The Engaging Internal Comms podcast

The Engaging Internal Comms podcast publishes new episodes on a fortnightly basis every other Tuesday. It is available is available to listen and subscribe to on all major podcast platforms:

Craig Smith

About the Author

Craig Smith
The Big Picture People

Contact details
Craig Smith
+44 (0) 191 240 4050

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