Now that I’m separated from my office, it’s clear to me that in today’s virtual world everything relies on effective communication.
My team and I spend our days crafting content that helps our customers attract, engage, and hire the right talent, and keep in touch with their employees whether they’re working from home, the field, or are even furloughed.
If you’re leading an HR or talent function, you know how hard effective communication in volume is when you’re managing a changing workforce. Not to mention work from home issues, child and eldercare concerns, and third-grade math (why is it so much harder than we remember?).
Working from our home offices, we have to make an extra effort to communicate with each other to stay in sync and that’s especially true for leaders. One of the easiest ways to do that is through regular emails from the company or leadership team, and we’ve found there are some simple practices you can implement to help your remote workforce stay connected and reassured.
When I speak to friends of mine working across industries about the kinds of company communications they find helpful to receive in this time, I get some version of this answer: something practical and helpful in an understanding tone, on a schedule I can count on.
If you haven’t done a lot of communications like this with your employees in the past, it might feel daunting to reach this bar. You may also be understaffed and under pressure as you manage a staff that’s stressed and worried for their jobs and their health. Creating a company-wide email that strikes a balance between warm and instructive isn’t hard if you know the components.
Today, we’ll help you draft a company communication that’s packed with practical information, framed with empathy, and delivered at a predictable cadence. Take a look at the example below.
As we enter another week, I hope you and your families are doing well.
You can still expect to hear from us regularly through our company-wide updates.
Supporting you & your families
Pulling together as a community
Please continues to communicate any questions or challenges to your HRBP or to email@example.com.
Stay safe and be well,
[CPO or sender name]
You can see how it’s versatile to fit each week’s important messages. There are quick links to employee resources and most importantly, it breaks out of the rigid mold so your leaders can communicate at a deeper level. This email reminds employees that they are valued as a contributor and a person. You can download our example here and tailor it to your own needs.
What kind of practical information might you include?
How about healthcare: hotlines, telehealth portals, employee assistance programs, benefits information, etc. It may not be new information for your employees, but it sure feels that way if you’ve never had to consider hospitalization or medical leave before.
Include links to these programs in every email. Your employees might not need those links today but repeating them in every communication is reassurance that when they do, those links will be as close as their inbox. No one wants to go digging for an employee manual in a crisis.
Of course, there are other ways to reach out to employees if email isn’t where your teams spend their days. Text messaging works great for communicating with employees in the field and shift workers. Click here for more ideas on how to keep in touch with employees.
A Word on Tone
Some companies turn out HR communications that are formal and stiff. This isn’t the time for formality or distance (and it’s definitely not time to be glib). It’s time to live your values and project a tone that’s empathetic and reassuring to communicate that your organization will make it to the other side of this moment in time – together. Your people are your company. Make sure they know it now more than ever.
A Word on Timing
Consider how you will schedule these communications and include that in your email. Are you going to send these daily, weekly, monthly? Whatever you choose, make it clear and this will be one thing your teams can count on in these uncertain times. At iCIMS, we get a version of this email in our inbox, weekly. I know my teammates and myself look forward to receiving and reading it – every week – even if the employee resources may stay the same week to week. It reassures us that our leadership is on top of the situation and our concerns matter to them.
An email might not seem like a particularly compassionate, world-changing thing to do in a pandemic, but remember, there’s comfort in connection. Your active and furloughed employees are eager to hear from you.
If you have ten minutes and you need more resources on how to stay connected to your workforce, check out A Talent Leader’s Guide to Hiring in Up and Down Times.