As a communication professional, you can do a number of things in anticipation of organization-wide policy to facilitate hybrid working. Below I describe 5 initiatives, each of which is meaningful in its own right and can also provide the impetus for a broader hybrid work strategy.
1. Show leadership
We start, how could it be otherwise, with leaders. According to AT&T’s recent Future of Work survey , there is a huge gap between leaders and their people when it comes to hybrid work: 86% of the latter group would like to work hybrid, while 64% of their leaders want everyone back in the office.
Many communicators are close to leaders and can thus do missionary work. Show them that they can bond with their people from a distance too. Internal social channels, sucespecially suitable for this. Organize JAM, challenge or Ask-Me-Anything sessions with leaders. But make sure you are well prepared and direct. Help leaders perk of others ( Spotlighting ).
Leaders in dialogue
Social channels are ideal for leaders to engage with the entire organization. For example, you can organize these 3 types of sessions:
JAM – 2-3 pre-prepared questions from a leader on a specific theme within a set time, usually an hour. Everyone is invited and can respond. Both questions and answers are in text form. The leader does not have to respond to individual contributions. Gives a lot of energy.
Challenge – like a JAM session, but asynchronously: for example, participants have a week to respond. Less dynamic than a JAM.
Ask-Me-Anything – the reverse of a JAM session: participants can ask anything from a leader within an hour. Impossible to answer every question.
Whichever form you choose, make sure you are well prepared and coordinated. Afterwards, feed the collected ideas and opinions back to the participants and show that you are doing something with them!
To get leaders involved, it is important to link these activities to the strategic narratives of the organization, such as the marketing strategy, product development or a change process. An example from our consultancy practice: with the CEO of a well-known online travel company, we organized a Challenge on their internal social platform Workplace for about 15,000 employees. She suspected that many of them were unaware that the company’s mission was to use technology to reduce friction during the travel process. That is why she asked employees what frictions they experienced while travelling. After the Challenge, 80% of the employees knew the mission, but 5 product ideas had also emerged. Various local solutions to existing problems were also picked up by other business units.
The same CEO is also a great champion of equal rights for women. Once, when she had an appointment with Neelie Kroes, she asked the entire company for topics of discussion on Workplace. Afterwards VP Safety Email List she also extensively reported on her conversation with Kroes.
Leaders must therefore adapt in a hybrid setting. Communication professionals would also do well to examine their own working methods. Of course you have an important role in providing the organization with information, but far too often it remains with sending. In the new hybrid, digital work environment, pressing the publish button is not the end of your work, but the beginning.