Communicating wisely in uncertain times may create the foundation you need to stay future proof.
Smart business leaders know that their employees are – alongside their product/service – their most valuable asset. When uncertainty becomes the new normal, it’s time to step up the communication game. Here’s my tips for strengthening value in the midst of plummeting profits
1. Be open about not knowing what will happen.
People will credit you for being open and up front, rather than leaving them speculating. Not always having the answer to everything “humanizes” you and makes your employees look to you as more of an equal. Just remember to stay calm whilst doing it.
2. Communicate what you know, regularly.
Make sure to share information rather quick. It is better it comes from you, than someone hearing it from someone else the next day. Use the same information channels and prioritize a social media solution where people can post comments rather than a one-way communication email. Focus on a two-way dialogue.
3. Show people a high amount of trust.
Allow a higher degree of flexibility for the employee to find the best solutions for them in this demanding situation. How do they work best? Would they rather start later if a morning workout makes them better equipped to sit the rest of the day working from their kitchen table? Would some people prefer splitting their day in two? The future is in any case more remote work, so you might as well try it out now. And that starts with trust.
4. Avoid “dividing” words.
Whether in person or via video calls, try to avoid using the words “we/me” and “you”. Have a more consolidating rhetoric by rather referring to “us” as a joint group. Although most people are already aware of it, it is easy to slip. And these small words quickly create a sense of division in us that may damage the credibility of your message as a whole.
5. Maintain a positive atmosphere throughout.
Although the times are tough and bleak, remember to communicate reasonable amounts of hope and humor. Try to highlight the positive aspects of a subject, by flipping it around: “Although this situation leaves us with less of X, it gives us an opportunity to learn Y”. Be on the lookout for small, uplifting stories to inspire your team to think alternatively.
Navigating through difficult times sure is a challenge for all of us. With the right communication, you should at least be able to steer clear of a few extra hardships ahead.