Those who follow cricket would have been rather perplexed at the recent chain of events between the world’s largest cricket board and the most successful skipper. While we can say that the captain was unceremoniously removed from his captaincy, the cricket board has all the rights to take such a decision. On the other hand, the outgoing ODI captain also spoke openly to the press and expressed the lack of proper communication and transparency around his exit as captain. We will not get into who is right and who is wrong in this case, but we all will agree that such things happen in organizations, and mostly it is nobody’s fault; instead, it turns out to be a communication gap.
Let us leave cricket for now and get back to our work environments. How often have we seen communication gaps causing a major impact on projects? On the other hand, we have also seen how efficient communication can turn out to be the secret sauce that leads to success in project execution as well as in team bonding. Attributes such as proactive feedback, timely status reports, and non-indulgence in gossip may well be enough for efficient workplace communication within the teams; the office environment may not necessarily need the pep talks that sports coaches usually give.
However, workplace communication took a back seat for most organizations due to the pandemic forced WFH. The focus was to ensure that the employees were equipped will all the necessary technology to continue delivering with the right quality and within the required security guardrails. Now, 20 months into the pandemic, remote teams and deliveries have streamlined, and it looks like WFH will continue to be the norm in some capacity. It is time we relook and redefine some of the pillars of efficient communication as they have been known to us till now.
Given the rapidly evolving work culture, Amit Kumar, Director of Pega Practice, shares some of his thoughts based on his experience at Evoke Technologies as well as on the interactions he has had with some of the industry leaders and colleagues. While conventional wisdom around workplace communication still stands ground, some minor tweaks and adjustments really help in the current scenario.
Be Patient and Listen More
Patiently listen with an open mind, try to give attention to what the other person is saying. This is even more important considering many employees have joined the organization during the pandemic. We may not have even met these team members physically and subsequently have not yet got the chance to understand the person’s nature and behavior.
Given the remote work culture, establishing a healthy and tech-enabled environment for team interaction makes all the difference. Two-way feedback is an essential component as it helps set clear expectations and puts the team members into a productive learning curve.
Lastly, it is also best to have clear communication instead of leaving any ambiguity – follow up with meeting minutes if required.
Remote working can take a massive toll on an individual’s mental and emotional well-being. Employees can feel isolated and anxious and may also miss important office communication. Additionally, video conference fatigue has also emerged as a new challenge during the pandemic.
At Evoke, we have tied up with leading mental health and behavioral well-being service provider to enable our associates to seek counselling whenever required. Also, we focus on shorter and more focused meetings to cut down on the day-to-day remote working stress. Likewise, we have also increased the frequency of our updates to the associates through town halls and newsletters.
It has become essential for organizations to take an integrated approach and manage internal communications keeping in mind employee well-being during this WFH phase. At the same time, many managers have been conducting informal get-togethers and lunches with small sets of teammates who happen to be in the same location. Of course, safety must be a priority; following the Covid protocols and planning with an open-air arrangement is preferred.
Top-Down Communication and Support
It has become imperative for the organization’s leadership to communicate clearly and compassionately with the employees. It removes potential miscommunication or rumors and keeps the employees aligned with the organization. Appreciation and recognition coming from the top are now key factors in boosting employee morale and motivation. Similarly, management needs to assure they are firm with the employee if they or their loved ones get infected with Covid.
Use of Technology
It is not just email; it is now time for collaboration platforms as well as other web and mobile apps to support the communication needs of the hour. While Microsoft Teams and Yammer are widely used for business communication, Zoom and Skype have also been preferred choices for video conferencing. Likewise, One Drive has been a file-sharing choice during remote work. Even WhatsApp groups have been used as an additional channel for intra-team communication.
As the pandemic continues to challenge us with new variants like omicron, we really wish the world gets over this crisis soon. However, we will need to continuously adapt to workplace needs and take even better care of our employees!
Evoke Technologies believes that value-driven work culture is key to delivering exceptional technology implementations. Our healthy work-life balance manifests in our efforts to drive better business outcomes for enterprises from across all business industries.
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