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Effective communications are crucial to any organisation. But never more so than now, when the pandemic has led to many employees spending large swathes time working from home this year.

In many of these remote working scenarios, HR has become something of an ad hoc communications centre.  

A 2018 study by The Economist, entitled Communication Barriers in the Workplace, revealed that an absence of clear internal communication had a significant knock-on effect to both productivity and morale.     

The report found that respondents believe poor communication led to projects delays and/or failures (44%), a drop in morale (31%), missed performance goals (25%) and even a direct hit on the bottom line with 18% in lost sales.

With that in mind, here are three handy tips to improve your organisation’s internal comms. 

#1 Video meetings

While video meetings have been invaluable, it is worth resisting the temptation to build an over reliance on them.

Contrary to what you believe you are experiencing in a Zoom call, according to Marc Powell, managing director at software firm Emalogic, you will most likely be getting only about 50% of the person(s) body language cues – even though it feels like we are fully connecting – compared to when you are in a face-to-face meeting with them.

“Video images of colleagues can be deceptive and can draw your attention away from really focusing on what they are saying,” Powell told HR Grapevine. 

“(Be) careful not to rely too much on the video and listen hard to their words. We are far more adept at picking up cues from audio than video as we have been using the phone for years,” he added. 

“When you are watching someone in a video meeting remember, it’s not really them, it’s a pixelated image of them. They’re probably miles away.” 

#2 Turn off your self-view when in a video meeting

“You wouldn’t look at yourself in a mirror when in a face-to-face meeting. Even worse imagine being in a meeting where everyone kept glancing at themselves in a mirror,” explained Powell. 

On video calls is easy to get hypnotised by your own self-view. It’s a huge distraction that should be turned off whenever possible. However with Teams, for example, Powell noted you cannot turn off your self-view, but you can get around this by placing a Post-It over your image. 

#3 Keep emails to a minimum

Something that you chew up your valuable time inordinately is being part – or instigating – unnecessary CCs email trail. It’s worth asking yourself: Is this message going to add value? Will they read it? If the answer is ‘no’, don’t send it. 

“Sending unnecessary emails means adding to stress and impacting productivity – we all need to be responsible for this,” said Powell.

“Similarly, be responsible for what you receive too. If people are sending you CCs that you don’t need and don’t want, politely send them a message to let them know you would prefer not to receive that type of message as it is of no value to you,” he added.

Parts of this article first appeared on the HR Grapevine website.