2021 communication forecast — organisational and change communication

2020’s silver lining … the year internal communication suddenly got the attention it deserves!

As many organisations scrambled to patch together solutions for keeping teams connected and informed in a time of global crisis, those who had previously invested in careful planning of internal communication, leadership culture and values-based decision-making were able to click into gear much more effectively.

Read on to find out how to carry this momentum into the year ahead.

Organisational and change communication in 2021

It’s impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all checklist for internal communication. Culture, the type of work a company does, the roles the workforce performs — all have a place in tailoring an internal communication approach that works. One thing everyone has in common though — it’s your people who keep the lights on. Your team are your brand. They need to know what’s going on, and they should be considered ‘mission critical’ to success.

At Rowland, we see internal communication as a core element of business strategy. Group Manager for Organisational and Change Communications Janet Houen shares her take on the hot topics and priorities in internal communication for the brave new world in which we find ourselves:

  • Maintain the momentum. Don’t let the learnings of 2020 go to waste. If you are still doing the same things you were doing in February 2020, then you are way behind the eight ball. Revisit internal communication plans and frameworks. Consolidate the gains and the learnings from last year, and ditch the dead wood. Streamline, simplify, target. Think about where future investment needs to be to make the most of digital and online tools and channels, but don’t forget the power of face-to-face (even if it has to be masked-up).
  • Give your leaders’ communication skills some love. Many leaders rose to the occasion — working remotely, Zooming at all hours, keeping the lines open about team members’ wellbeing and productivity. This was true including for companies that remained operational and in the traditional workplace. But it was tough going for many with team responsibilities — stressful, time-consuming and distracting. It’s time to chat with them to find out what they found challenging during COVID, what additional support they would have appreciated, their ideas for doing things differently in future. Build leader communication skills and training into KPIs. Give this some value as a leadership attribute, and watch the benefits and resilience grow.
  • Elevate the employee voice. Digital opens up so many exciting and cost-effective ways to recognise employees, to increase line-of-sight to leaders, and to create open channels for storytelling. This takes some curation, and undoubtedly works best for technology-enabled teams, but it has so much potential. Get your people engaged in whatever is your ‘burning platform’ for the year/s ahead. Encourage innovation and ideas-sharing, provide some incentive, refocus on a key business challenge, build a buzz, give them some kudos for stepping up. It’s also a great time to think about increasing employee ‘presence’ in your marketing and brand activities — building genuine and engaging opportunities for brand ambassadorship.

Ready to elevate internal communication in your business? Contact Rowland’s Organisational and Change Communication team today. And to read more about our communication predictions for 2021, see our last article 2021 Communication Forecast — Digital.