Meet People Where They Are: Getting Workplace Communication Right

Brendan O'Neil
Brendan O'Neil
Published on 
5.10.2022

happy colleagues communicating with each other

Did you know that workplace communication is the biggest employee pain point in a hybrid world? 

In a world of unknowns, clear is kind. When you have a geographically distributed team, you need to get clear on what is expected, what is unacceptable and what is driving the organization each day. 

Communication to teams can take a lot of different forms. From a formal email to a video clip, hybrid teams have forced leaders to become a bit more inventive in their distribution methods. 

For leaders, it’s about figuring out WHAT needs to be communicated. This is where trial and error may have to come out to play but first let’s take a look at some of the numbers from our latest report with our friends at Workable: 

  • 56% of respondents believe communication is MORE important than ever. 
  • 47% of people prefer big announcements be clearly communicated over email
  • 40% prefer announcements be communicated through a combination of channels
  • 27% of participants chose communication as the primary thing they wish their manager would improve on; followed by feedback and support (both tied at 20%)

Employees Want Clarity in Hybrid Working Environments

The numbers tell us a few things. First, communication is high on the priority list for hybrid employees. Second, people are looking for managers to communicate even more than they are at this moment. And, third, there is no such thing as over-communication: clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. 

But let’s break the data down a bit more. The clear preference for email OR a combination of methods suggests that over-communication is what people are looking for, and, when forced to choose, they want things clearly laid out and written via email. 

Clarity is the big need here and leaders need to be incredibly intentional about how and what they communicate to teams. 

Leaders are responsible for charting this uncharted territory and in the world of hybrid work, that means clearly defining expectations, intentionally building relationships and laying the groundwork for a shared purpose that every team member can rally behind. 

Creating Communication Strategies That Flow with Hybrid Work

It may seem like hybrid work is old news but for many people, doing a 180 on the traditional work-life comes with a bit of fear and uncertainty. People want to know what they are getting themselves into, they want to understand what is expected of them and they want to connect with their teams in an authentic way. 

The only way to address this uncertainty is to over-communicate. 

The obvious recommendation? Share more with employees, even if you’re unsure about the future, to help improve employee well-being. The not-so-obvious one? Ensure you have the mechanisms in place to share important information, improve tools for employee feedback and check in more than you think is necessary. Employees don’t just want communication, they want an abundance of it. 

Communication is, by nature, a powerful builder of trust – for relationships both at home and in the workplace. And it’s crucial here. In fact, 56.5% say that communication is even more important than ever in a hybrid work environment, with an additional 42.5% saying it’s just as important. 

Ultimately, intentional relationship-building needs to be proactive and prescriptive. A key part of this process is thinking through ways to lay the groundwork for connection, whether that be weekly meetings or randomly matched weekly coffee chats. When you build a fertile environment for relationships to organically grow, you’ll find that the trust and connection naturally flow.

Getting the right information to the right people at the right time

Unpredictable workplaces create unpredictable workplace communication. Robin’s features help push the right information to the right people at the right time.

Collaboration tools like slack and teams can fail for workplace communication because the people who need to receive information related to the office changes on a daily basis. It’s hard to get information to the people that actually need it because among all the other announcements, yours becomes noise and gets lost. We understand the flow of people through your offices and workplace, and we work to embed the information directly into the workflows where people need to see it.

Want to learn more about the how to optimize your hybrid spaces and workflows? Watch Robin's Director of Partner and Channel Strategy, Brendan O'Neil, chat about harmonizing hybrid work at a panel during the Digital Workplace Experience Virtual Conference.