Wherever you are, and whatever your size or industry, these are uncertain times for all of us.
And as anxiety grows, employees globally are looking to the leaders of their organisations for guidance on what they should do, for reassurance on how their company will keep them safe, and to ensure business continuity going forward.
As a leader, you might not have all the answers yet. This is why now, more than ever, fostering two-way communication with your people is critical.
“It’s so important to engage with our employees and listen to what’s going on in the organisation.”Jonas Vig, CEO, Min Doktor
When you have a two-way dialogue with your employees, you can understand how they’re thinking and feeling in the moment — and it means that you will be better placed to take effective action. In return, you can reassure your people that you are taking steps to support them and establish much needed trust during a challenging and volatile situation.
It all starts with listening.
Why encouraging two-way communication is more important than ever
Min Doktor is a tech-enabled medical organisation that delivers digital primary care, plus in-person care in 21 clinics across Sweden.
As the pandemic has continued to unfold, Min Doktor CEO Jonas Vig has found that establishing a continuous two-way dialogue with his employees has been of utmost importance, because it helps him understand how they’re feeling.
“The key questions our employees are asking us right now are around what we’re doing as an organisation, and what strategies we will put in place to cope during the pandemic.”Jonas Vig, CEO, Min Doktor
“During this challenging time, it’s especially important to me that I maintain a connection with my colleagues and keep my ear to the ground,” he says. “It’s so important to engage with our employees and listen to what’s going on in the organisation.”
Like many organisations, Jonas has been monitoring employee survey comments to see how COVID-19 is affecting the wellbeing of his workforce.
“The key questions our employees are asking us right now are around what we’re doing as an organisation, and what strategies we will put in place to cope during the pandemic,” he explains. “In these uncertain times, our employees are also concerned about the future, and what that holds.”
Above all, employees need clear and responsive communication during this time — even if you don’t have all the answers yet — and especially if remote work has meant traditional communication channels are failing.
“Connecting to your organisation on a personal level at this time is very important,” Jonas notes. “Maintaining a two-way dialogue and responding to my teams’ comments in real-time through Peakon means that they feel heard and that their feedback is valued. It puts us in a position to take decisive action.”
How you can establish effective two-way communication with your employees
As we transition to remote working full-time in an effort to contain the spread of the pandemic, it can mean team members are feeling more isolated. Establishing a channel for clear two-way conversation during this time is critical to ensuring teams stay connected, not only on mutual goals and company strategy, but also on a personal level.
As Jonas notes, you may not have all the answers yet on what the future holds during these unprecedented times — or the action you will take. However, responding to employee feedback in any form will help your employees feel heard and valued during this time.
As anxiety increases, employees immediately respond and react to what’s going on around them — and they’re looking to their leaders for clarity on how to act. Maintaining clear and transparent communication with your employees will eliminate any mixed messages and misinformation, and will help your employees understand what you’re doing to keep them safe and healthy. This also provides an opportunity to establish trust and strengthen your bond with your people — by demonstrating your commitment to communicating in an open, transparent and timely manner.