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Future of Work Skill – Intentional Communication.

In the second part of my future skills series we are going to be talking about intentional communication. As many of us have realized the way that we used to work is unlikely to go back to what we used to know, with 72% of companies believing that they offer a hybrid working style post pandemic.

With this,
we need to have much more intentional communication with people in different
places, at different times to make sure the right message is delivered at the
right time, which is a skill that needs to be developed.

Firstly
lets take a look at how communication has changed during the pandemic. We have
changed from newsletters and town hall meetings to more distributed and
personalized communication. Leaders have realized the need to adapt their
communication at a time there is great anxiety and uncertainty. We have had to
increase our wellbeing check ins and daily team check ins to feel connected to
one another. Without seeing people and being able to sense a change in their
behavior or energy, we have had to harness our emotional intelligence for
better communication and relationships. We’ve had to change our team building
and onboarding of new team members to be virtual and make more of a conscious
effort to check in and be available. We’ve had to communicate more regularly
with changing business decisions whether that is continuing to work from home,
furlough, redundancy, changing business focus, business performance to name a
few – things have changed frequently and we’ve had to be agile with our response
and how we communicate that quickly and confidently.

So now
what? How is our communication going to change for the future?

The Social
Leadership

76% of
people said their trust in leadership increased during the pandemic because of
more frequent communications around business updates, check ins and more, so
team members are going to expect this going forward. No longer will employees
accept just newsletters signed off by the CEO, they will expect their leaders
to be more social and personal in their communication, and they will expect
more regular sharing of information. No longer will just positional authority
be enough but authority and leadership will underpinned on what is created and
shared. Mindset, skills and behaviour will be key for leadership positions to
create engagement and collaboration across businesses.

Emotional
Intelligent Communication

Credit: https://unsplash.com/@quinoal

We’ve had
to be extra sensitive with our communication during the pandemic with
heightened compassion to how our team members are feeling and how a message
will be received. Leaders will need to continue to strengthen their emotional
intelligence especially with their communication; they need to be more
intentional with the format of a message, the time, the right platform; whether
that is how you deliver feedback to you team member, how you capture different
audiences, how you communicate important business updates, emotional intelligence
will need to be applied. Even from a diversity and inclusion standpoint which
has become a huge focus for businesses this, you will need to think about how
do we make sure that everyone receives communication in a way that is suitable
for them?

Alignment
of People and Organization

The
pandemic highlighted the importance of being aligned to company values.
Employees will remember how the business responded to the pandemic and how they
treated their team members, their clients and how they tried to help the wider
community. From looking at how you recruit and onboard your new starters to be
aligned with the company to how you make business decisions that align with your
values, this is going to be fundamental with your communication and how you ensure
your team is engaged with the business and its purpose.

Multiple
Communication Flows

With the
likelihood that there will be different team members in multi places, we need
to be intentional about how we communicate with one another; downwards, upwards,
horizontally, and diagonally. What needs to be thought about is how do you communicate
across these multidirectional flows from delivering a message downwards, ensuring
employees can make suggestions, facilitating peer to peer communication and
knowledge sharing.

Diagonal or
multi-directional communication, using all of these different flows of communication
including upward, downward, and horizontal can only work when there are clear platforms
and expectations of communication for all team members.

Trust
and Transparency

Credit: https://unsplash.com/@yulokchan

Transparency
and trust during the pandemic have been pivotal and has either increased trust
in leadership or damaged it. Moving forward employees are going to expect that
leaders are more transparent with their communication. Looking at the future of
the workforce, Generation Z expect transparency. They have been raised to
question fake news, expect transparency with brands and use brands that align
with their values, so transparency is going to be non-negotiable. And with transparency
there will be trust.

Communication
across a talent eco-systems

The
pandemic has forced us to recognize that out talent eco-system is changing. Rather
than managing only the internal workforce in an office, companies have realised
they can establish and manage an extended talent ecosystem, comprising multiple
talent pools and spanning multiple generations allowing greater access to
skilled talent, reducing costs, flatten organization structures, meet changing
generational expectations and use technology platforms that seamlessly link
talent to tasks. So, what really needs to be considered is how you capture all
these audiences and communicate with them. The future of work will be less
about “using” technology, and more about “interacting” with technology, and the
challenge for businesses is managing multiple talent pools in an integrated
way.

Communication
for knowledge sharing

Credit: https://unsplash.com/@kumakum

With the
likelihood of our team members not being in the same place at the same time, we
need to think about how we share knowledge, whether that is skills sharing or
client updates, we need to be considered about who we share our knowledge with.
At the moment, the majority of businesses are all remote so in some respects it
is easier – you can all jump on a call but what about when you have some team
members who are remote and some in the office. How do you capture those you
can’t just walk up to their desk and tell them something? How do you capture
junior team members who learn by overhearing in the office? All these knowledge
sharing instances need to be thought about.

The
pandemic has allowed us to start to develop this skill, and has been, and will
continue to be, a learning experience and a skill we are developing as leaders,
team members and employees. But what we can do is make sure we have the right
feedback loops in place so that we can evolve and adapt as businesses. Being
intentional with our communication is going to be huge and more so now that
ever. So hopefully discussing some of these areas have helped you with some
considerations about your communication now and moving forward.

Part 1 – Listening

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