The summer can be a funny time for organisational communication in most workplaces. At any given time, many colleagues will be away on holiday and those who are in the office may find themselves covering more work than usual. For some teams, such as the admissions teams at universities for example, the summer is the exact opposite of quiet – peak activity and all hands on deck.
Since we don’t have the continental factory system of shutting down for several weeks while everyone has a holiday at the same time, communicators need to find a way to carry on being effective over the summer. Here are my 4 top tips for doing just that:
• Get a clear picture of levels of activity – is it a quiet period for your organisation or are you in a business where summer is peak time? Remember, the answer may be different across teams and departments.
• Avoid announcing anything with a major impact during this time, especially if it’s something negative. It can seem that you are trying to hide something or you can be accused of ruining people’s summer with bad news. Neither of these make for an engaged workforce!
• Ensure that your line managers are equipped to communicate with all their team members, including those who are currently on leave. They are the ones who will know who missed the team meeting or the newsletter release date and they are the ones who must be responsible for updating their people when they return. Research shows that staff look to their managers for communication and understanding – this is especially true when they’ve been away.
• Use the quieter time to review and plan communications for the months ahead. Every internal comms manager I know dreams of having the time to step back and take a more strategic view of things – the summer can be your chance.
I’m about to set off for a couple of weeks in the North East of England myself, so it seems unlikely that this year I will be taking photos like the one at the start of this blog. But it will be a really fun time with family and friends, castles, beaches and ice-cream (whatever the weather!). Whatever you are up to this summer, I hope you get to enjoy some rest and relaxtion.
If you need some help with communications planning at any time of year, please get in touch to see how I can support you.
Until next time