I’ve often eliminated comms activities by asking the question “What would happen if we didn’t do that or communicate that?”. In change comms I think you’d be surprised how often the answer is “not much” or “nothing at all”.
My thoughts on modern employee communication…
I’ve never been a fan of employee newsletters. I think they are sometimes just communication for the sake of communication.
I studied UX design back in 2016 and my focus on comms in recent years has been about minimising overwhelm for staff and looking closely at the user experience of the Comms we push out or that employees consume.
And so I’ve often eliminated comms activities by asking the question “What would happen if we didn’t do that or communicate that?”
In change comms I think you’d be surprised how often the answer is “not much” or “nothing at all”.
I think our job as communicators of change is to make the complex feel easy and pumping out loads of push-comms on a topic tends to do the opposite. But it’s vital that anxious employees can find information if they want it.
I like to publish non urgent news on the intranet —as it happens— and then, as needed, send around an email pointing to recent intranet stories which has the dual effect of encouraging people to make good use of the intranet where invariably they’ll stumble across other things I want them to see or be aware of.
If I can help you reduce the overwhelm in your organisation and set your employees free to do their best work, then please get in touch with me.
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I think the reason #quietquitting is simultaneously “nothing new” but also “new all of a sudden” is because we have been relying on discretionary effort in the workplace for so long, it has become normalised.
This started after the 2008 crash when redundancies stopped being something that companies were embarrassed about but actually became seen by the market as a sign of strength, decisiveness and of being brave & bold.
Of course the people who paid the price are every single one of us; the ones made redundant, the ones left behind, the ones looking for work and the ones left trying to keep businesses afloat too. I see it in the job market: lots of jobs out there advertised, but in reality, companies seem to be figuring out how to operate with fewer staff, and hiring new people has been an absolute last resort. That creates unemployment and also fear among the employees who are left behind.
I’ve helped out in voluntary organisations for years and sit on committees and boards etc and it’s always amazed me how people came along all gung-ho at the outset, but quit as soon as they got a new job or have to go to work. The busy-culture meant we all got used to being Duracell bunnies but that led to burnout and fatigue at the slightest bit of adversity that comes our way.
Vague and half-hearted attempts have been made to address this, such as banning email being sent out of hours (something that I personally feel is well intentioned, but also insane in equal measure, given that it’s an asynchronous comms channel and supposed to work that way). But in reality people have just been quiet-quitting inside. That sounds like they’re doing something naughty but I think it’s just been a gradual withdrawal of the discretionary effort that became normalised.
So I think “quiet quitting” is probably a good thing to have happened because it’s a chance to reset and make sure that jobs/teams/companies are staffed properly so that once again we can have joy in giving discretionary effort when we want to…
… at our discretion.
Post inspired by https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220825-why-quiet-quitting-is-nothing-new