The ability to effectively communicate with all employees, regardless of location, is essential to the overall success of any company. Maintaining a high level of contact and engagement presented a real challenge for companies around the world last year, as the pandemic forced employees to work remotely. Driving connections and ensuring timely dissemination of information across a dispersed workforce required an entirely new strategy for many.
Now, as the vaccine rolls out, companies are beginning to open their doors again and invite employees back to the office. While specific strategies remain fluid and vary across and within industries, the vast majority of U.S. office workers are expected to be called back to physical locations this year. Specifically, about two-thirds of companies are planning a full or hybrid return to work, according to an April survey by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte. About 25% of U.S. companies have already reopened their offices, according to the same survey.
The only hiccup? A significant number of employees are not necessarily looking forward to a return to the way things were before COVID. In fact, a recent Reimagine Work employee survey reported that 52% of employees prefer to move to a more flexible hybrid working model, with 11% pushing for fully remote.
With increased expectations for flexible working models in the future, leadership must plan for how best to engage and communicate with their workforce, regardless of where employees are located. Virtual Corporate Town Halls have emerged as a solution to align the entire company on strategy and goals, facilitate connections between management and employees, drive excitement, and define and build company culture.
According to a recent Forbes article, “Done well, [corporate town hall] meetings energize a team. They reinforce clarity and foster a sense of togetherness. Done poorly, all-hands meetings waste time, create resentment, and leave a team more disconnected. Powerful all-hands meetings surface key issues, celebrate progress, and offer everyone — from senior leaders to interns — a chance to ask questions. Running them regularly creates a cultural drumbeat helping everyone bring their best to work.”
Effective, timely communication
In a recent Return to Workplaces survey, 68% of respondents expected to implement a hybrid model of working between physical and virtual work. As organizations contemplate and execute the most effective internal communication strategy for their teams, virtual meeting tools will continue to play a key role in connecting with employees across the globe and creating organizational alignment. These tools have been put to the test over the past year and are well-suited to meet the changing needs of what will likely be a fluid transition.
Not only can Corporate Town Halls and other virtual solutions ensure that key updates and messages are communicated across a dispersed workforce, but the experience enabled by these tools can also help define and build company culture and drive increased confidence among employees. From quick internal updates to regular all-hands meetings to an annual conference style, companies have the ability to deliver the right event tailored to the scope, timing, and frequency of your town hall. Even as companies move between the in-person, remote, and hybrid models, these solutions provide the opportunity to foster a culture that can be both remote and high-touch.
These platforms also provide a secure solution, which is of critical importance when sharing sensitive or confidential materials. Security becomes increasingly important with a dispersed workforce, as organizations work to ensure that only the correct participants receive information or confidential insights intended specifically for employees.
Source, Support, and Engage Talent from Anywhere
For companies with multiple locations, particularly those with international offices, travel restrictions, and cost constraints can significantly impede their ability to gather employees to hear from management. Much like investors, employees place a high value on the ability to connect directly with members of the leadership team. Not only does this kind of C-suite access help to increase employee morale but can also help in attracting top talent. Leveraging virtual Corporate Town Halls to communicate effectively across the globe opens up opportunities to hire from international pools of talent.
Additionally, given the use of stock options to help attract and retain key talent, it’s important to remember that many employees are also shareholders. Corporate Town Halls can be used as an opportunity to strengthen your internal communications strategy by updating employees after earnings while fostering better connections between leadership and global teams. Access to a platform for communicating the value of investing in your company can also help align internal stakeholders on important information, which drives transparency, improves engagement, and enhances corporate culture.
As investor interest in ESG initiatives continues to grow, how companies prioritize, treat, and listen to their employees has become increasingly important. This past year has shifted the way companies view travel and highlighted the fact that many employees want the option to reduce the amount of travel required of them. In fact, a Deloitte survey conducted last year uncovered that 61% of millennials and 57% of Gen Z would prefer video conferencing instead of traveling for work. Virtual Corporate Town Halls provide employers with an opportunity to address these concerns without sacrificing their ability to connect with their teams.
Additionally, a reduction of that travel and the resulting shrinking of a company’s carbon footprint can have significant ESG implications. And finally, with fewer employees expected into offices, less workspace is needed. This means less waste, fewer natural resources used, and a reduction in pollution related to commuting.
To learn more about how virtual Corporate Town Halls can enhance communications and engagement with your employees, visit our website.