In less than a month, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed the workplace. This dramatic shift has made the job of internal communicators even more challenging—and critical—than before.
While every organization has unique hurdles to overcome, all communicators share the need to keep employees informed and engaged through this ever-evolving crisis.
We spoke with Laurie Madden, senior advisor of digital projects, corporate communications at Phillips 66, about the strategies and tools she’s using to keep employees connected.
Here’s what we learned:
Ragan: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced from COVID-19 as a communicator at Phillips 66?
Madden: Managing the sheer volume of information while adjusting to a new work environment. We have to make sure the right message comes from the right people at the right time.
That’s meant working with our leaders to establish a regular cadence for corporate level communications. Our site communicators then can work around that cadence so we can avoid saturation. This has all happened while people are learning new technology on the fly.
Ragan: What strategies and tactics are you using to keep remote employees connected to each other?
Madden: One of the first things we did was a pulse survey to understand employee communication preferences and to grade what had been done to date. The results helped us move forward more effectively and address issues quickly.
Supervisors are holding remote town halls on a regular basis so there’s ongoing conversation around employee concerns and questions. We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the use of the video conference calls. It makes a difference when you can actually see each other and not just be a voice in a box.
Ragan: How are you using your employee app differently in light on the ongoing health crisis?
Madden: We’re reaching out through push notifications on the mobile app reminding employees about important information. We also encourage communication through the comments feature on content in the app.
From a content perspective, we’re trying to get ahead of the needs of our employees by being proactive with the information they are looking for, i.e. benefits, safety, etc. We’re also including much more local informational content relevant to our sites—for instance, local government notifications about status/conditions, stay at home orders, road closures, etc.
We feel the mobile app has in important role to play in building morale and keeping our employees connected as a community. We look for opportunities to lighten things a bit, while acknowledging our “new normal,” with hashtag campaigns and user-submitted content. The response has been heartwarming.
Learn more about how Phillips 66 is using its mobile app to keep remote employees connected during The Best Practices in Internal Communications and Culture Virtual Conference April 21-22. You’ll hear interact with communicators at top organizations and hear how they’re adapting to the current public health crisis.