Hybrid teams are those that are made up of both in-office and remote employees. And while there are benefits to having a hybrid team, there can also be challenges when it comes to communication.
This guide covers some of the best practices for internal communication within hybrid teams so that everyone can stay on the same page (literally and figuratively).
Table of contents
- Why internal communications matter now more than ever
- Internal communication challenges with hybrid working
- Eight best practices to follow
The way we work is changing.
This means that the way we communicate with our colleagues also has to change.
Internal communications are more important than ever before, as they help to keep employees informed, engaged, and motivated – no matter where they are in the world.
However, many businesses are struggling to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of work, and don’t have internal communication practices in place to support their employees in a hybrid work environment.
In fact, 9 out of 10 business leaders report having experienced the adverse impact of poor communication at work.
With employees working in different locations, it can be difficult to know which communication channels to use.
There is a danger of over-communicating or using too many channels when trying to get the message across.
Messaging apps like Slack, multi-purpose communication platforms, or even good old-fashioned email can all be used to communicate with your remote employees, but it can be difficult to know which one to use and when.
If you manage a hybrid team you need a tool that is designed especially for remote team meetings. See how to improve your remote and hybrid collaboration.
It can also be difficult to measure the impact of internal communications and to get feedback from employees.
If you’re sending out a company-wide email, it’s hard to know if people are actually reading it, or if it’s getting lost in their inboxes.
And, even if you do manage to get people to read your internal communications, it can be difficult to gauge whether or not they actually found it useful or relevant.
This is where tools like TinyPulse can be helpful, as they allow you to send out regular surveys to employees to get feedback on various aspects of their job, including internal communication.
Another challenge of hybrid working is that it can split the workforce into two groups – those who are in the office, and those who are not.
This can lead to a feeling of isolation for those who are working remotely, as they can feel left out of company culture and events.
This is why it’s important to make sure that internal communications are inclusive of all employees, no matter where they are located.
This can be done by using a variety of communication channels and making sure that your company culture encompasses all staff, even if they’re not in the office.
By connecting and engaging all of your employees with creative internal communications, you can create a cohesive company culture that accommodates all.
Finally, another challenge with hybrid working is onboarding new employees.
With some employees working in the office and some working from home, it can be difficult to provide a consistent onboarding experience.
This is why it’s important to have a clear and concise internal communications plan in place before onboarding new employees.
This will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and that new employees feel included and supported from day one.
Before you start sending out internal communications, it’s important to take a step back and think about who needs to know what.
Not everyone in your company needs to receive every communication, so it’s important to segment your audience and target your messages accordingly.
This will help to ensure that your employees are only getting the information that they need when they need it and that your internal communication is more effective overall.
In the modern digital workplace, it’s vital to tailor your messages to each segment of your audience.
What works for one group of people might not work for another, so it’s important to consider the different needs of each group when crafting your message.
For example, if you’re sending out a company-wide email, then you’ll need to make sure that it’s clear and concise, as people will only have a limited amount of time to read it.
However, if you’re sending out a more detailed message, then you can keep it clear and concise but direct people to repositories or other channels for more information.
The key is to think about what each group needs to know, and then tailor your message accordingly.
As we mentioned before, there are a lot of different communication channels available, and it can be difficult to know which one to use.
The best way to figure out which channel to use is to think about the message you’re trying to send and the audience you’re trying to reach, as well as looking at any data and trends from similar activities in the past.
For example, if you’re sending out a company-wide announcement, then an email is probably the best channel to use.
However, if you’re trying to have a more informal or instantaneous conversation with your remote team, then the instant messaging channels on Slack might be a better option.
When was the last time you reviewed your tech stack?
If it’s been a while, then it might be time for an update.
There are a lot of great options out there, so take some time to research the different options and find the ones that will work best for your organization.
Consider which tools might be the most suitable for your hybrid team, and invest in those first.
It’s important to celebrate successes, both big and small.
This will help to build a positive company culture and keep employees engaged.
There are a lot of different ways to celebrate success, but some great options include sending out company-wide announcements, hosting virtual happy hours, or giving out spot bonuses.
No matter how you choose to celebrate success, make sure that you do it in a way that makes everyone feel included.
When it comes to internal communications, it’s important to focus on engaging content and initiatives.
This will help to ensure that your employees are actually reading and interacting with the communications that you’re sending out.
Some great ways to create engaging content include using infographics, hosting virtual team buildings, or running contests.
It’s also important to check in with your team on a regular basis.
This will help you to gauge how effective your internal communications are and make sure that everyone is on the same page, no matter where they are working.
To do this, you can host regular online meetings, send out surveys or simply check in with people regularly on a one-on-one virtual stand-up.
You can also use instant messaging channels to have quick conversations with your team and keep them engaged.
Digital exhaustion is a real problem for many people, and it can lead to burnout.
To combat this, it’s important to take breaks from screens and disconnect from technology on a regular basis.
There are a lot of great ways to do this, but some interesting options include going for walks, taking breaks to talk to co-workers face-to-face (or in an open video chat), or even just taking a few minutes to meditate.
Whatever you do, make sure that you encourage employees to take the time to disconnect from technology.
This will help your team stay refreshed and avoid burnout.
The key to having strong internal communication is to think about what each group needs to know, and then tailor your message accordingly.
It’s also important to use the right channels and review your tech stack on a regular basis.
Additionally, celebrating success and focusing on engaging content and initiatives will help to keep your team engaged.
Finally, don’t forget to check in with your hybrid team regularly and combat digital exhaustion.
If you do all of these things, then you’ll be well on your way to having great internal communications, even in a hybrid workplace.
Patrick Hulbert is the Head of Content at Simplycommunicate. He has experience working as both a journalist and in communications, including leading news and public relations at Oxford University Press and as PR & Communications Director at the British Franchise Association. He has also been the editor of Time Out Doha, and helped LADbible grow its brand and consolidate its position as a leader in the new media space.