“Communicators are the glue.”
That’s what Gihan Hyde, CEO of Communique and communications professional, announced at the February instalment of our monthly Sequel Presents ‘A Coffee With’ series. Based on one of the key topics from Sequel’s Trends Report 2021, Gihan joined Paul Jones, Sequel’s Head of Insight, to discuss lockdown learning, cohesive collaboration and remaining agile in the modern workplace.
Gihan explained: “When it comes to transforming company culture, internal communicators already have the tools and can get the data. But we need to understand what innovation really means for our organisation, and how that translates into ways of working.
“Without innovation, we can’t communicate. And without communication, we can’t innovate. We’re the glue holding these two areas together.”
So what are the main challenges for organisations when it comes to collaborating and learning in the hybrid workplace? Here are Gihan’s top tips to get you started.
“Zen Buddhism has a concept called ‘Shoshin’ or the beginner’s mindset. It means adopting an open attitude, looking at things from at fresh perspective and dismissing preconceptions. In other words, coming at a task as a total beginner would, even if it’s something you’ve done hundreds of times. That way you’ll unlock your creativity and innovation.
“For example, as a communicator, whenever you’re creating a campaign, sit with someone who doesn’t know anything about comms. Let them ask questions that will trigger you to think differently about what you’re doing, and come at it from a different angle.
“I always run my projects past my husband, who knows nothing about communication. The questions he asks me often make me think, ‘Boy, I need to revisit this.’”
“It seems the way we work – and where we work – will never be the same. Organisations now must consider club, hub, home and roam. Club is a serviced office, close to your home or area, a bit like WeWork. Hub is your office headquarters, where you’ll come together with colleagues to innovate, network and collaborate. Home is your home office environment, and roam might be a café or restaurant where you go for a change of scenery.
“This is a real challenge for communicators, because we won’t have a constant physical presence for employees. It might be harder to get to know them, talk to them about their problems, and help them.
“We’ll need to adjust by ensuring we understand the different employee mindsets in our organisation, and adopting the right messages and methods for them.”
“Many companies are in flux, and bringing on freelancers and contractors to fill skills gaps as they attempt to respond to changing business models, customer needs and ways of working. There are two challenges for communicators here.
“Firstly, freelancers and contractors will come and go from your organisation. You must ensure that you can maintain culture despite this. Secondly, there’s a careful balance between bringing them into your tribe, while not losing the individuality and innovation they’ll bring to benefit your organisation.
“We need to work with HR to create the right onboarding programme, share the right messages and provide the right tools to achieve this cultural balance.”