Five new opportunities to connect better with stakeholders

COVID 19 is said to be one of the worst catastrophes after World War II and it will have huge impact on the global economy. It’s a disaster of a scale the world has not seen in recent years, therefore managing a disaster of this scale is difficult for any particular team or function. It is the time when the HR alone may not be able to manage internal crisis and may need to team up with the communication team and work together to sail out of this crisis. Even before this crisis, the roles of HR and Communication were blurring. The opportunities to develop an employer brand and gain visibility for the employees rested with the communication and employee engagement was seen more of a HR role. This catastrophe has given us the reason to jump in with the HR team and together form a function that can manage crisis of this magnitude. Now and from now on…   to form a stronger team with more competencies under their belt.

Some of these new roles could be but not restricted to:

  1. Online Internal Community Managers: Staying connected is a major issue for many corporates as work from home for such a long duration is unprecedented. So this is the time when the communication teams can partner the HR teams in a big way to help them use apps like Whatsapp, Telegram etc to help anyone and everyone stay connected easily. There will be need to send out quick unplanned communication in the groups the communication teams can support the HR in managing the online community by developing these important and urgent communications. This is the time to build online communities that can be used during crisis times now and in future. The IT teams and HR teams sit with the technology and the human capital but it needs the intervention of the communication person to make it happen. To be the lubricant that holds the teams together.
  2. In-house video editor/ Vlogger:  The CEO or management team might want to send out an urgent video message or address all the employees through a recorded message. The rushes need to be edited quickly. Using basic apps like inshots, the communication teams can develop these short internal videos and keep the community connected. This is also a good time to double up for communication people as the journalists or news presenters, communicating facts and words of hope to the people. Since the communication teams have good command over the language, presentation skills and the know how to face the camera, they fit the role perfectly. It is an opportunity to come in front of the camera and encourage people.
  3. Online event managers: Keeping the employees engaged at these times can be a daunting task. Digitally some games or activities can be organised – like Antakshari over Skype or Housie using WhatsApp could be some of these activities. Some activities for the employee’s children or family can be organised like painting competition digitally or singing competition for the couples can be organised digitally or discovering hidden talents of employees like music, writing etc. Communication teams with expertise on social media could play a key role to engage employees
  4.  Hashtag traffic controllers: This is the time when people are going berserk on the social media. The communication teams could be managing the hashtag communications by generating ideas to suggest better expression of the employees this will help the employees see traction of their posts on the social media and they will feel like they have created a viral and it would also keep the sense of collaboration high amongst the employees keeping them emotionally connected
  5. Conversation facilitators: People have free time now. They are exploring new shows on Netflix, reading new books and learning new courses. What one person is experiencing can motivate another person in the same team! But how does one get the conversations going? The communication teams play a critical role to encourage people to share the experiences and offer them an outlet/ medium to do so. The conversations need to be moderated and managed, which can be the role of the communication.

If we are able to grab these opportunities, I am sure we will not just connect better with our colleagues and have better visibility within the company, but also be seen as the go to people for engagement and entertainment in the future. It will help us win trust and win us more friends.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Tilak Chowdhury
DGM - Corporate Communication at Egis-India
Tilak Chowdhury, manages the communication and CSR of the India Region for the Engineering & Project Management Company Egis.

Egis is working on some very prestigious projects in the country which include eight metros projects, three airports, two smart cities, one port, many urban projects like Chattrapati Shivaji Memorial in Mumbai.

He has more than 15 years of experience of working with large multinational companies in advertising, journalism, public relations, exhibitions, internal communications and branding. He has been associated with brands like Jubilant Life Sciences, Ambuja Cement, Kinetic, Mahindra in the past.

Tilak enjoys reading, watching movies, shopping, blogging, travelling and food.

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