We have barely begun our period of mourning and our grief is raw. There is some comfort to be had.
Senior leaders who stick around after they have said they are leaving are rarely an asset for an organisation or institution. And, they are the cause of a real headache for any internal communicator trying to establish a new strategic narrative if they do.
As we continue the unlocking of society in the UK, some are claiming that we stand on the threshold of a revolution in the world of work - hybrid working. Is this really anything new, and if it is, are the right things being put in place in organisations to make the change stick?
The world is in a mess and it seems that a complete absence of leadership, decent ethics and strategy is driving poor decision making at every level in our society and the consequences of this are immeasurable human suffering and torment. Having a few more chartered public relations practitioners might just tip the balance towards some more considered decision making by leaders which would benefit everyone and possibly save the world. However small our numbers and influence might currently be, small positive actions can collectively drive big change.
As a globalised civilisation we were seemingly completely unprepared for the occurrence of a pandemic. The failure of leadership which helped the coronavirus proliferate has caused a day of economic reckoning and restructuring which will fundamentally change the contexts in which we all live. What are the career consequences of this for internal communicators as the curtain falls on significant parts of the old world we once knew?
Internal communicators can no longer continue dealing with the workplace impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak with a reactive crisis communications approach and tactics. What we are now dealing with is the mother of all change situations. With no internal communication precedents for dealing with the longer-term workplace impacts and fallout of a pandemic on this scale, the future is an undiscovered country for all of us.
For employees, understanding organisational change can sometimes be like completing a self assembly project with no clear instructions or picture of the finished product. Internal communicators need to explain change themes not projects, use time travel to help leaders mind their language, and become great storytellers to enable employees to avoid the flat packed confusion.
When faced with extreme change and uncertainty it’s tempting to batten down the hatches, communicate as little as possible and hope that the perfect storm blows over. Unfortunately, saying nothing is rarely an option during times of change and to fail to plan a communications response is a plan to fail outright. The big question is, how do you plan to communicate when there is so much uncertainty and so many unknowns?