Three critical insights for building your return-to-office plan
Communications and marketing executives must do their due diligence first
Only 10% of global Chief Communications Officers say they have done extensive planning for employees’ return to the office once work-from-home restrictions are lifted – according to the Institute for Public Relations.
This is a surprising statistic. Communications executives should be leading or at least deeply involved in building the return strategy to ensure it’s right for the organization.
There are four critical areas – we call them the Four I’s – that communications professionals need to be thinking about as they prepare reopening plans. The next “new normal” demands clarity and leadership from all those charged with communications. Following the Four I’s framework when crafting your office reopening plan delivers just that. The Four I’s are:
- Insights – data to help you make informed reopening decisions;
- Internal – communications to ensure a smooth, efficient workplace reopening;
- In market – communications to address customers, constituents and the community; and
- Impact – short- and long-term changes required to ensure your communications and marketing plans, processes and practices are effective.
This issue of Core focuses on the first I: Insights. When thinking about returning your workforce back to the office, the following three insights are essential.
Check out Arketi Group’s Reopening Readiness Communications Self-Assessment tool.
Using the Four I’s framework, this provides a series of structured questions for your communications team to consider before employees return to the workplace. Download the checklist:
1. Understand employee engagement in the current work-from-anywhere environment
You should know what challenges employees have faced since they have been working away from the office. Are they more or less engaged? Are they more productive away from the office or are they unable to complete the tasks they used to do? Engagement information will help your team build its reopen-ready plan.
Some organizations can understand employee engagement by looking at internal business data. For others, it may be helpful to collect this insight through employee surveys.
2. Recognize employees’ concerns about returning to the office
Asking your employees to share their fears and concerns about returning to the office is a best practice. This avoids the risk that the management team projects their own feelings about returning to the workplace onto others.
Are your employees fearful of riding in an elevator with others? How about gathering for in-office meetings or sharing a break room with coworkers? And just how safe will they feel using shared equipment, such as printers?
A quantitative approach gives you the front-end information required to have meaningful management discussions. This is also the perfect time to assess how your company culture is doing. Do your employees believe you have been living your purpose and values, or has the pandemic exposed cracks that need to be addressed? Knowing this will help you both inside and outside your office.
3. Investigate how your buyer’s journey has changed
Even if you had a good understanding of your buyer’s journey before the pandemic began, it’s likely totally different today. By necessity, nearly every organization has been forced to embrace a digital-first strategy ‒ quickly. B2B tech companies reliant on tradeshows, face-to-face demos, live presentations and even direct mail to reach buyers can no longer meet them there. Today, “it’s the digital, stupid.”
The way your customers (and their customers) consume information has changed. It’s therefore prudent to explore how and where you can best meet your buyers today. This requires both quantitative and qualitative research.
Quantitative research can include surveying customers and potential customers to find out how and where they consume content during their buying process. Back this up with qualitative research, such as interviews with customers who have recently purchased, that helps you dig deeper.
These insights are critical for your marketing team and can also have a direct impact on how and where you reopen. For example, with little demand for demos, is opening your executive briefing center or innovation center important? Or could those resources be better re-allocated?
Here to help you turn insights into action
Arketi Group has extensive experience gathering insights. We can help you understand employee engagement levels, gauge employee return-to-work concerns, and construct your new, post-COVID-19 buyer’s journey.
Want to know more? It’s simple: email Mike Neumeier at firstname.lastname@example.org.