How to manager writer's block when creating an employee communications calendar
So, you’ve started a blog to keep your people up-to-date during the COVID-19 pandemic, but you’re not sure what to write about? If the messages I’m receiving from our clients are true, I can assure you that you’re not alone.
First, I want to say how great it is that you are blogging or about to start communicating this way with your people. Prioritising communications is key during times of uncertainty, and it’s taking that first step and reaching out to your people that’s critically important. When organisations are silent, or limit the flow of information, fear and misinformation can quickly fill the void — this is especially true if your employees aren’t in the same office anymore, as with many are new to working remotely or otherwise separated from the usual day-to-day, face-to-face communications.
Open and honest communications are crucial at the best of times, not to mention during times of crisis.
If you’re new to blogging it can be difficult to find topics that you think will help and engage your employees, but the key is not to overthink it. That’s why we recommend that you make blogging a weekly habit, so that you can stay visible even from a distance.
Creating a communications plan or calendar can help keep you focussed when you’re writing blogs.
To get you started, here are some ideas for topics to cover over the coming weeks.
1. Business updates
This is an easy topic, as it’s something you’ll probably know all about anyway. Keep your people updated on how your business is doing and how it is responding to the current situation. It’s important to be as honest as you can be and encourage people to ask any questions they have in the comments section. Just make sure you or another member of the business is available to respond to any questions that come up.
2. Stories of kindness and compassion
Storytelling is one of the most engaging forms of communication there is, as people find it easier to relate to personal and human stories and we definitely all need some good news at the moment. Do you have any examples of acts of kindness within your business that you can share with everyone?
If not, the news channels regularly compile some of the best acts of kindness from around the world, so why not share one that really resonates with you? Then you can ask people to comment with any examples they have seen or heard too. For example, at Reward Gateway, my colleague Kristen has pulled together a snapshot of feel-good stories to boost the mood throughout the week, aptly called “Happy News.”
3. A day in the life when working from home
As many of us have had to significantly change how we work in the last few weeks, perhaps you could give your employees a little insight into how you are staying motivated and engaged while working from home. How do you break up your day to keep physically and mentally healthy while at home? Have you set up a workspace to make it easier to concentrate? Do you have any work companions like cats or dogs that could make a feature? In our experience, photos of pets are always welcome!
4. Customer experiences
Most businesses are permanently focused on making sure their customers have a great experience. Ask your teams if they have any examples of how they have been able to help their customers over recent weeks and share these stories with people across your business. This will reinforce the behaviours and values that you want all of your people to display too.
5. A focus on wellbeing
Where possible, people are being asked to stay at home as much as they can to prevent the spread of the virus. It’s necessary of course, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult for a lot of people and could impact their physical and mental wellbeing. And if your people are frontline workers, then they are likely to be experiencing very stressful situations and environments every day.
A really useful topic right now is to share tips on how people can stay healthy at home or during times of high stress. Whether that’s using free exercise videos, tips about how to take appropriate breaks when working or meditation tools to reduce anxiety. There is so much information available and it wouldn’t take long to pull together top tips and share these with your people. You can also ask your employees to share their tips and tricks in the comments section.
We offer a one-stop-shop for wellbeing through our Wellbeing Centre, which is filled with hundreds of articles centred around four wellbeing topics of Mind (mental wellbeing), Move (physical fitness), Munch (nutrition and recipes) and Money (financial wellbeing). If you don’t have this in place, have someone from your team pull together top tips or advice from employees on how they’re staying healthy and well during trying times, and share these out with the wider business.
6. Shine a spotlight on recognition
Many of your people will be doing extraordinary things to keep your business moving and working hard to delight your customers. Practice continuous recognition, and make sure that you shine a spotlight on these contributions frequently and publicly, thank them for their hard work, explain what this means to your business or your customers and the impact it has had. Recognition can significantly improve morale so this should be a regular topic for your blog.
The most important thing is to just start.
Try not to overthink it and encourage people to ask comments or give their ideas in the comments section - which will boost engagement.
What are you going to share with your people next?