Sensemakers Business Breakfast
The issues of corporate communication and their impact on employee productivity engrossed the minds of HR specialists even before the pandemic: in 2019, 74% of employees saw workplace burnout as one of the main causes of workplace conflicts, and 17% faced this problem on a regular basis. However, the popularization of telecommuting and the decentralization of the workforce could not help but affect the communication efficiency and employee wellbeing. For example, up to 60% of those working from home during the lockdown experienced negative effects on mental health due to being indoors for prolonged periods of time, while only half of those working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic reported a sense of well-being. New employees or people who switched to new positions or departments during the pandemic felt the disconnect in corporate culture communication the most. These negative experiences cause additional staffing problems. Burnout is one such problem, as employees worldwide worked 8.2% more time (i.e. +49 minutes daily) working during the pandemic. More than two-thirds (68%) of the respondents in an in-depth study of the employee adaptation to remote work said they felt more exhausted compared to working in the office before the pandemic; 22% of the respondents admitted to becoming more anxious, and 17% felt demotivated. These issues indicate a significant long-term risk of cultural erosion, deterioration of employee well-being, potential burnout and, most importantly, they emphasize the importance of addressing the communication issues under the new normal of flexible work formats.
Leading HR specialists talked about their key challenges this year, and guest speakers presented cases of implementing communication tools, at the Sensemakers Business Breakfast in Moscow.
Gor Nakhapetyan and Olga Filatova welcomed the guests to the event focusing on corporate communications. “Getting more performance and less discomfort from living and working with people: is this possible?” was the topic of the Business Breakfast, which brought together the most prominent experts in the field of personnel training and development.
The year 2020 and the pandemic shifted the priorities for HR specialists, making employee engagement and team motivation a top priority issue for most organizations.
“My biggest challenges are related to the remote work format: that’s Zoom, which has become intolerable; and the fact that people are losing touch with the company. You don’t get to see the corporate attributes when working from home, just the walls of your home instead of office walls, you don’t see your colleagues live, and that really kills the corporate atmosphere.”
Polina Lunkina, Liga Stavok
Remote or hybrid work format inevitably exacerbates troubles with internal communications, individual qualities and personal differences becoming a stress factor for many teams.
“My biggest revelation this year was that people really talk different languages, different professional and mental languages, and how much that gets in the way of them getting involved in the process.”
Lana Kasabyan, ALROSA
Three leading companies presented their case studies of successfully implementing the Communication Process Model, a tool that allows teams to establish healthy communication and remain at top efficiency with any work format: Yandex, CROC, and Beeline.
Dmitry Povod, Project Manager, Yandex, talked about how the model is applied in a fast-growing company, in the target groups: development teams, project teams, and back office. This includes the hybrid team building process and determining the preferred environment for each employee in the team.
“We realized there were 13,000 people in the company, the managers were working blindly and having a hard time applying the tool. So we changed our focus and started doing on-demand team training.” A pilot conducted with three teams showed the efficiency of applying the Communication Process Model to their specific tasks.
Polina Khabarova, HR Director, Business Transformation Director, CROC, shared the case of application of the Communication Process Model in the context of shaping the long-term strategy and identity of the company.
“Four years ago we realized that we needed to transform the business. We changed the solution portfolio, the teams, we recruited a lot of people from the market. We saw that the profits are growing, new business types are there, but no common point of support.”
Polina Khabarova, CROC
Based on key employee profiling, a strategy and identity were developed – taking into account the strengths, stress factors and motivators that prevailed among the interviewees, as well as the energy they wanted to bring to the company in the future. Managers were then trained in different communication styles in order to communicate ideas and the new strategy to every employee in the company.
Andrey Tinkov, curator of the team practice area at Beeline University, Beeline’s top business trainer emphasizes the importance of practical techniques offered by the Communication Process Model for a coordinated teamwork. The company has been using the tool since 2019, and it has become a mandatory part of the training program for all new managers.
“Less communication may lead to diminished trust and hidden conflicts; the Communication Process Model can be applied as a conflict prevention tool, among other things.”
Andrey Tinkov, Beeline