The Bifurcation of Employee Communications

How internal communications is being divided into macro and micro dimensions and how to build a bridge for greater impact 

Over the past year, employee confidence and empathy has risen to the top of leadership priorities, resulting in a more strategic, sophisticated approach to internal communications – with more consistent and clear information, more timely interaction, more personal engagement, more contextual meaning, and more deeper discussions and debate on strategy, direction and purpose.

But there is another side to this story that is subtle but no less powerful.

Organizations have, albeit unconsciously, placed internal communications in two distinct dimensions described as macro and micro. The resulting impact has been the mitigation or even elimination of the middle dimensionAs the pandemic unfolded, communicators and leaders moved quickly to organize and reset communications with employees to establish new ways of working, ideating and collaborating. In their zeal, internal communications took the form of major company announcements and arguments affecting the entire workforce and more specific functional, area or specialty communications reflecting more individual and team performance.

Here’s a deeper look at the model that is emerging:

  • Macro – This area has become the most popular in companies, causing leaders to articulate their narrative, point-of-view and perspectives in a precise manner by conducting town halls, company-wide briefings and other large-scale gatherings virtually to reach people frequently. Content has focused on safety, well-being, collaboration and the tone is empathetic.
  • Micro – People experience internal communications in different ways. Therefore, there are many nuances to informing, instructing and involving employees in the business and in their respective jobs. Content has been around new rules of engagement, information sharing, logistics, etc. This type of communication has been reflected in stronger team engagement, smaller meetings, 1:1 discussions and specific information meant to improve or strengthen local performance.

The above situation indicates the middle dimension of internal communications has disappeared. This area is typically the bridge between the macro and micro dimensions. It is where accomplishments, personal nuances, personalities, development, key decisions, and addressing tensions are dissected and addressed for myriad interpretations and understanding. The middle has often been referred to as the “soul” of the enterprise because it links the human, strategic and community aspects of the employee experience.

So, what happened?

There are numerous explanations but the most cogent is that timing, resources and even inertia conspired to only focus on larger topics and more local needs. As we regain our bearings in 2021, now is the time to rethink and reinsert the middle dimension to bridge the elements of employee engagement by employing internal communications as the means to unite, motivate and educate.

Keeping our eyes open to the various components of workforce confidence and connectivity has never been more important. Missing a cue can easily result in a false positive regarding progress. Widening our aperture to view the entire horizon will unveil a new reality.

“Seeing and feeling the whole picture allows you to digest its meaning.” – Anonymous


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Gary Grates
Gary Grates

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