Successful messages about the future of work honestly and empathetically address the dynamics of different working approaches and how the executive team weighs those dynamics in the context of the brand’s purpose to determine the best approach going forward.
Make sure to leverage your organisation’s identity—your purpose, brand, values and history—as the context behind your return-to-workplace plans. Audiences are receptive to decisions that are consistent with the experience they have with the organisation.
No. 3: Evaluate policy before you speak
- Do not force rigidity for the sake of consistency.
- Do evaluate where it is possible to introduce flexibility into different types of roles.
The final messaging misstep is rooted in a policy problem, rather than a messaging problem. Organisations have faced backlash when adopting overly rigid policies before first evaluating whether flexibility was even possible.
Most organisations leverage a variety of employment models, and the differing experience of employee types (e.g., contract, union, gig, full-time) was already starting to surface before COVID-19. The pandemic highlighted other inequities, too. It is easier, for example, to offer flexibility to knowledge workers than to service-sector employees, but there are still ways to give options to previously location-centric roles, such as customer service reps.
Executives face the ongoing challenge of ensuring equity and community across different work models and roles. To succeed, you and your leadership team first need to evaluate how roles—and the activities within roles—relate to different employment models and how important they are in driving organisational goals. Then you can work to create equal access to flexibility in and across employment models.