The “office” has officially changed as we know it, with the pandemic accelerating the inevitable transition to a digital workplace. For some, remote work has provided a solution to many obstacles, offering better work-life balance and an environment free of office distractions. A remote workplace also allows companies to branch out in who they hire, providing a greater pool of candidates with diverse skillsets to bring to the table. For others, however, working remotely has posed a challenge in connecting, collaborating, and networking with peers and colleagues, and has blurred the line between work and personal life.
There are pros and cons to this new normal, but it is clear that for many companies, remote work is here to stay. However, as verbal interactions are now limited, workplaces must rely more on other communication to foster a thriving environment—the written word.
With this shift in workplace communication, how can leaders and managers cultivate a positive and productive workplace culture through the use of effective copywriting? Here are a few tips.
Avoid prescriptive language in handbooks
Every company needs an employee handbook to establish and maintain consistent practices and regulations. This helps provide guidance to both managers and employees, while upholding necessary laws. Usually in the form of a lengthy document, this copy can be prescriptive, dry, and prone to being skimmed or worse, avoided. In a remote work environment, this language is often a new employee’s first impression of the environment they are about to enter into.
As causal office interactions are stifled in remote work, policy and handbook copy can be a great channel to establish your company culture. An article by Harvard Business Review talks about the importance of making positive assumptions about your employees in your employee handbook copy, rather than giving them a comprehensive book of infractions and punishments.
For example, instead of providing definitions for “absent” and “tardy” along with punishments for each, state that you expect your employees to start working on time. Similarly, the article explains that it is beneficial to communicate one standard of conduct with a sentence like, “Everyone is expected to act in the best interest of the organization and his/her fellow employees”—in place of a long list of conduct rules. Using words like these creates expectations instead of rules, and signifies to your employees that you trust them, and trust that they have common sense.
It’s also important to use humanized language that employees can understand, rather than rely on complicated legal jargon. This ensures that clear expectations are established and understood.
MarketSmiths Case Study
A coaching company for teachers, Educate gives them the tools they need to take their work to the next level. But without an engaging website, the company struggled to close sales. That’s where MarketSmiths came in. By honing its website copy and brand messaging to clearly express its value, assert vital differentiators, and garner interest and sales, we soon fixed it up. Potential prospects now have crisp, clear copy to read—and Educate has bolstered its place in a crowded market.
Be strategic in your internal comms
Remote company culture can suffer greatly without effective internal communications, according to Staffbase, a leading employee communication platform. These internal communications have a massive influence on the employee experience, including feedback, emails, and internal updates. But by crafting internal copy that consistently aligns with who you are as an organization—and who you would like to become—you can better communicate with purpose, and avoid email burnout.
When writing email copy, Staffbase explains that it is best to simplify, to be clear and concise, and to “cut the fat,” as employees are likely dealing with many emails a day as it is. They also explain that using an attention-grabbing headline is just as effective internally as it is externally, and it will help your email stand out among other tasks.
On the subject of email, it’s critical to set boundaries when it comes to internal email in order to protect company culture, as receiving emails after hours can cause anxiety that is damaging to the employee and their family. For managers, HBR says, clarifying your expectations is key and can be done with a statement like, “We believe that downtime is important, and we expect you to disconnect from work email on evenings, weekends, and vacations. If something important comes up, we’ll communicate via phone or text.”
Establishing clear expectations for communication is extremely important in any company, but perhaps even more so in remote work environments, when it’s hard to know when to unplug.
Create a strong employer brand
Internal marketing can often be overlooked, but it is extremely important in order to create a strong connection between your brand and your employees. With the lack of physical office space, this can be more challenging than in times past.
However, applying some of the same principles of consumer advertising to internal communications helps employees have a better understanding of your brand voice—and a passion for your products and/or services.
Forbes recommends creating an internal marketing campaign that creates an emotional connection to your company. The materials for this campaign should be thought-provoking, personalized, and consistent.
Setting expectations, defining culture, and instilling a strong connection in your employees to your brand can pose challenges in a remote work environment, but crafting great copy can be an impactful long-term solution. As the workplace evolves and communication changes, it’s important to remember that there’s still a human behind every screen and to write to them.
Looking to fortify your workplace culture with strong copy? Contact MarketSmiths today.