More calm than chaos

27 June 2022

Don’t get me wrong, last week’s disruption caused by the rail strikes was a major pain for employers, employees, students, patients, indeed anyone who found their plans thrown up in the air by industrial action.

Euston

But in talking to a few of our own clients over the past month, I couldn’t help notice that instead of the panic and angst that these things used to engender, there was, by contrast, a sense of calm. That struck me as interesting and as I probed a bit further I lighted upon three main reasons for their relative serenity.

The first is what I shall call Covid-induced resilience. Basically, there’s this sense now that if we can survive Covid, we can survive anything. Rail disruption, even if it’s sustained for the foreseeable, is nothing compared to Planet Lockdown.

The second is also Covid related – organisations are now pretty much continuity-proven. When the Closed sign went up on the world of workplaces, those who could commuted downstairs to the kitchen table; and keyworkers just got their heads down and kept the wheels turning. We all found a way to keep going. Trains not running for a bit? We can get by.

The third and final reason is probably the clincher though. What I am hearing from Engage clients is that these days they feel perfectly in control, that they’re no longer thrown off kilter by this sort of event. Indeed, any organisation that is using technology to link the centre to the edge, to connect every employee to the corporate core and to each other, will be sharing that feeling.

The mobile-first approach to workplace/workforce apps, creating that almost invisible umbilical cord between, say, your internal comms or HR or ops teams, and every colleague, that is so, so powerful. Suddenly, that massive problem of how to corral and advise and assist a workforce facing ‘getting to work’ hurdles is not really a problem at all. Timely, proactive comms, targeted messaging, an agile response to events, a ‘stay at home’ advisory for the happy hybrids, and handy alerts for those who need to find a way in…all of this can be rapidly orchestrated 24/7.

Over the past week I’ve heard that in-app newsfeeds and push notifications have contained all sorts of practical help including:

  • Car pooling schedules
  • Special service coach and bus timetables
  • Rapid rota/shift updates
  • Cycle to Work scheme sign-ups
  • Extra car parking guidance and maps
  • Uber gift card offers

I love the creativity and thought that’s gone in to helping minimise the inconvenience to employees, and I take pride in that the tech we supply has had a role in that process. Connecting and enabling in this way, putting all this power in a colleague’s pocket so that HR teams can keep them close and looked after, the impact is really quite…striking.

Are you seeing more calm than chaos? Do you think the last couple of years have equipped us with a better playbook for handling strikes, snow events and fuel shortages?  Let's have your thoughts!   

#employee engagement, #business continuity, #employee communications