Organizations continue to navigate the complexities of hybrid work environments, internal communications (IC) professionals are finding themselves at the forefront of change management.

With companies working to navigate through uncomfortable shifts in culture due to a surge in tech sector layoffs, changes in workplace structures (some not going so well), or even the positive change of rapid expansion and the sudden hiring of many new people, it’s leaving often understaffed internal communications teams responsible for ensuring that all of these changes are communicated and understood company-wide.

It’s no easy feat, especially with smaller budgets and the increasing difficulty of proving out the value of internal comms amid increased scrutiny from executive teams and finance departments.

The key to success in this evolving landscape lies in the strategic implementation and communication of policy changes. Here we’ll delve into the essential strategies IC teams can employ to ensure policy changes are effectively communicated, understood, and embraced within hybrid workplaces, also highlighting how some of Cleary’s innovative solutions can help support these efforts.

Embrace Transparency

The cornerstone of effective change management in a hybrid work environment is rooted deeply in transparency. In a recent Forbes article, Dr. Melissa Weathersby highlights the necessity of this approach: “Change and transition are best met with full transparency, constant communication, and a clear plan.” By ensuring that all team members have access to the same information, organizations can foster unity and strong execution. This is crucial because, as Weathersby points out, “Distrust and animosity will derail even the best of plans.”

Leadership must openly address the ‘why’ behind policy changes, not just the ‘what’ or ‘how’. This means discussing the challenges the organization faces transparently and how the changes aim to address them. Moreover, acknowledging potential obstacles upfront and outlining prepared mitigation strategies can significantly enhance trust.

For internal communications professionals seeking to guide their leadership towards more transparent practices, it’s vital to highlight the tangible benefits of such an approach.

Demonstrating how transparency can prevent misunderstandings, reduce resistance, and foster a more engaged and cooperative workforce can be persuasive. Encourage leadership to share not just successes but also vulnerabilities and learning moments from past initiatives. This level of openness can humanize leadership, making policy changes feel more relatable and necessary.

Ultimately, fostering a culture where transparency is valued starts with dialogue. IC professionals should advocate for regular, open forums where leadership can share insights and updates, and employees feel empowered to ask questions and provide feedback.

Encourage Two-Way Communication

In the fabric of hybrid work environments, fostering a culture of two-way communication stands out as a pivotal strategy for internal communications (IC) professionals. It transforms the traditional flow of information into a dynamic dialogue, where employees are not just passive recipients but active participants in the narrative of change.

In the aforementioned Forbes piece, Anna Barnhill of AdvantEdge Leadership shared thoughts on this topic: “When people are actively engaged in planning and implementing changes, they develop a sense of ownership and control over the transition. This involvement addresses the psychological need for autonomy and reduces resistance because individuals feel that their perspectives are valued.” This insight underscores the profound impact of two-way communication on employee engagement and acceptance of change.

To materialize this concept, IC professionals can leverage platforms like Cleary’s Survey & Feedback Tool to not only gather feedback but also to foster a sense of participation and ownership among employees. By actively involving employees in the conversation, organizations can tap into a wealth of insights and ideas, making policy changes more comprehensive and aligned with the workforce’s needs.

Getting employees to actively participate in these communication channels requires a deliberate effort to highlight the value of their input. Here are a handful of ways to encourage more of this active communication:

  1. Showcase Impact: Regularly communicate how employee feedback has influenced decisions and policy changes. Sharing specific examples where employee input led to meaningful adjustments fosters a culture of listening and action.
  2. Offer Anonymity: For sensitive topics, providing options for anonymous feedback can encourage more open and honest communication, ensuring that employees feel safe to share their true thoughts and concerns.
  3. Recognize Contributions: Acknowledge and reward employees who actively participate in feedback mechanisms. Recognition can be as simple as thanking contributors in company-wide communications or more formal awards for impactful suggestions.
  4. Create Feedback Loops: Ensure that there is a clear process for not just collecting but also responding to employee feedback. When employees see that their input receives attention and sparks dialogue, they are more likely to engage in future communications.


By implementing these strategies, IC professionals can foster a more inclusive and responsive communication environment. Encouraging two-way communication not only enriches the policy change process but also builds a more engaged, resilient, and adaptive organizational culture.

Equip Managers for Success

Managers are the linchpins in the hybrid work model, acting as the primary conduits of change within their teams. To ensure they are well-informed, supported, and confident in communicating policy changes effectively, it’s vital to provide them with comprehensive toolkits that include FAQs, key messages, and scenario-based guidance.

These resources empower managers to handle inquiries and foster positive perceptions of change among their teams. Additionally, training sessions focused on change management and empathetic leadership are crucial for empowering managers to lead their teams through transitions seamlessly.

In a recent Cleary Community Webinar, Lisa Shulkin, VP of People at TeamPay, highlighted the necessity of such initiatives: “It’s really critical, especially in the tech world, to have training opportunities for first-time managers. Often, individuals who are really strong individual contributors move into managerial roles but don’t have the toolkit given to them.”

Shulkin suggests leveraging external training programs or creating mentorship pairings within the company to provide managers with the tools they need to succeed.

“Understanding the level that someone is coming in at and what their needs are, and then customizing, is really important,” she adds, highlighting the need for tailored support that acknowledges the diverse experiences and challenges managers may face.

This reflects the broader need for targeted development programs that address the unique challenges managers face in a dynamic hybrid environment. By integrating feedback mechanisms that allow managers to share their experiences and learn from one another, internal communications professionals can create a supportive culture where managers feel valued and equipped to navigate change. Showcasing successful case studies where effective manager communication led to smooth policy implementation can further reinforce the importance of these strategies to leadership.

Investing in the growth of managers and providing them with necessary resources not only enhances their capability to manage change effectively but also significantly contributes to the overall resilience and adaptability of the organization.

Measure and Analyze

Measuring the effectiveness and progress of policy change is critical to understanding its impact on employees and their overall engagement. For internal communications (IC) professionals, this means not only implementing change but also capturing data to gauge the perception and reception of these changes across the organization. This process is essential for ensuring that policy changes are not only communicated but are also resonating with and understood by the workforce.

A key strategy for IC professionals in this endeavor is the utilization of tools designed to capture and analyze engagement data.

One such tool is Cleary’s Article Acknowledgements Data Capture feature, which represents a powerful method for directly measuring the impact of communications. This feature allows IC teams to track real-time engagement, providing immediate insights into how communications are being received and acknowledged by employees. By leveraging this data, IC professionals can identify which messages are effectively engaging employees and which may require further clarification or adjustment.

Capturing data on employee engagement and feedback is just the first step. The critical work comes in understanding this data and using it to inform strategic decisions. This involves analyzing trends in the data, identifying areas where employees may be struggling with or resisting change, and adapting communication strategies accordingly. This iterative process ensures that communications are fine-tuned to meet the evolving needs of the workforce and the objectives of the organization.

Moreover, communicating these insights back to leadership is paramount. By demonstrating the direct link between communication strategies and employee engagement levels, IC professionals can highlight the value of a data-informed approach to policy change communication. This not only showcases the importance of investing in advanced communication tools but also reinforces the role of IC teams as strategic partners in navigating organizational change.

Wrapping up…

Successfully communicating policy changes in a hybrid work environment is a multifaceted challenge that requires strategic planning, empathy, and the effective use of technology. By focusing on transparency, fostering dialogue, empowering managers, providing accessible resources, and continuously evaluating communication efforts, IC professionals can navigate these waters successfully. Cleary’s suite of tools offers a robust foundation for these efforts, ensuring that policy changes are not just communicated but embraced and effectively implemented across the hybrid workplace.