A Guide to Getting More from your Digital Communication Tools During the COVID-19 Pandemic

May 11, 2020

Amidst sudden shelter-in-place orders and work-from-home arrangements, we have witnessed an overnight appreciation for technology’s role in enabling collaboration, engagement and productivity. The importance of a company’s internal communication ecosystem has never been more evident. With the increased attention, it’s a good time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your existing digital communication tools.

If you’re using…

…try this…

…and see what others are doing

Enterprise Social Networks such as Microsoft Yammer or Workplace by Facebook

Create a sense of community and reinforce unique aspects of the company’s culture through fun home office photo contests and heroic customer stories during COVID-19.

It’s also a perfect opportunity to reveal a more authentic view of executives, by featuring posts such as C-suite’s Netflix picks or senior leaders’ favorite recipes.

  • A health plan provider launched a “Silver Linings” Yammer series that invites employees to focus on positive things they are experiencing during the crisis.
  • A tech company introduced a “Social Yelling” channel where employees can air frustrations by using all caps in their posts.
  • Another organization created a new global channel featuring employee-driven life hacks.
  • A specialty retailer encouraged employees to share good news via its #ReasonstoSmile Yammer campaign and randomly selected employees to win a prize.

Video conference tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Go-To Meeting, BlueJeans or live video platforms such as Workplace Live or Microsoft Stream

Scale the direct reach of leaders and build trust in executives by streaming live events such as open office hours or special town halls. Make replays available after the event.

Executives’ likeability ratings are going up during this pandemic, as employees have the rare opportunity to see leaders’ authenticity in their home office environments.

  • A major consumer goods company started hosting live virtual coffee talks led by the entire leadership team, keeping it real and informal.
  • One tech company’s CEO has been taking full advantage of technology to be more visible — “dropping in” on virtual new-hire orientation sessions and hosting small-group virtual meetings with top talent.

Content distribution platforms such as Dynamic Signal, SocialChorus or Poppulo

Create targeted content streams to ensure employees get the most relevant news for them. As the pandemic continues, we will see a growing number of audience segments with diverse needs; e.g., regional and location-specific workforces with different back to the workplace protocols and timelines, employees currently working onsite in essential roles, and employees working from home temporarily.

  • One large pharmaceutical company uses its content distribution platform to easily distribute weekly targeted email updates to all managers, integrated with their dedicated manager intranet page.
  • An automotive manufacturer expedited the launch of its mobile-first solution to quickly get information regarding the COVID-19 crisis to its 12,800 team members.

Team collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Slack or Workplace

Rally your people managers by establishing a special channel just for them to promote community and knowledge sharing. This can complement existing manager channels, such as manager portals, toolkits and news feeds.

Establish problem-solving communities for populations with shared issues, such as parents of young kids or front-line workers.

  • A tech company developed a private Slack channel, where people managers candidly share challenges on leading remote teams and stay aligned on the latest company decisions.
  • A professional services firm established a dedicated Workplace channel for parents to swap strategies for working from home with young children.

Survey tools such as Glint, analytic systems such as Microsoft Power BI or third-party applications like Swoop Analytics

Stay on top of what’s working and what’s not with your COVID-19 communication efforts by pulling actionable data on channel usage.

  • A pharmaceutical company started running COVID-19 bi-weekly pulse surveys, with the results auto-populated to manager dashboards.
  • A global food & beverage company created a dedicated weekly dashboard to track all COVID-19 communication activities and employee response. The data is pulled from a collection of platforms to help executives quickly understand how messages are performing.

Where to turn for help

Know that the ROI team is here to help you get the most out of your existing digital communication tools. Here are just a few examples of how we can support you:

  • Create a clear and consistent digital channel strategy
  • Revitalize existing platforms with new engagement strategies that are relevant to today’s COVID-19 environment
  • Create manager and employee toolkits to build and sustain adoption
  • Audit your communication channels and content
  • Develop a custom dashboard to help track channel effectiveness

To download our guide on getting more from your digital communication tools, including the six things that communication professionals can do today, please fill out the form below.

Download the ROI Guide to Getting More From Your Digital Communication Tools


Lesli Gee ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Lesli Gee

Executive Vice President

A founding member of ROI, Lesli is an expert at change management and HR comms expert with more than two decades helping executives design and execute large-scale change initiatives to strengthen organizational culture, streamline processes and improve performance. A 27-time marathon runner and charity fundraiser, she has helped numerous Fortune 500 companies achieve their business goals.

Emery Lees ROI Internal Communication Agency Employee.
Emery Lees

Director, Strategist

Emery's firsthand experience of building a community through face-to-face conversations in an Italian hill town influences her work at ROI. For Emery, the value of enterprise social media lies in the authenticity and value of connections that employees create, and requires an ongoing commitment to develop long-term value.