Vera Brandstötter-Kraxner, Head of Internal Communications at A1 Group, knows what kind of new tasks the Internal Communications were facing when crisis communication suddenly became topic of the day. In this guest article, she gives us a look back at 2020 in terms of communications:
»Today, everyone knows what Corona and lockdown mean: Restrictions, changeovers, but also new opportunities! Half of Europe had to move to home office within a weekend. Of course, if anyone can do it, it’s those who developed it – the telecommunications companies. But, literally implementing it from one moment to the next was a challenge even for us. Overcoming the technical obstacle was the program, while the social interaction turned out to be freestyle.
The task of internal communications is not only about distributing company information in a targeted manner, but also to ensure that the A1 team sees itself as one team. With the pandemic, there was also the need for fast information on current Corona measures, but above all, to ensure stability and trust. The company-wide rollout of new working tools, accompanied by online training, as well as diverse support happened incidentally.
»New paths are made by walking them together«
We did not lack any creativity in developing new online formats, to, for example, open up ways for CEOs to express appreciation to A1 heroes, and we successfully digitalized our world, which still is analog, in meetings, learnings and information sharing. After that, the lack of physical contacts – also confirmed in a pulse survey in May – came back into focus as an issue: lunch at the home office can be quite lonely – how to deal with it? In addition to never-ending calls, home office, distance learning and »home everything« still had to be consolidated. We tried to support the A1 team in their new situation with various practical tips on exercise breaks, healthy eating and childcare, and tricks for better time management and work-life balance.
People not only meet when talking, but also when celebrating
Anniversaries do not wait for Corona to end, so it was necessary to find new ways. A1 Bulgaria celebrated its 25th anniversary, the »party« with many actions – to be found online on our social media platform. In any case, the team spirit was with us. A1 Belarus also celebrated its 21 years anniversary with an anniversary concert as a video call and the team was united in enthusiasm – each for him- or herself at home. In Austria, we are entering new virtual Christmas territory. We not only proved that we can do it the virtual way at the #IoTDay, we are also ready to end the year 2020 together with around 8,000 colleagues in the right Christmas spirit at the A1 Show. This premiere is one of my highlights this year and underlines the fact that we always come up with something new.
»What makes us strong and unites us as a team, is also being there for each other. For our customers, and for those, who are less well off as well.«
We don’t yet know where our journey will take us in 2021. But I am pretty sure that it will be just as exciting as it has been so far, and that it will have something ready for us – for sure some emotional highlights. Because if we’ve learned anything, it’s that we’ve come closer together as A1 team during this crisis and have emerged stronger from it. I’m looking forward to next year with this great A1 team and it’s good to know that our cooperation also works great virtually. But I’m even more looking forward to the moment when we celebrate again as one team at one of our legendary events and then let digitalization be digitalization for the moment ;-) .«