A ‘Human-First’ Approach Is Essential for Employee Communications and Engagement

Reimagining what it means to come to work requires an entirely new way of understanding people.

When COVID struck over a year ago, many organizations were already gearing up for a new future of work – they just thought they might get there through evolution, not necessarily by “forced” revolution. The pandemic triggered experimentation – as organizations found themselves leaning into ways to reassure, support and connect with their employees that they had not attempted before, learning “on the go” and demanding new efforts from leaders too as they played their part.

Now as we try and take the best from the COVID experience, many of those leading strategy developments for employee communications and engagement are reshaping their approaches. Yes, we are still not free from the pandemic, but there’s been a firm shift from reacting and maintaining to reimagining. In the midst of this, and as we yearn for interpersonal contact, one theme keeps bubbling to the top: that the human touch – virtually applied for many months – needs to be brought front and center as we go forward.

“Technologies will play an even more important role in personalizing communications and curating fit-for-purpose interactive experiences.”

Of course, for employee engagement exciting new technologies will play their part – they are already for many organizations. But even those declaring a “digital-first” future are realizing success remains “human-first” on that journey. In fact, technologies will play an even more important role in personalizing communications and curating fit-for-purpose interactive experiences.

Driving this are some clear employee expectations and needs around the content as well as the engagement experience. Employees expect employers to provide:

  • Increased transparency and accessibility – something that many organizations did more of in the face of COVID-19.
  • More flexibility and support – as the line between work and non-work lives continues to blur.
  • Commitment to shaping a better world – employees want to be confident that their employer is not just dealing with “the business,” but rather continuing to do what matters in the world – focusing on impact beyond outcomes.
  • Foresight around what lies ahead – employees want more insight and direction on the “future of work.” It’s not easy to look ahead but even without all the answers, employees want to understand the options which are under consideration and what they might mean for them.

How Should Employee Communication and Engagement Strategies Be Developed?

Already we have called out “humanity” – and this is at the center of Prophet’s Human-Centered Transformation Model™.

Using this model, we can see some areas of focus for business leaders when it comes to employee engagement and the need to interconnect these areas to take a truly holistic approach to the organizational ecosystem.

How To Use Prophet’s Human-Centered Transformation Model™ To Enhance Employee Engagement

  • DNA: Take care of the ‘whole’ person. Be aware of what people are going through – at work and at home – and find ways to engage beyond work topics. Design a holistic approach that truly enables employees to bring their best selves to work.
  • SOUL: Become the heartbeat of the organization. Inspire dialogue, demonstrate empathy and provide the channels and mechanisms to create a compelling rhythm of engagement as well as constant feedback loops. Build connections and create links between individual action and collective impact.
  • MIND: Get the organization fit for ongoing change. Guide the learning agenda, setting expectations and allowing for agility and curiosity. Lay the groundwork for continuous re-skilling and up-skilling, open sharing and rapid learning.
  • BODY: Be where your people are. Keep up with the latest needs, expectations and digital tools being used. Tailor what, how and when you communicate and engage to increase relevance and make it stick.


The future of work is here – and “human-first” leads the way. If you have not started, this is the critical time to reset your employee engagement strategy as we slowly emerge into the next phase of the pandemic. Leaders need to be aligned, capable and equipped – as they are the ones that set and deliver on the expectations for the majority – and there is no escaping this core dynamic.

If you would like to learn more about how we approach employee communication and engagement as part of a holistic cultural system get in contact today.