Crisis communication refers to the technologies, systems, and processes that enable your organization to convey messages back and forth to your workforce and other stakeholders in the event of an emergency.
Earlier this year, the need for a robust crisis communication plan hit companies worldwide like a tidal wave, with the onset of COVID-19. To a certain extent, you can never go wrong by overcommunicating with your employees. Still, this principle is even more applicable as your business continues to adjust to the changes brought on by the virus.
Make information accessible anywhere.
The methods you use to communicate with your workforce may include anything from bulletin board postings, posters, and snail-mail to emails, text messages, and app-based alerts.
- The bottom line: Make key messages accessible wherever people are. For instance, don’t assume they have a computer or mobile device at their fingertips. More traditional media may still work better in some cases. Your best strategy is a multi-media approach.
Communicate openly and honestly.
According to the 2019 Workforce Mindset Study, less than half of all employees feel the communication they receive from their companies is open and honest. And yet, numerous studies have shown that workers are significantly more engaged when communication channels flow freely and transparently.
- Especially during a crisis, provide as much information as possible. If there are certain points you cannot share, say so in an honest and sincere fashion. Reassure people that you will continue to keep them up to date to safeguard their health and well-being.
Communicate early and often.
Today’s 24-hour news cycle has imploded since the onset of COVID-19. Updates from government, business, and other sources can change hourly. Keep your company’s voice prominent and reliable by conveying news as early and frequently as possible, while ensuring accuracy. This is where you need to cover all your media bases, so everyone gets your messages, regardless of their location or current situation.
Empower managers so they can keep people informed.
Only 50 percent of managers surveyed in the Workforce Mindset Study felt they had the necessary tools to have tough conversations with their employees. In times of crisis, equip your managers with the messaging, authority, and resources they need to facilitate ongoing two-way communications. If they’re well prepared, they can better support their people, who look to them for leadership and guidance.
Yes, it’s personal.
There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for successful employee communication. It’s essential to consider every individual team member’s needs – which in the case of COVID-19, starts with their risk of exposure, whether they’re working remotely or commuting into work. Parents, caretakers, singles who may be experiencing isolation-related stress, and others, all may need specialized attention and support.
- Show compassion. Tensions can run high, so be sensitive and level-headed. Your goal as you navigate this crisis is to calm nerves, share relevant information, and provide the resources people need to make informed decisions about their own health, safety, and livelihood.
At PrideStaff Fresno, our goal is to help you develop communication and HR strategies to meet all your changing needs while achieving desired business results. We can also help you build and right-size your workforce in areas including customer service, IT, accounting and finance, healthcare, production, and administrative and legal support. Contact us today to learn more.