Action plan for discussing the coronavirus in the workplace

Coronavirus Employee Communication Plan

Is Your Coronavirus Employee Communication Plan In Place?

While media coverage of the recent coronavirus outbreak and its accompanying illness (COVID-19) is extensive, it’s crucial that organizations create their own internal communication plan. The coronavirus has now spread beyond isolated pockets of infected individuals. We have already seen how the efforts to control the outbreak have led to port closures, travel bans, stock market swings, supply chain issues, and so much more. All of this creates uncertainty in the workplace. An employee-facing coronavirus communication plan can clear up confusion and help employees understand how their specific workplace is affected and what is being done to mitigate any concerns. Here are three steps to get you started in your workplace.

1. Set the record straight about the coronavirus.

Establish what the coronavirus is and what it isn’t. Since there is a lot of misinformation about the virus and how it’s transmitted, it’s important to confirm what’s known to be true. Cite trusted sources for coronavirus information and prevention advice, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you see content created by a third party, be sure that it references solid sources like these.

Pro tip: Go beyond emails or text-heavy messaging and use visuals whenever possible in your internal communications. Visuals will help grab your audience’s attention and deliver messaging that is more likely to be understood and remembered. This is particularly important if your workforce includes ESL (English as a Second Language) employees.


2. Show how your workplace facility is preventing and preparing for the coronavirus.

As with cold and flu viruses, proper hygiene plays a big role in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. But how are you making it easier for employees to wash their hands? Are you placing hand-washing reminders around your facility? Are you making sure soap dispensers are stocked and paper towels are available? These are just some of the actions that should be implemented and communicated to employees.

One message every organization should relate to employees concerns “presenteeism” and its prevention. There’s a tendency for employees to show up for work even though they’re feeling ill. They may be afraid of losing their job or feeling overwhelmed with work, but whatever the reason, your policy about coming to work while sick (and spreading germs) needs to be clearly stated and reinforced. Communicate this policy through all channels. The more public the channel (such as workplace digital signage in your breakrooms and hallways), the more all employees and managers will understand that presenteeism has no place in your organization.

3. Communicate your plan for mitigating the coronavirus’s impact on your business. 

Some employees may not be familiar with Business Continuity Planning (BCP), but all properly prepared organizations have a continuity plan. A well-crafted plan ensures everything stays on track during a disruptive event like the coronavirus outbreak, and now is the time to make sure your employees are aware of your organization’s strategy. Each organization’s plan will be different. For some, maintaining the supply chain may be the real issue. For others, having employees work remotely or at a different facility in the event of an outbreak may be the priority. Communicating that you have a BCP alleviates fear and increases your leadership team’s visibility during a potentially confusing time.

 

By taking these simple steps, your organization will not just be getting serious about coronavirus awareness and prevention; you’ll also drive home the fact that you care about the health and safety of your employees, and that your leadership team is being proactive to meet concerns like this head on.

Coronavirus Awareness and Healthy Workplace Videos: Free Samples

To help you get started with your coronavirus employee communication plan, Marlin is making the following workplace digital signage content available to you to download and use in your facilities.

General hygiene & prevention best practices:

Content specific to coronavirus:

For additional workplace digital signage content and ideas, contact info@themarlincompany.com.

 

Sean Donnelly
March 4, 2020

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