How to Communicate with Your Employees During the COVID-19 Crisis

How to communicate with employees during COVID19

As COVID-19 disrupts the regular course of business around the globe, we have an opportunity to evaluate how we communicate with our employees during times of crisis. During times like these, organizations must have a clear strategy for communicating with their employees. Whether your organization had a clear plan in place before this global event or you are looking to create one in light of it, here are some tips that can help you keep your employees calm, healthy, and productive. 

Communicate quickly and regularly

When employees don’t have a clear sense of how their company is responding to a situation, it creates stress and speculation, and it impacts productivity. As soon as your organization has a plan or response, notify your employees as quickly as possible. And, because the situation around COVID-19 is changing so rapidly, your employees will naturally wonder whether your policies are changing as well. Reduce uncertainty by regularly reinforcing your decisions and letting employees know that a particular status hasn’t changed. When it does, let them know as soon as possible.

Communicate with ALL employees

Take stock of your communications channels and choose the right channels for the right audience and ensure there is an audience that includes everyone. Workplace messaging tools like Slack, email, and desktop alerts are great tools to reach employees, whether they’re actually in the office or working remotely. But what about your temporary or desk-less employees? For employees who don’t sit at a desk, digital signage in public and common areas is an effective way to let employees know the latest company news. This collection of COVID-19 Update templates will help you keep your workforce informed. 

Design Your Internal Communication Tree

In times of crisis, it is vital to know who’s responsible for communicating to which employees and when. Creating an actionable guide can help your team stay organized in case of an event. An internal communication tree should include who and/or what position is responsible for sending out important communications. It can also speak to where these messages should be shared as well and at what cadence to help keep updates frequent and transparent. Determining who sends out the electronic messages, writes the emails, and makes the updates to office digital signs are all roles to consider when creating an internal communication structure. Ensure all messages are consistent, concise, and have a plan in place for content review as well as a schedule for release and a cadence for follow up. But most importantly, make sure that any communication plan that you implement reaches all employees regardless of team, shift, or location. 

Reinforce important official guidance

In many crises, there are often official guidelines put forth by government or world organizations. And they matter. For the COVID-19 outbreak, these guidelines are in place so that health officials can gain control of the pandemic and help us return to life and business as usual as soon as possible. Specific to this event, you can find some ready-to-use resources and behavioral guidance for the current COVID-19 pandemic. Use this content in your workplace communication channels — especially on one-to-many digital signage solutions and desktop applications — to remind employees about social distancing recommendations, proper hygiene, and signs and symptoms of the virus. 

Make sure the information is up-to-date

No matter the crisis, these events always see rapidly changing news, guidelines, and information. Right now, the situation in the country and your backyard is no different. You can find and share the latest updates with your workforce through various RSS feeds, infographics, and websites as instructed by local, state, national, and global authorities. Specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic, check out CORONAVIRUS.GOV or https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 for more information. 

 

For questions about how to create a communication strategy during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic or to access ready-made workplace content addressing the novel coronavirus, contact info@themarlincompany.com

Anna Nieman
March 24, 2020

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