Does this post even need an introduction? Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are COVID-19 has been on your mind pretty much 24/7. And you’ve probably been contacted by nearly every company with whom you've ever done business in the past week alone. But what is your company saying? Even if your organization has a sound crisis communications plan in place, the recent events have almost everyone taking a step back and thinking through how to communicate to employees.
As we navigate these uncharted waters together, there are a few things you can do to communicate effectively to your employees now and in these next few weeks and months.
Communicate early and often: Things are changing daily, even hourly, right now. Keeping employees in the loop on not only what is happening in the world but how you are responding to it is essential. Lead with facts—and know that you don’t need to have all the answers. Even saying “we will have an update on how this impacts you soon” can offer a sense of comfort to employees during this especially uncertain time. Give employees a place to ask questions or share feedback.
Consider all channels: When communicating, be sure to keep in mind all the different channels in which your employees have access. Would an email update reach everyone? Some plant floor employees don’t have access to a computer during their shifts but instead look at message boards. Thinking through all the different ways in which your internal audiences receive information will ensure you’re getting to everyone in a timely manner.
Offer technological resources: Share technologies that employees can download for virtual face-to-face meetings or other apps that can help make communication easier. For example, all akhia employees downloaded b-hive since working remotely, which is an app that allows you to field calls through your mobile phone and talk with employees through extensions similar to how you would at your physical office location.
Share other resources to boost mental health: Almost everyone is struggling right now with the uncertainty of everything. Sharing tips to boost morale, keep spirits up and increase productivity will help employees feel supported from afar. Consider even sharing resources to help keep their kids entertained and stimulated.
Promote safety, support and flexibility: Stress the importance of everyone staying healthy, encourage teams to offer support if someone needs help and be open to more flexible schedules, if that is an option. Some employees may need to shift working times to different parts of their day to accommodate children’s schedules or other personal errands. Now is the time to embrace and support each other to help everyone and get the work done.
Most importantly, let’s all try our best to maintain a positive outlook and attitude. One day soon, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and we will look back on this as a time of perseverance and learning.
To have this information at your fingertips, download our internal communications checklist here.