We find ourselves in unprecedented times with employers and employees having to adapt to the temporary COVID-19 conditions which may entail working from home, shutdowns or essential production under stricter safety and social distancing regulations. During this situation, there will be high levels of uncertainty, anxiety and fear.
To alleviate some of this uncertainty and maintain your team’s morale and customer confidence implement a proactive communication strategy which provides regular updates. Use the suggestions in this checklist to assist with your communication during this crisis:
1. Be proactive
Ensure that you share information as soon as it becomes relevant. Implement a notification system that regularly sends out updates to employees and customers.
2. Stay Connected
Utilise the digital technology that’s freely available to connect with your teams on a regular basis. Setup check-in meetings with key members who make up the crisis management team. Being visible creates a feeling of connection and calm.
3. Be honest and transparent
There will be a lot of unknowns during this current situation but communicating honestly and transparently on what you do know, what is being done, when and how will eliminate conjecture and rumour. When you don’t have the answers be honest and commit to letting your team know when issues become clearer.
4. Stay Focused and confident
Maintain confidence with employees and customers by focusing on what can be done and communicating these actions. By keeping everyone focused on what and how to navigate the volatility will create a more positive and productive environment.
5. Be flexible and supportive
Be clear about expectations for those required to work from home, but be flexible with possible timelines as your employees will be tackling the challenges of time and attention with kids and spouses at home. Show support by offering ideas on how you’ve adopted guidance on how to adapt to the new norm.
6. Don’t put up roadblocks
While you may want to control all communication you cannot stop employees from communicating about the crisis on social media channels. You can, however, help direct their attention to factual, correct and accurate information and instil a sense of responsibility to communicate as such during the crisis.
7. Encourage Feedback and Problem-Solving Thinking
Keep communications channels open by encouraging employees to share feedback, ideas and solutions to help boost morale. Show patience and a sense of humour which are much needed to help with stress.
8. Don’t go silent
Don’t go silent. If your organization is not yet ready to respond to an emergency, HR should at least let employees know that the organization is gathering information and will follow up as soon as it can.