Unfortunately the COVID-19 virus affects every business. Hoarding was a big thing in supermarkets whilst the hotel business was seeing a dramatic decrease in bookings. Stock levels decrease and the need for flexible staff is growing. In short; COVID-19 messes with your normal day-to-day business.
Corona changes your company’s future plans. Actually, that is an understatement. We see an increase in questions such as: ‘How do I keep my staff up to date?’,‘How can I make sure there's no panic amongst my teams?’, ‘Which procedures should they follow and how do we communicate this clearly?’
A clear communication plan provides stability for your organisation. Your company is depending on it. Answer questions and take away uncertainty amongst your employees. Make use of our 6 tips for crisis communication!
Tip 1: create an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list: answer the most important questions of your employees
Your employees have many questions about hygiene, new measures, about being sick, working more hours, about the company during crisis and about customer service.
List down those questions and make sure you will answer those questions. Employees go to you as a manager with their questions all the time. You must get these questions all the time. If this is the case, you must have a platform on which you answer most important questions.
Your employees can read this information. In case they have specific questions, they always can approach you personally. Top tip: If you have an employee experience platform, your employees can approach you easily via chat.
Top tip: If you have an employee experience platform, your employees can approach you easily via chat
Tip 2: use one single source of truth to keep your employees posted
It is essential that your crisis communication reaches all your employees at the same time.
Your employees are non-desk workers and therefore you need to think about a platform that makes it possible to reach all employees. Ideally, you want a tool that meets the following requirements:
- The tool is available for your employee’s smartphone
- Your employees have a personal login
- You can send quick updates with this tool
- The tool is GDPR-compliant
- You can send different messages per group, location and team.
An employee experience app works perfectly for crisis communication: An employee experience app works perfectly for crisis communication:
- You can reach all your employees with one click of a button.
- You don’t need to switch between different platforms.
- You can communicate between different groups and send different measures per team or location.
- You can monitor the performance of your messages by using metrics.
Tip 3: make use of video messaging to make your messaging even more persuasive
Did you know that your employees take top-down messaging more seriously in crisis situations? According to Interact , employees need to hear from managers in times of crisis. Tribean internal communication strategies expert, recommends that a short video with a message from the CEO works best in those situations.
Short videos, no longer than 60 seconds, in which the CEO explains the meaning of a certain procedure work best. Make sure that the CEO mentions the key takeaways.
Tip 4: make sure all employees read your messages
Key for crisis communication is that EVERYONE reads your messages.
For example, you have to introduce a new hygiene measure. Nine out of ten employees read your message and they comply strictly with those measures. However, the tenth employee did not read this message and does therefore not comply with the rules. Needless to say, the new procedure won’t work.
How should you approach this?
- Make sure that you can monitor performance of your messaging. How many employees read the message? Make use of metrics. This is for example possible with Flex-Appeal’s internal communications platform. You can see who has read the message and who did not.
- Set a daily reminder, so you can reach even more employees. A push reminder works great.
Tip 5: create short m-learnings
Create short m-learnings. Quickly delivering the message is key for crisis communication.
For example, supermarkets can only allow limited numbers of customers to enter. Your non-desk workers must strictly follow this rule. It is crucial for them to know what to do in this situation.
This measure is too complex to answer quickly. In this case, creating short interactive m-learnings would be a better solution. You explain step by step what your employees should do in this situation. If they have specific questions after the m-learning course, they can always approach you later.
Top tip: set deadlines for the m-learning courses. You want your employees to be fully informed, as soon as possible. Create an m-learning course and you can easily monitor who finished the course and who didn’t.
Tip 6: Learn and reflect
Learn from this situation. For the next crisis, you know at least what to do. Here some insider tips:
- List down hurdles you experienced during the process.
- Ask your employees for feedback about crisis communication. Create a poll and let them vote. This is an easy way of quickly gaining answers.
- List down what went well. You can apply this in the same way next time.
Conclusion: crisis communication is key!
Create a clear crisis communications plan. And communicate this as clearly as possible. Answer questions from your employees as quickly as possible. The guiding principle for crisis communication should be: have a single source of truth in place. Flex-Appeal is an example of such a platform.