Communicating with Employees During COVID-19 (coronavirus)

HEALTH & WELL-BEING | Mar 23, 2020

We know that companies across the globe have a lot going on right now. And what seemed important just a week ago, may not be anymore. We just want you to know that we’re here for whatever you need.

There’s a lot to take into account when it comes to general employee communication — and even more to consider when you’re working on crisis employee communication. Here are 10 tips to help you reach your people effectively (and compassionately) while COVID-19 (coronavirus) disrupts our daily lives:

  1. Revamp for virtual: Projects that still need to happen may have to be rethought for a virtual workforce. Not only in terms of the messaging — to recognize unusual circumstances — but also the delivery channels.
  2. Create messaging for different audiences: If you have employees who are now required to work from home, but also employees who are still going in to work, you may need separate communication tracks. Those audiences will have different questions, concerns and delivery needs. Many of our clients prefer to keep communication broad whenever possible, but targeted messages may be best when it comes to crisis employee communication.
  3. Know when more is more: Under normal circumstances we caution about over-communicating (especially through email), but these are not normal circumstances. In the current environment, employees are actually hungry for information, and we’ve seen significant increases in open rates and website visits.
  4. Be online, on time: Websites are more important than ever. Having a section on COVID-19 (coronavirus) that’s regularly updated, well-organized and user-friendly keeps information flowing and reinforces the perception that things are under control.
  5. Time stamp it (when you can): Because the situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) is fluid and things are changing by the hour, we’re taking cues from the world of news and using a lot more time stamping in our employee communication. Employees feel comfortable knowing they’re seeing the latest information.
  6. Create a look and feel: It’s okay to brand COVID-19 (coronavirus) communication. The seriousness of the issue needs to be reflected in the look — but having a consistent and easily identifiable brand shows that your response to the situation is organized and purposeful.
  7. Stay positive: Adding a note of optimism seems to help. Employees don’t need or want unrealistic promises, but a little bit of positivity can go a long way.
  8. Think forward: It’s important to keep an eye on what employee needs may emerge if social distancing measures continue. Do we need communication about working from home and caring for your children at the same time? What new channels can be used to quickly and cost-effectively disseminate information (think podcasts and virtual resources road shows)?
  9. Try to keep things moving: Give yourself permission to make quick decisions. This is not the time to stress over perfect execution. Employees and leaders will not be judging your work as much as your ability to respond.
  10. Take a breath: It’s important to remember that we will get through this together and employees will appreciate your efforts to keep them informed!

Let’s Be Partners

If you’re ready to change how your people use their benefits, experience company culture and take actions that drive success at work and in life, we’re ready to help. Together, we can raise the bar on your employee communication and produce measurable results so that you can grow and thrive.

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