Just a couple of nights ago, Corona Covid-19 was something ‘happening over there‘ – worthy of a news agenda, but perhaps not fully on the internal communications agenda.
Across all businesses, great and small, there is a wide variety in the degrees of preparedness for this crisis.
All about the people
Of course, the primary focus is on the health and wellbeing of people, with early strategies and policies aimed at containing and reducing the spread of the virus.
Something that makes this Coronavirus crisis a little different from other crisis communication situations is that it’s all about the employees with the narrative being driven largely from inside the organisation.
It’s not quite as simple as pushing out messages from the top down, there has to be a joined up approach to getting the messaging right for employees and the communication team needs to be working hand in hand with HR, IT and a centralised risk task force.
With communication focused on employees, the communication team holds the cards here in terms of understanding all available channels, knowing what their various employee groups have access to and their communication preferences.
We clearly see a mix of Intranet platforms, Mobile apps and e-mail being used.
It’s important to agree which channel is to be your ‘single source of truth’. For many this will be a news arcticle on the company intranet, but it may be an all staff email.
The article may be a living page/document with updates timed and dated or it may even be a briefing from management.
Generally, you would communicate updates at a pace that suits the changing nature of the respective crisis. For Coronavirus at the moment (it may change in time), a daily update is essential as your starting point.
Communicating frequently, consistently and clearly is the number one rule.
Even if you think there is nothing new to say, communicate to say just that!
If you have promised a daily update, give a daily update.
If you don’t others will start to make things up!
If your employees feel informed, reassured and understand their role in the situation, they will feel empowered to act appropriately. This is at the heart of good crisis communication.
Having a FAQ document or page on your Company Intranet to support any communication will save a heap of time and help to reassure staff.
With Involv intranet you can build a ‘toolkit’ for employees with self-help guides, video clips (of handwashing maybe?) and FAQs so that employees feel empowered to take control of the situation for themselves.
If some of these assets are shareable via their own social media channels too, then this could be a neat employee advocacy move as well.
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