Crisis doesn’t come with a warning, and it comes at an unexpected time. Take the present Coronavirus situation, for instance! Countries across the world have shut down, and people are forced to stay indoors and work from home. In such a time, it is also essential for a company to handle their employees and disseminate proper information so that the employees don’t panic.
Communication is the key to handing employee crises during work from home. Some of the effective ways of communicating with employees are:
- Be proactive: Always plan for emergency and be active in encountering them. It is sensible to be prepared in a way so that the business and work doesn’t go into a loss and downward curve when a crisis occurs.
- Get a team together: During the planning phase for a crisis, identify the potential employees who will be at the crisis management team. These people should be active and have enough knowledge of what to do when disaster strikes.
- Don’t expect employees to come to you: Immediately arrange a notification system whereby you reach your employees effectively with accurate information and guidance while they work from home.
- Don’t put up roadblocks: Trying to make the employees stop communicating during crises through social platforms is futile. Social media regularly disseminates thousands of fake and rumors in the name of information. At such a time, an organization should help the employees working from home to shape their messages by providing the correct information promptly.
- Act fast and provide accurate information: Speed is the key when it comes to crisis communications. However, it shouldn’t be that you spread false information while you are speeding away with updates.
- Never go silent: Never be silent and panic the employees. Instead, be responsive and give answers to the queries of the employees. If your organization is not fully prepared to respond to any emergency, the HR team should let staffers know about the situation and that the organization is gathering information on the future course of action.
- Test the plans: Test your crisis plans. The well-crafted communication plan may fail if the employees don’t know how it works. Test the strategies at least once a year, to find out from employees how it works and how effective it is. You can then adjust the plan and make changes if required.
- Evaluate: Post-crisis assessments are also essential. Review how the internal communication plan was executed and determine its success and what needs to be improved.
Employers and organizations should always keep messages consistent, even if different internal audiences required different information, depending on the nature of the crisis. Also, when disaster hits, don’t wait for employees to reach the HR and organization for information. HR should immediately reach out to the people. For example, one can notify the employees about emergencies through a recorded message when they called a specific phone number in office. Also, one can send notifications to affected employees through phone, e-mail, and text to make them aware and informed regularly. There are many ways an organization and HR team can deliver effective crisis communications to its employees:
- Have a standby statement ready: Make your employees aware of the situation and let them know when you are gathering information so that they are assured their workplace is doing their bit.
- Update them about what you’re doing: Keep the employees updated about the actions you are undertaking to tackle the situation and providing benefits for the employees.
- Connect the people: If any employee is affected by the crisis, keep the employees informed about the situation and the status of the affected worker. This will make them feel connected to that person.
- Don’t stop talking once the crisis ends: Even after the crisis ends, it is essential to communicate with the employees regularly to keep them connected and aware of the actions and measures looking ahead.