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How to Effectively Communicate with Your Employees During Crisis (+ Free Infographic)

7 minute read

At the time of writing, the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting more than hundreds of thousands of people across the globe. The global economic impact is massive, approaching the financial crisis of 2008–09. 

Crises are critical times for any company. Lack of fast and effective communication with employees leads to confusion and distrust in the workplace. What’s more, in a situation where remote work becomes the norm and for sectors with non-desk and frontline workers, miscommunication is the forerunner of disengagement and decreased productivity. 

But fear not.

Today, there are internal communication tools and channels that help you shape the way your organization moves forward, significantly impacting your company’s customers and profits, longterm. 

In this blog post, we’ll share a few best practices you can use to reach and engage with your employees during a time of crisis. 

Build a Smart and Easy-to-Deploy Crisis Communication Plan

Hubspot defines a crisis communication plan as “A set of guidelines used to prepare a business for an emergency or unexpected event.”

Like for example:

  • Natural disasters
  • Product failure or contamination
  • Terror or hostage situations
  • Viruses or disease outbreaks
  • Power outages
  • Information security breaches
  • Legal issues
  • Bad press

With a proper plan in place, you’ll be able to quickly identify crises and act fast to ensure alignment with the overall strategy and the lowest impact possible. 

 

Four steps to a crisis communication plan

  • Define your goal

    Before you start building your plan, make sure you have a set goal of what you want to achieve (i.e. keep people informed, maintain clarity, reassure employees, manage productivity).

    Ask yourself, “What is the number 1 priority in this situation”?

  • Appoint a crisis communication team and identify spokespeople

    This stage is probably the most important when it comes to planning for a communication crisis. 

    Make sure you appoint a dedicated team and spokespeople with excellent communication skills. Inform your workforce about the team, their responsibilities, and what’s the quickest way to reach them out.

    Also, remember that you’re talking to people. Be human: 

    • Share messages through video if possible, and make sure to be timely in your response. 
    • Create an FAQ answering employee questions and update it frequently.

  • Have critical information readily available

    A crisis communication plan includes information about contacting authorities in certain situations or chains of command within the company for how certain information is distributed, evacuation plans, or community outreach plans. Knowing where to put file backups and how to ensure the security of your building or intellectual property are essential parts of this process. 

  • Ensure Message Consistency 

    Think about your employee’s needs and what your organization stands for. Present a consistent front to both your employees and customers. Your plan should cover the kinds of statements your company’s HR or communications team should make in different scenarios. 

    Give concrete steps for action, including:

    • What is expected of employees during this time?
    • Will there be a change in shifts or safety procedures?
    • What should employees do if they need to take time to care for a sick family member or fall ill themselves?
    • What should employees do if their children are home from school and it causes a logistical problem in fulfilling their work duties?

crisis-communication-CTA

Take Control of Crisis Management with an Employee App 

Fast and effective communication across teams during a crisis matters more than ever. Emails, intranets, and instant messaging apps aren’t efficient when employees need to be informed in real-time, and employers can’t afford delays. 

The best way to connect with your workforce is to opt for a mobile-first employee app that operates as a one-stop-shop and provides your employees with the necessary tools to efficiently work together in one place.

Centralizing your messages and your communication material during times of crisis allows you to clearly communicate top-down messages, share essential updates in live time, and engage with your employees when they need it the most.

Here’s how to connect with your disseminated teams during times of crisis using one single app: 

1. Timeline Messages

Timeline is the best place to share critical updates, announcements, and take employee polls to measure the pulse of your team, especially if your company has an enterprise social network (also known as ESN).

Pin’ the most important news updates, including crisis communications, to the top of your internal timeline - ensuring everyone can see it quickly and prominently.

desktop-timeline

2. Push Notifications

Alert your team of the latest news and relevant updates that have been shared within the ESN.  Added acknowledgment functionality guarantees that all employees are fully informed and aware of the appropriate steps to take in an emergency. 

3. Personal & Group Messaging

mobile-chat

Help managers to connect and check-in with employees either one-on-one or within specific employee groups to bridge the communications gap and ensure all are safe and able to stay productive in times of crisis. 

Messaging is especially impactful for those managing several teams, different shifts of workers, or frontline employees.

4. Chatbots

Chatbots not only improve employee communication and engagement but can be extremely powerful during times of crisis. 

They allow HR and communication teams to educate employees about best practices on how to stay safe and healthy in case of an emergency, by responding to their questions and concerns, and automatically notifying system administrators in real-time, including the option to escalate to live support. 

Chatbots decrease human capital management hours and costs, and at the same time, they provide employees with the tools, confidence, and safety they need to continue their work, especially in cases of self-quarantine.

Conclusion

Crises can massively impact a company’s finances, brand reputation, and employee loyalty. In those times, your workforce relies on you to be their source of reliable information and guidance

A concrete crisis communications plan and a mobile-friendly employee app will help you act fast, show a unified front, and make sure that your employees stay informed and feel safe.

Interested to know how to boost employee productivity and engagement in times of crisis?

Book a free demo now*

*To help businesses affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we give you high priority in our demo process

Rita is a Product and Marketing Copywriter at Speakap. She has a proven track record of success driving results for SaaS companies and continually enriches our content channels with her wide range of expertise.

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