According to Fortune, forecasts for global GDP decline in the second quarter of this year range from -8 percent. up to -24%. The day-to-day business processes and the way people work have also changed rapidly: until very recently, the ambiguous idea of working from home has become the inevitable norm.
It is not surprising that the changing labor market and processes are a challenge for a significant number of companies. However, it is not much to worry about as well-informed employees will work productively and efficiently. Therefore, it is highly important for a company it to develop the correct internal communication strategy. While the most important part depends on the context of the company itself (culture, values etc.), we would like to suggest some universal tactics to tackle the challenges associated with the pandemic.
As the situation caused by the coronavirus is truly extraordinary, it is worth considering building up a special team. The purpose of such a team is to plan and implement all processes related to quarantine or other COVID-19-related changes.
Certainly, not every employer can afford to build a team of employees by adding additional tasks during such a challenging period. However, it is sufficient to have a person responsible for the coronavirus plan and its implementation – this employee can be the one from the human resources department or a person who is responsible for the company’s operations.
After choosing the people responsible for coronavirus communication, the next step is to prepare the plan itself. It is perfectly understandable that when faced with this type of situation for the first time, it is difficult to decide what specific details you need to include. Moreover, since it is important to respond as quickly as possible, there is also no time for additional research (such as interviewing employees about what is necessary to know).
As a result, the best tactics would include utilizing a variety of media. In principle, it should consist of internal (for employees) and external (for customers) communication plans, reflecting the specific actions to be taken during the crisis. They should be shared through as many channels as possible, such as e-mails, social media, and virtual meetings.
The information that is provided on a regular basis can help to address the problem effectively, involving all the parties included in these processes. Moreover, feedback from employees and customers can help develop further strategies if the situation changes radically.
The vast majority of workplaces are currently trying to introduce a “work from home” approach. As corporate culture and policy has not been unified on this issue so far, those unfamiliar with this type of work may face additional challenges. Therefore, it is crucial to establish clear guidelines, both for employees and at the company level, on how the remote work should be carried out. Each team member should know the exact responsibilities, daily operations of the company, and procedures, including the ways to contact work supervisors. Various digital channels, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, are suitable for this purpose.
The problems associated with the crisis are extremely sensitive and require a great deal of attention. Therefore, a separate knowledge base or resource page should be created for similar types of channels used by the whole company. It would not only provide employees with all the information related to the coronavirus but also give them the opportunity to ask questions.
As we all know, the unprecedented situation is causing a great deal of additional stress for workers. It is essential to ensure that everyone working in the company is fully informed of any possible changes or unexpected new processes. This will avoid unnecessary stress that would hinder productivity or lead to dysfunctional communication within the team itself.
The assigned person should send daily information related to the company’s culture and general atmosphere.
The current crisis is closely linked to health – and although such practices are not normally needed at the company level, it is important to inform the workplace about sick or ill-feeling colleagues.
Those, who are unfamiliar with working from home, may doubt the effectiveness of this practice. In this case, you can share some interesting statistics to reassure that a lot of effort is put in to function normally. The statistics can be the number of emails sent or calls per day or even an interesting project shared with employee consent – the choice is really wide!
Daily internal communication on the current situation and related developments is necessary. In addition, it’s important to have regular company-wide calls or video conferences to present work done over a period of time. Also, the company needs to answer frequently asked questions in detail, and provide information on potential future actions. Regular communication and clearly communicated guidelines will increase internal employees’ collaboration.
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