In the past few weeks, our world has changed dramatically at a rapid, even dizzying pace. Here at Abel Communications, we are eager to provide support and guidance to our partners, clients, and friends regarding communicating in a crisis.
The focus of this post is internal communications. We believe that it’s vital to prioritize your team in times of uncertainty. While the world outside your company will continue to change, one thing you can control is a commitment to keeping your employees informed—even if it means acknowledging what you don’t know.
With that said, here are five key tips for leaders and communicators to keep in mind regarding internal communications during the Coronavirus Crisis:
Establish Clear Points of Contact
In this period of uncertainty, your team should know who to go to for what. One effective strategy you can implement immediately is identify key issues and establish points of contact for each of them. Who is going to be your technology go-to person? Who is the liaison on health and wellness, providing your team with updates on things like CDC guidelines for hand washing and social distancing? Who is in charge of clarifying the remote work policy? Finally, make sure there is a catchall contact, a key person to ask when you don’t know who to ask.
Communicate Frequently and Clearly
It might be impossible to communicate too often with your team during this crisis. An appropriate cadence should be at least every other day from the CEO, and daily communications from departmental leaders to their teams. It is also a good idea for leaders to address key areas consistently. To do so, make a list of the key topics on your employees’ minds, and then address them—whether in a virtual meeting, email, or conference call.
Establish New Routines
In a world gone haywire, there’s something comforting about routines. New routines will help to ease the mind of your employees and give them valuable anchors. At Abel Communications, we begin each workday with a virtual coffee meeting. At 9 a.m., everyone logs into Google Hangouts and we brainstorm client ideas and simply check in with one another. I recommend it.
Be as Transparent as Possible
Now is not the time to be evasive or avoid tough questions. When in doubt, leaders should communicate what they know, what they don’t know, and what they’re learning more about. Showing humility and transparency as a leader will also foster a culture of openness, which can only benefit your organization in the long run.
Practice and Model Self-Care
Leaders should advocate and practice healthy routines with an emphasis on the importance of exercise, getting outside, and paying attention to mental health. Encourage employees to take regular walks, meditate, and spend time away from the news. Additionally, allow yourself to be your most human right now. Acknowledge that this is an unprecedented situation, and go easy on yourself.
Finally, if you or your team need help reviewing communications materials or plans, we will be happy to provide up to a half hour of free consultation. Feel free to reach out to me directly by hitting reply or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Communicating in a Crisis” is Abel Communications ongoing series on how to effectively communicate with your key audiences during the coronavirus pandemic. Share this series by clicking HERE and sending the link to colleagues and friends.