The pandemic has had severe repercussions on businesses and day to day living alike. Countries across the globe are deploying diverse measures to combat not just the virus, not the business implications caused by it. According to experts, a recession, bigger than 2008 is impending and ensuring financial stability is a big challenge across the globe.
Equally demanding is the need to ensure business continuity. Teams have now been shifted to completely online operations, remote working is the new norm and businesses that previously were averse to the concept of remote teams have to now accept it wholeheartedly if they want to keep the businesses afloat.
But that’s not all. The remote teams have now been remote for more than 6 months. The initial hesitation around ‘working from home’ has now hit the ground on the business side but on the employee-side, there’s a lot of uncertainty floating around. Not all businesses are doing well, some have significantly reduced their spends- on marketing as well as resources and some have cut down on the staff. The future of business and the job market is dicey and this can create anxiety in the employees that are working remotely. This is why maintaining a consistent chain of communication with the employees is imperative. Employee awareness and engagement is the key to productive employees and the need for employees to be productive is more crucial than ever.
But with canceled team outings, no team parties, or all-hands meets, maintaining communication with the employees is a big challenge for business leaders. In this article, we will discuss how to streamline communication, especially crisis communication with your remote employees.
Have a communication strategy in place
“A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble at his door.” – Confucius.
Especially when it comes to crisis communication, having a strong strategy to move ahead is necessary. Crisis communication is an integral part of corporate communication and can be applied for natural calamities and disasters as well as man-made disasters, socio-political turmoils, physical plan failures and outages as well as a pandemic. Companies who have a crisis communication plan in place can easily align with the nature of the problem and take actions to alert the employees as well as keep them engaged and informed. Define the goals of your crisis communication plan and decide what you need to keep your employees informed about in the first place. It can be anything from reassuring them during difficult times, extending moral support, keeping productivity high, etc. This will help in quickly responding to any crisis, known or unprecedented. Build a schedule to send out alerts and updates on a regular basis.
Build a communication team
‘Too many cooks spoil the curry’. Especially when it comes to crisis communication, having reliable, one single source of information is imperative. Define an inhouse team of leaders, managers or people’s representatives that will exclusively communicate with the employees. Ensure this team will be updated with company information as well as related information about the crisis and no one else takes charge to spread misinformation. This can help in avoiding panic. Make sure this team is humane, is skilled in communication and is quick to respond.
Choose your messaging wisely
Your communication team should be responsible here to be crisp and precise with the information they send out. The tone of the messaging should be warm, reassuring as well as in-line with your brand tone and communication style. The alerts and updates should help in settling the panic and not creating one and should be factually accurate. Moreover, the communication can be over one-to-one messaging, broadcast, video conferencing or AMA (Ask me anything) style. This will help employees clear their doubts if any. Be clear about the messaging, don’t over-promise or underwhelm, be in line with HR policies and make it clear about the future business plans. Also keep the employees updated about any changes in payment cycles, leave policies and other employee benefits and keep the line of communication open at all times.
Ensure consistent communication through a team communication app
There couldn’t be a better time to invest in a team communication app. Let this app be the only source of communication from your crisis team and management so that employees do not miss out on any updates. On company-owned devices, configure the app to flash messages on the screen until they are read by the employee to ensure that messages are always received by the employees.
Also Check: Oneteam Communication App that allows organizations to streamline communication.
This communication app should:
Be exclusive to business, no personal contacts are allowed to avoid distractions and messages being lost.
Should have message broadcasting facility to send out urgent updates
Should have read receipts
Employees should be able to flag important messages for future reference
File sharing should be available within the app- to share reports, documents or any other necessary documents
Should bind organization-wide teams and employees
Should support both personal and group messaging
Should be admin controlled- so that containing the spread of rumors and misinformation that can cause panic or fear is easy.
Your frontline employees and remote teams need to be in the loop at all times, especially when it comes to crisis like the looming pandemic. With the right communication app and dedicated communication strategy, upkeeping the spirits, as well as the productivity of your workforce, can be achieved with ease.
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Renuka Shahane is a Sr. Content Writer at Scalefusion. An engineering graduate, an Apple junkie and an avid reader, she has a 5+ years of experience in content creation, content strategy and PR for technology and web based startups.