5 tips for managing employee communications during a crisis
Est. Read Time: 3 min.
During a time of crisis, whether it’s the current COVID-19 pandemic or a natural disaster, employees rely on HR and their leaders for trustworthy information. But in these types of situations, your typical process for disseminating news probably doesn’t cut it. There’s more pressure than usual to get information out fast and ensure the facts are right. Considering that, here are a few tips for making sure that employee communications run smoothly.
1. Choose what’s most important
You may be tempted to send employees all the information you can get your hands on. But in situations like these, more isn’t necessarily better. It pays to take time to choose which communications are most important. Your employees are dealing with information overload right now and they count on you to determine what’s most relevant and which news sources are most valid.
2. Make it easy to find
Sending need-to-know information through email is necessary, but it shouldn’t be your sole communication channel. For some, their inbox is a whirlwind where important messages can easily be overlooked if they’re not read immediately. Not to mention, email distribution lists aren’t always reliable. There’s the risk that someone will be inadvertently left off.
That’s why it’s important to publish all information to your employee knowledgebase (if you have one) or HR intranet. This way, people can easily refer back to it or search for it when it applies to their personal situation. It’s much more reliable than counting on employees to star or flag need-to-know messages in their inbox.
3. Include specifics and dates
COVID-19 information is changing by the day, if not by the hour. With a fast-moving crisis like this, employees need to know which information is the newest. Include dates on when articles were last updated and how long specific directives are valid.
4. Pull in others to help
There’s a lot of pressure right now to turn around information fast. Whoever is normally charged with writing and publishing knowledgebase articles may not have the bandwidth to keep up with the constant updates and volume of news. Pull in others to help. Your internal comms team, managers, or subject matter experts all typically have strong communication skills and may be able to lend a hand.
5. Consider a variety of formats
Some people prefer text. It’s easier for them to quickly scan for the information they care about most. Others respond better to video. The combination of visual and auditory information helps keep them engaged. If you have the resources, it’s best to cover your grounds with both formats.
The key with video is not to overthink it. It doesn’t need to be fancy. A member of your team talking into the camera from their home will do. Plus, video has a human factor to it that many are craving during this time of social distancing.
How you communicate with employees right now will go a long way in building the trust they have in your company. That doesn’t mean you have to have all the answers, but it does mean you have to communicate clearly, often, and be wildly transparent.
If you’re a PeopleDoc customer, we have templated articles that you can easily import into your knowledgebase or HR intranet. Contact your customer service manager for details!
Looking for more ways to help employees during this time? There are three ways HR can support remote workers that inevitably benefit all employees, regardless of where they work.
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About Jolene Nicotina
Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.