How to communicate with employees about the Coronavirus/Covid-19
As a business owner and communications specialist, I’m helping many of our clients and partners craft a message to their employees about the current situation with the Coronavirus/Covid-19. Here are the top three things to do when communicating with your team during uncertain times like this.
1. Craft your message from a place of understanding
The people on your team are scared and looking for direction from their leadership team that will calm their fears. Everyone has different experiences that are affecting their reaction to all the information and misinformation being promoted on social media and in the news. You may not completely agree with everyone’s position, but if you come from a place of understanding and openness and are willing to listen to their concerns, this will build trust and understanding with your employees.
Start your message with, “I understand…. Or “The management team wants to address everyone’s concerns…” Invite employees to provide their questions and suggestions on how the company should deal with the current situation. This can be in a public or private manner.
If you haven’t already done so, schedule open office hours for employees to speak with upper management.
2. Stick with the facts
There is a lot of misinformation about the Coronavirus and how it will affect people. Encourage your team to seek out reputable sources of information such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/. If your employees have health concerns, they should speak with their family physician or nurse to seek medical advice.
Never provide your employees with your opinion or judgment on what they should do in regard to medical concerns.
Never make assumptions about the current Coronavirus situation. Refer to reputable sources such as the CDC. It’s ok to provide statics in your communications but leave it at that.
3. Address your team’s concerns with a plan
If team members are asking for remote work options or calling in sick, be sure you have clearly defined processes and procedures for these types of requests. You should be working with your HR department or an HR professional to ensure these processes are up to date and appropriate for the situation. You don’t want to open your business up to legal issues nor do you want to leave the employee unprotected by not following the right government guidelines.
The better you set expectations and provide direction on what team members can and can’t do, the smoother you will work through this unexpected situation. Clearly define the process such as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3, etc.
Make sure team members know who they should speak to and how to document these requests. Everything should be in writing. I can’t stress this enough, be sure you are working with your HR team or an HR consultant to make sure you are following the correct state and government guidelines.
Remember, people are looking to you for guidance and reassurance that the team will get through this together. They want to know that you care and that there is a plan to deal with the current situation that will result in everyone’s safety and success. If you include these top three essentials messages in your company communications, you will provide the guidance and trust needed for everyone in the company to get through the Coronavirus situation.
If you are still not sure what to communicate or you would like input and the review of your communications plan, please reach out to REBL Marketing. We sincerely want to help you get through this so we can all get back to building our businesses together.
Call us to review your communications plan at 858.848.7325 or firstname.lastname@example.org