Crisis communications: Keep calm and communicate

We’ll be the first to admit that we never imagined executing our Business Continuity Plan because of a highly infectious global disease. Power blackouts yes, public transport strikes naturally, but Coronavirus has been a curveball. We’re lucky; remote working was already part of our agency DNA, so little has changed in that respect (other than more attention given to backgrounds ahead of a Teams call). What has had the most significant impact on us as a global business has been our attitude in dealing with “this crisis”. We have 200 employees across five countries, and as experts in communications, particularly internal communications, we know the way we talk to colleagues in this time of uncertainty is crucial. For those of you reading this blog post with an employee engagement remit, we’ve collated some of our insights.

Lead by example

It’s during a crisis we see what our leaders are really made of. While the need to sell your products and services isn’t any less critical than it was six months ago, employer brand building has never been more important. We’ve seen some incredible examples of business altruism: lots of retailers like Pret and Starbucks have offered free hot drinks and discounted meals for NHS workers, supermarket chains are offering staff extra bonuses to reward them for their long hours, and the CEO of Monzo has announced he’ll forego his salary for 12 months to help see the business through the downturn. What you communicate through your actions to staff, and the wider world, is immeasurable.

Speak to humans, not job titles

This pandemic is a great eye opener – we will all be affected. Be the supportive employer that anticipates your staff’s needs and is willing to be flexible to help them get through this time. Nothing will win greater loyalty and support than the feeling that your employer has done everything they can to help. It will make employees want to reciprocate – and, when this crisis is all over and behind us, it will make teams and businesses stronger and more connected.

Look for opportunities to better your business-self

If we don’t confront uncertainty, we won’t see the path through it. Is now the time to take a moment to reflect and rethink what you do (whether it’s strategically or operationally)? What learnings are you taking from this, and how can you embed these in your business practices moving forward?

Embrace change

It’s doubtful that Coronavirus is: “going to disappear…like a miracle”, so we need to show long-term resilience. Is now the time to encourage your teams to use any downtime they have to upskill or help others? Remote working tools and technologies have never had so many people learn how to use their services. Look for those opportunities to evolve your business activities and help others. Who knows, it might even change your business purpose for the longer as well as the short-term.

If you have any questions about how best to communicate to your colleagues during these tricky times, or just want a friendly chat with someone that ‘gets’ what you’re going through, then drop us a line. We’re here for you.

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