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Effective Internal Communications During COVID-19 Outbreak

The COVID-19 is spreading at a rapid pace across the globe, more than 190,000 worldwide have been infected thus far. This pandemic is being described as the ‘worst public health crisis for a generation.’ With it comes an unprecedented societal and business disruption.

Businesses are concerned about the welfare of their employees, while at the same time rethinking how to work and survive this crisis. The current situation has made remote work a real necessity. Employees are looking for clear guidance while working through this. Misinformation in the workplace can become rampant, making your employees feel stressed and insecure.

For both the safety of employees and business continuity Internal Communications and HR teams find themselves needing to adjust their communications strategies to align with the new situation. They are looking for effective ways to keep employees informed about the virus and its impact on the staff’s day to day activities.

Timely, accurate, and effective communication is vital when dealing with this outbreak. Waiting to respond until something has happened is hardly an option. During times of crisis, internal communication is the glue that holds the business together.

It’s time to ensure there is an excellent remote working system in place together with a transparent and ongoing communications strategy for employees. One of the most challenging aspects of crisis communications is the need to create a wide range of critical content and have it pushed out to the right audiences as quickly as possible.

Here are 5 crisis communications best practices that you can implement during the coronavirus outbreak:

Keep Your Employees Informed in Real-Time

Turn your current internal communication strategy into real-time communications. Not responding immediately to your employee’s concerns may accelerate the spread of panic and misinformation across the organization. In times of crisis, you need to create and distribute updates related to the pandemic quickly. Offer a two-way communication channel to foster engagement and comradery. Giving your employees a way to comment or react to company communications will help you collect feedback and address any questions that come up.

Reach Every Employee Wherever They Are

No matter where your employees are, they need the right information. More than ever, during a crisis, you need to ensure your content is getting to them. One way to do it is by extending your reach beyond the company intranet and pushing your updates to employees’ mobile devices or email.

Get the Right Information to the Right People

Your employees need information that’s relevant to them. Different groups within your organization will require different types of messages. For example, you might consider sharing specific resources with your company’s leadership to help them model stabilizing communications; or you may post FAQs for the frontline workers. Use your internal communications platform to segment your content, so your employees only receive the information they need and nothing else.

Make Sure Critical Information is Delivered and Read

At times, you will need to share urgent news or information that’s critical to your internal stakeholders. But it is not always easy to tell whether people have read your memo and taken the desired action. Having a communication channel that helps you easily track who has read and acknowledged your message, can make all the difference. Mandatory and compliance posts are a great way to clearly indicate to your audience that your message is mission-critical. Mandatory posts are visually distinct and stay at the top of Sparrow’s newsfeed until read. Compliance posts require the readers to acknowledge they have read and will comply with the information or policy change.

Measure the Impact of Your Internal Communications

Measuring the impact of your internal communications is even more critical than ever with the COVID-19 crisis. Track your most important metrics such as the number of unique views, complete reads (e.g. have they read the entire article or dropped off before an important piece of information?), or audience engagement. Knowing how many employees have read the latest COVID-19 update and are aware of important changes will empower you to make informed decisions about your crisis communication strategy. Additionally, it will arm you with data that you can share with the leadership team to help them understand the situation.

Proper communication will help protect your employees, build trust, prevent the spread of misinformation, and help employees feel secure. Transparent and real-time communication will help your business weather the coronavirus storm.