Sponsor Insight: 3 Strategies to Align Employees During Times of Uncertainty
By Nicole Alvino
As the COVID-19 outbreak brings unprecedented change to businesses, they are faced with not only overcoming daunting new business challenges, but also keeping all employees informed, motivated and most importantly, at ease. Employees are relying on their employers to share accurate and helpful information to keep themselves and their families safe. In fact, recent research found that employer communications is the most credible source of information about the coronavirus.
That’s why communicating with your workforce with clarity and speed are paramount in a crisis. Here are three communications strategies that business leaders can implement to ensure understanding and alignment across the organization during uncertain times.
Reach every worker
Eighty percent of the global workforce is deskless and many of these frontline workers don’t have email addresses, intranet access or even access to a computer, which poses a critical problem for organizations bootstrapped to deliver crisis communications in real-time. Establishing a way to quickly and effectively reach all employees wherever they are—in their native language and across all digital channels—is critical.
American Cancer Society is one organization with many employees working in the field as the coronavirus outbreak began to affect the U.S. It needed to ensure all messages and operational changes were getting to every employee, while keeping in mind that information and guidance from the WHO and CDC were changing fast. By establishing a communication channel dedicated to COVID-19 available across all devices, the organization was able to deploy critical updates to all employees simultaneously, whether behind a desk or on the front lines.
Provide one source of truth—and inspire action
At no time are companies more prone to fake news and misinformation than during crises and uncertainty, and this can become dangerous and put the wellness of both your employees and business at stake. Establishing a single, company-backed source of truth not only empowers workers with reliable, accurate updates, but also can cut through the rumors and noise created by anxieties and fears. For example, an information hub containing how-to guidance and established safety protocols can serve as the sole source for employees to get what they need when things are constantly changing.
But during a crisis, it’s not enough for your message to be received—make sure it’s understood and acted on. Research shows that more than 60% of employees ignore emails at work. Communication teams should track confirmation of receipt to ensure the message has been delivered, as well as create acknowledgements with specific language to ensure content is understood. For example, in the event of an office closure, have recipients confirm they are aware and will remain at home; or, if there is an outbreak in your area, ask users to mark themselves safe and well, or sick and self-quarantined.
Monitor employee sentiment
Employees want to know how their company is paying attention to and handling the outbreak. In fact, our workforce communications platform has seen over 2,700 internal posts sent and viewed by over 5 million global workers on the coronavirus. The most popular posts covered travel updates, prevention measures and updated workforce protocols, as well as messages from senior leadership on company actions being taken from the top.
In addition, it’s important to look at data by various employee groups, such as office locations, business units, and specific teams and titles to identify the impact of your message and where you can improve. Once you have identified disengaged cohorts, discover where retargeting campaigns can help, or where you need a Q&A session to address employee concerns. Insights into your communication efforts gives you the ability to be agile, respond to a fast-changing environment and ultimately ensure business continuity.
As the world continues to react and evolve due to the coronavirus, leaders are being asked to communicate in new ways—and often. Remember that employees are your most important constituents and will continue to be the core of your business now and long after the pandemic is over. Proactive and transparent communication will be the crux of keeping employees informed, supported and connected and reassured that their organization is putting them first.
About the author
Nicole Alvino is chief strategy officer and co-founder at SocialChorus.
Official World Conference Sponsor / SocialChorus is the leading workforce communications platform that transforms how workers and organizations connect every day. We empower communicators to reach every worker—from the head office to the front line. Companies thrive and win when all their workers feel informed, valued, and engaged. The SocialChorus platform allows communicators to publish once and distribute everywhere—efficiently delivering critical information to the right employee at the right time.