Sponsor Insight: 5 Ways a Multi-Channel Platform Delivers Better Crisis Communications
Every business will face a crisis—yet many are unprepared for the impact. Most find themselves caught out by the speed at which news of a crisis spreads. Nearly 70% of brand crises spread internationally within just 24 hours.
While leadership scramble to contain the situation, employees can be left in the dark. It’s a recipe for anxiety, rumors and gossiping online. In times of crisis, internal communications are in the spotlight. The COVID-19 pandemic is just the latest example communicators have had to contend with.
There are multiple ways in which your employees receive company information. Ensuring these are covered effectively is a big part of crisis management. Staff who are overlooked or who ignore important messages create a huge area of risk.
Using a single multi-channel communications platform enables you to get key messaging out faster and more consistently. Here’s why investing in this will help turn your crisis into a triumph.
1. Strengthened leadership voice
Strong leadership is critical during a crisis. It focuses attention, marshals efforts and provides essential reassurance. In times of crisis, over 70% of employees believe it’s critically important for their leaders to respond.
Simple messages sent through single channels won’t cut it anymore. Leadership response must reflect the situation. Persuasive messaging delivered through multiple channels strengthens your company position.
Key updates delivered through high-impact alerts convey authority. Video messages from the CEO or senior executives convey sincerity and credibility, helping foster valuable emotional connections in times of crisis. Key themes are reinforced through every channel, assuring employees of the company’s actions and comforting them that their concerns are being addressed.
2. Reduced communication clutter
Communicating leadership messages through a single channel, like email, is ineffective in today’s busy workplaces. Information-overload is high. Distractions abound. Messages are missed. When every employee receives something like 120 emails every day, what guarantee do communicators have that their important crisis update is seen? The answer: none.
To overcome this, employees have become adept at selecting attention—choosing which messages they read, often unconsciously. If your important crisis comms don’t make it past their selective attention, they won’t be seen.
Delivering messages through multiple, carefully selected channels improves efficiency and minimizes the dangers of too many messages being sent through a single overloaded channel. It overcomes employee attention management, giving crisis communications greater prominence and less risk of being ignored.
3. Guaranteed readership, greater action
Reacting to a crisis is all about timing. Crisis impact research shows 53% of people expect brands to respond within an hour. For internal communications, that means delivering messages to staff that get read and get acted on—fast.
The power of multi-channel messaging is in delivering the right content through the best channel. Certain channels are suited for high impact, some for eye-catching visuals, while others for encouraging interaction. A multi-channel platform helps you maximize the strengths of each.
An initial announcement, status update or reminder message can be sent through the channel which offers the greatest outcome—whether that’s increasing awareness, driving action or encouraging behavior change. No more “one size fits all” messaging!
4. Engaged non-desk-based employees
Traditional communication channels may be fine for traditional workplaces. But many workers today aren’t sitting behind a desk. They’re walking around hospital wards, on warehouse floors, in retail stores or out in the field. Their jobs make them harder to reach, which is critical in times of crisis.
With multi-channel communication you can combine high- and low-tech channels to effectively engage employees in industries like healthcare, manufacturing and retail.
An employee communication app for healthcare workers can instantly advise them of a crisis situation, such as a shooter on site or patient in distress. The visibility of digital signage screens can reach large numbers of frontline or manufacturing workers immediately.
5. Sustained improvements
Unfortunately, the current crisis won’t be the last. When this one has been resolved, it’s essential to apply the learnings gained to your crisis communication plans. By doing this, your business response will be stronger and return to normalcy faster in any future events.
The measurement and tracking capabilities of multi-channel communications help you to continually refine your comms plan and content construction. Detailed information on message success at company, team or individual level can be accessed in real time. Insights can be exported to identify any ‘communication black spots’ which could introduce risk.
Crises are rarely welcomed, though by applying reporting insights, your crisis communications can grow to be the envy of communicators everywhere.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” Multi-channel communications are today’s essential tool to bring his vision to life.
About the author / Philip Nunn is general manager, business, at SnapComms, a leading internal communication platform, used by 2.5 million employees in 75 countries worldwide. In this role, Philip leads an international team of internal communication experts who specialize in helping large organizations meet the challenge of effective employee communication. Philip has a background in product innovation, business development and customer service, as well as a passion for improving employee engagement through understanding what makes people tick.
The SnapComms platform is designed to be equally effective for teams across organizations, from IT and Information Security to HR and Communications. Messages are delivered directly to employee desktop, mobile and digital signage devices, bypassing email to guarantee employee attention without adding to information-overload.
The platform is unique in offering the full communications mix, from priority channels (high-impact alerts and tickers) to informative channels (screensavers, surveys and quizzes).
Since its launch in 2007, more than 1 billion messages have been sent through the SnapComms platform. Today, the company employs 80 staff in New Zealand, the United States and United Kingdom. Visit: www.snapcomms.com