Communicating With Your Employees During COVID-19
The world is a strange place right now. As COVID-19 continues to affect countries across the world, uncertainty is everywhere. Many people are now working from home for the first time, or are expected to work under very different conditions.
With all the uncertainty surrounding the economy and employment, employers need to be sure they are on the ball in terms of timely communications with their employees.
Many employees are now working from home. This is not a standard home-working situation though. Employers will need to keep in touch frequently to update employees on the company’s responses to government guidelines.
Be clear, be honest, be realistic and listen.
Many people are worried about their job security, finances, physical and mental health like never before. Many governments are introducing stimulus packages and funding to cushion the blow on businesses and employees – these include business grants, loans, stimulus checks for senior citizens and workers.
Go Beyond The “Need To Know”
Of course, it’s vital to communicate essential information regarding business working arrangements, travel guidance etc to your employees.
Signpost your employees to any guidance and resources they may find useful help them cope both physically and emotionally.
This is the opportunity to start building trust with employees, the benefits of which will extend far beyond the current crisis.
Vary Your Methods Of Communication
Dispersed workforces and drastically changed working environments mean that employers need to look at different methods of communicating, both traditional and modern.
Remember, not all employees are working from home at the moment, there are many still required to be at their places of work to keep vital services running.
- SMS – is fast and effective for short messages that need to be delivered quickly. They are not very personal so keep them for important information only.
- Email – great for communicating a lot of information in one place. Also allows for the opportunity to respond.
- Company Intranets – use as a central repository for relevant information, documents and policies.
- Digital signage – to be used in those places still requiring employees present (factories, warehouses, supermarkets etc.)
Don’t Make Assumptions On What Your Employees Know
It is ultimately your job to communicate how your workers should be observing guidelines surrounding COVID-19.
Don’t assume that employees are all watching the same news channels or even hold the same opinions and beliefs around the situation.
The amount of unreliable information on the internet and social media is increasing, it needs to be made very clear to employees what your working practices are and what is expected of them.
Keep Communication A Two Way Street
Maintaining an open dialogue with your employees is important. Not only does it give them a chance to clarify information, or ask questions, but it also avoids making them feel isolated even further.
Introduce ways for employees to ask questions, either on a one to one basis with management or in a forum.
A forum is great if you have a large workforce and don’t have the capacity to respond to everyone personally, especially if they are asking similar questions.
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