Crisis communications: these days it's something many businesses have had to become acquainted with. As working from home becomes the ‘new normal’, it's now abundantly clear that every company should have a crisis communications plan in place for the foreseeable.
There’s no denying that having mandatory working from home policies in place makes workers feel more vulnerable and uncertain about the changes that lie ahead. Having an effective internal crisis communications strategy in place, however, will keep employees reassured and will help organisations implement crisis management correctly.
Adopting a working from home policy doesn’t mean your business must go into radio silence. There are many ways of communicating with remote staff, and no, we’re not just talking about a bog-standard email here and there.
If you’re struggling with managing a crisis communications plan between you and your remote staff, don’t fret (video chats aren't always fool proof). Read on for advice and tips on communicating with your employees effectively during the times of a crisis.
Announce Changes Immediately
The last thing you want to do during a crisis is to keep your employees in the dark or keep anything secret from them. As soon as changes have been announced, you should let your employees know so they can prepare for what is about to come. Whether this is through a video call meeting, your own internal comms platform, email or through SMS. It’s better to let your staff know there will be changes sooner rather than later. Crisis communications is all about good timing.
By utilising a digital workplace or employee collaboration software, organisations are able to send messages out to their staff in seconds. Information can be distributed in several ways:
- Main timeline – information and messages can be posted on the main timeline by any member of staff. Users can also interact with posts through comments and likes, this is a great way to get your people communicating with each other.
- Messenger chat – this allows you to create multiple chats with different people. Messages can be seen instantly, and notifications will be sent to users whenever they receive a message.
- Breaking news – if you need your employees to see something urgently, breaking news is the place to do this. This feature enables you to send out a message to all your employees with a push notification and will appear within a very hard to miss yellow box across the user’s timeline.
The Power of Mobile
When it comes to keeping up your internal communications with remote employees, mobile is your best friend. It would be unrealistic to think that your employees will be working their normal office hours while working from home. Which is why mobile is crucial to an effective internal comms strategy and crisis plan.
At Oak we understand that sometimes life can get in the way and that only being able to connect with your team only via desktop is not feasible for the demands of the 21st century.
With the help of our mobile app, users can access their digital workplace on the move, here they will be able to see important company updates and announcements, chat to colleagues through Messenger and receive all notifications at lightning speed. Employee engagement software is the definitive crisis communications tool to be used within any crisis plan.
Bring your people together
Keeping your people engaged whilst working remotely is a tough task. Crisis communications isn't all about distributing important news and updates to your team. It's about maintaining a general, informal stream of communication too. There’s the loss of physical contact and general communication with your team which can make many feel isolated. Remember, your team have gone from spending almost every day together, to nothing. Social isolation can be pose a real problem, and prove difficult to resolve if not approached in the right way. Even over-working is a real possibility and should be acknowledged within your crisis plan.
Creating a Hub is a great way to start a conversation off within your team. You can create a Hub about anything, it could be a place for employees to go to discuss changes or somewhere to chat about their favourite TV show. The possibilities are endless.
From formal project management to informal social groups, hubs are designed to be a work-based collaboration tool that gives you a place to share ideas, distribute information and interact with your team. For businesses combating social isolation is one of the main concerns associated with remote working. By implementing the above techniques into your crisis communications plan your employees will be well on their way to becoming more connected and more engaged with their team.
Don’t let your crisis communications strategy fall to the bottom of the priority pile. Your people are your businesses biggest asset; keep them engaged, communicate regularly, and keep your crisis communication strategy agile. Anything can happen, so be prepared.
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