Whether a company or organization is facing a sustained event of economic disruption or some form of global crises (e.g., COVID-19), the most paralyzing aspect of the event to company employees and stakeholders is a lack of information. Without clear communication from leaders about the event’s impact, it is our human nature to stop all normal, productive activities and spend enormous amounts of time digging for information via the internet or television or the rumor-mill. In the realm of considerable negative news, and email boxes full of COVID crisis recovery techniques, employees naturally allow imaginings to run the gamut of what is happening to their organization. Regrettably, this leads to a workforce that can easily switch into a very low gear of productivity or hit the brakes altogether. So, communication that overcomes adversity is the key to leading in a crisis.
For business leaders, communication to stakeholders must be purposeful and multi-pronged. Employees, especially, need a specific plan and strategy for staying engaged. Go beyond generic email blasts. Get personal with targeted encouragement and words of appreciation for how employees around the world are creatively fulfilling their responsibilities. Explore the magic of internal marketing with the designing new company slogans, creating informal podcasts, and shooting video clips of new office arrangements.
Quarantines can present a major blow against our best communication skills. Yet, we must overcome in providing our workforce, our subordinates, with information … truthful information.
- How much impact is there to company revenue?
- Are there going to be (more) employment reductions?
- Is it possible to be re-assigned to other functions that still have work?
- Can the company sustain this circumstance financially?
Even when your company cannot give much new detail, employees draw comfort in knowing that their company cares enough to keep them informed. Consistent communication via video-conferencing or phone calls can be sufficient to keep many employees engaged and productive during the quarantine/remote period.
Perhaps more importantly, preparations should already be under way for precise communication on handling the “return to action” process. Our cultural norms will be changed … and not just for a short time. New protocols will need to be implemented for in-office distancing, reception of visitors, greeting visitors, asking exposure questions, guidance for COVID testing, mandatory sick leaves, masks in the workplace, office cleanliness, and physical meetings. This latter subject will be hotly debated as the real purpose and terms of physical meetings will under scrutiny.
With a huge need to create new best practices and reboard employees into the office, communication is essential for equipping our workforce and then driving productivity within these new practices. Not just in the local office, but globally. The faster we can get our entire workforce back to expected levels of productivity the better we can rescue our 2020 business performance.
Global eLearning is a specialist in global communication. When you need to communicate quickly and globally, call us. Whether the messaging is for internal employees or external target audiences, you can rely on us to provide accurate translation services – especially with multi-media eLearning content and presentations. We stand by ready to help any organization who wants to be first out of the gate with reboarding employees and re-energizing global marketing opportunities.
Gary Schulties is the President of Global eLearning. Learn more about Gary!