Staying in Touch: How to Strengthen Workforce Communication during a Crisis
Communication is at the heart of workforce management. From establishing clear expectations, setting a bigger purpose, building company culture down to fostering accountability — communication will always be at the core of it all. It can either make or break operations and employee engagement. A study shows how poor workforce communication can be detrimental to […]
Jana Dee Reserva
19 March 2020 |
Communication is at the heart of workforce management. From establishing clear expectations, setting a bigger purpose, building company culture down to fostering accountability — communication will always be at the core of it all. It can either make or break operations and employee engagement. Remote work is surging as a response to COVID-19. Constant, unambiguous communication is more important than ever. A study shows how poor workforce communication can be detrimental to an organisation. Respondents say that communication barriers result in delay or failure to complete projects (44%), low morale (31%), missed performance goals (25%), and lost sales (18%). And it can be worse when a crisis hits. Clear communication is crucial to stability Effective communication becomes even more critical during times of crisis and uncertainty. Workforces globally are facing a massive challenge to their operations and businesses: the COVID-19 virus. The pandemic has prompted businesses to take drastic measures to ensure the safety of staff and customers alike. Depending on the nature of the business, some have ceased operations or function under a skeleton workforce and limited hours, while other organisations have implemented work from home arrangements. Effective communication can bind your team together. Given this situation, effective workforce communications are more critical than ever. A crisis, whether due to a natural disaster, a corporate debacle, or a disease outbreak like what we are facing now, affects employee morale. Effective communication can still bind your team together, even during times of uncertainty. But leaders need to do their part to address issues promptly and clearly. It’s also important to note that social media and online platforms can turn your employees into de facto spokespersons for your organisation. Whatever they share on their platforms about working in your company will be reflective of how you communicate with them. It can result in a better brand image or can sprout into a new crisis. So how can leaders effectively address their staff during a challenging time? Act fast When a crisis strikes, it’s essential to address your employees as soon as possible. You might not have answers to some of their questions right away. In the case of continually developing situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic, this is completely understandable. But it’s crucial to let your people know that you are looking into the issue and finding solutions to their concerns. What matters is to give them the assurance that the organisation is aware of the situation and that the welfare of staff will be prioritised. Solidify your message Consistent messaging is key. While different roles have different concerns, it’s essential to keep the overall message encompassing and consistent. As much as possible, address all of their issues and frequently-asked questions. In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the questions are around the possibility of remote work, schedule changes, payment arrangements, leave management, and other operational issues. Read more: GPS Clock-in: Keep your workforce clocking in remotely Diversify message delivery How you spread the message is equally important as how you craft it. Empathy is important during crisis times, but what if face-to-face communication is no longer possible? Video conferencing or a video recorded message are viable options, but how do you let staff know about it? Email is a common communication channel for organisations, but it’s best to diversify delivery channels when the situation is urgent. In a survey of over 1,000 employees across the US, 43% of respondents admit that timely notifications and emergency alerts are best sent through SMS and not email. Chat platforms are also useful in this case as they can get information across quickly and more concisely. Employees are likely to open chat platforms frequently too. Keep the feedback loop open Effective communication to staff goes beyond issuing announcements or bulletins. It’s about keeping communication lines open and allowing for feedback. During a crisis, it’s imperative to open channels for discussions and to raise questions. Chat applications are suitable not just for discussing in groups but in one-on-one correspondence as well. It’s more real-time than email messaging too, which helps pass information more quickly. A platform to stay connected A good communication process is vital for any organisation. Whether there’s a crisis or not, it’s important to equip the workforce with different ways to stay connected. Thanks to technology, employers and staff can still stay connected. But a more effective approach is to keep all necessary communication in one place. If you have a workforce management system, you can take advantage of its features to stay on top of your operations and team communications. If you’re a Tanda user, there are features available at your disposal to keep communication lines open during this difficult time. Chat with your staff, roster according to operational changes, manage leave, clock in and out remotely, and communicate changes through custom events, among other things. COVID-19 is rapidly changing how businesses operate. We recognise that organisations need an extra helping hand right now. So we’re offering our platform for free to new sign-ups over the coming months. Sign up today and our Workforce Success team will gladly provide a personal, online walkthrough of our platform to help you get started.