Engaging Employees Throughout a Crisis Situation
When a company is going through a significant change, it’s relatively easy for its employees to feel intimidated or out of the loop. Even during the best times clear and consistent communication from a business is very powerful. However, during difficult times of crisis, giving people the information they need becomes a critical practice that can improve morale and inspire confidence in employees. With the world being plunged into uncharted territory in unprecedented times, companies are constantly having to deal with changing variables. The employees that have been used to everyday life in an office quickly turned into remote workers without having a chance to prepare. With the entire world-changing, employees are also being asked to adjust both their private and professional lives accordingly. That’s why companies have to prioritize clarity and foster working relationships and communities. This can lead to creativity and collaboration.
The best way to prepare for a crisis situation is to practice different crisis scenarios beforehand. Many companies have a crisis communication plan, but not all of them conduct quarterly or even yearly audits of their communication strategies. It’s not always enough to have a plan at hand for a crisis situation. It’s important to practice and run different simulated scenarios for different crisis situations. The companies that are best prepared during a crisis tend to role-play crisis events before they need to respond to the same situations in real life. This practice makes a big difference during crisis situations, as it helps employees stay informed on what to do when a crisis strikes.
Many companies have focused on internal communication during a time of crisis to get better control of the public narrative. However, it’s also important to ensure that companies are transparent about any challenges they’re facing and that they provide clear lines of communication with their employees. Through those communication channels, the company should ensure that the information that’s publicly shared with the consumers and the messages that are being delivered to the employees are completely aligned. A company might not have all the answers during a crisis, but it’s crucial to encourage the employees that there’s a clear process in place when responding to a crisis situation. It’s also important to let employees know whether their roles have changed, what the most important priorities are for the business if expectations have changed, and what the essential messages are.
During a time of crisis, companies face different circumstances. The companies that have a top-down approach to employee communication have an opportunity to communicate with the team members effectively to give them a sense of clarity during a stressful time for a business. A crisis situation is also a great opportunity for companies to collectively create different responses to the challenges, and to figure out the best way to help a business mitigate a crisis.