In these days of uncertainty and already physical separation, communication in corporations is more important than ever. Companies have a responsibility to their employees, but also to their customers, suppliers, public administrations, the media or the financial markets, because in addition to guaranteeing their security, the way in which this situation is managed can be decisive for their survival as a corporation.
The power of leadership comes into play. Whether it is on video, live, by message or in print, the voice of the leader is important. This is a traumatic situation that generates panic through fear and reminds us of the negative effects of other difficult times. This fear generates paralysis and this directly affects creativity and our ability to make decisions. The person in charge of the company (CEO, general manager or even the communications director) has to be aware that he or she is facing a crisis of confidence and crises of confidence must be fought with confidence. It is up to him to help and keep his team and other audiences together.
In this sense, communicating the measures to manage the crisis caused by COVID-19 will help companies to minimize the negative impact of the crisis. Communication at this time must be based on four pillars: honesty, transparency, responsibility and consistency. This means telling the truth, not hiding the facts, not blaming others and doing what is being said and saying what is being done.
- Employees have to find out about any news that affects them from their leaders and never from other means (rumours, social networks, media…). This is the best way for them to continue trusting their organisation.
- They must know what has happened and how it is directly affecting the company, as a good understanding of the circumstances will help to understand some decisions, even if they are difficult. Communication should facilitate understanding.
- It is important to communicate what is being done to solve the problem and what the roadmap will be during this time.
- In the case of dismissals, whether temporary or definitive, the main legal milestones that occur will be transferred to the different audiences.
- Employees must feel heard and recognized in their commitment. If we listen, we are heard. If we listen we generate bonding and trust. At this point ,it is important to emphasize the importance of empathy and not to leave aside the human factor. We are talking about people.
- Abandon the tendency to keep a low profile. We live in the era of connectivity and leaders must take advantage of this to maintain a constant, fluid and periodic presence with all interest groups even if there are no great developments. This is a good time to use video, because it helps to convey messages as desired and it is proven that with a reasonable duration they attract more attention and improve retention.
- Remind them that this is a temporary situation.
Communication becomes a powerful tool that will help keep employees calm, motivated and engaged.