Crisis Communication

Quick, clear, consistent communication that gets employees the answers they need.

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Times of crisis require swift action and communication to ensure that employees feel supported. That’s why it’s important to have a crisis communication plan in place before a crisis hits.

What is crisis communication?

According to RockDove Solutions, crisis communication can be defined as “the technologies, systems and protocols that enable an organization to effectively communicate during a major threat to its business or organization.” During the COVID-19 global pandemic, crisis communication has been more important than ever.

Why should you have a crisis communication plan ready, and how do you prepare?

A crisis communication plan should be put in place long before a crisis happens. Time is of the essence during a crisis, so you need to be prepared to communicate with employees quickly and effectively. It also becomes more expensive to create a crisis communication plan once the event has occurred.

Form a pre-crisis communication team and provide the training they’ll need if the time comes to execute your crisis communication strategy. Think about all possible crisis scenarios that could occur.

If an unpreventable crisis, such as a natural disaster or pandemic were to strike, are your employees equipped to work from home? Do you have a plan in place to communicate and update employees regularly?

If the crisis is something that could have been prevented, such as a recalled product, do you have a public relations strategy ready to mitigate the damage?

It’s easy to bury your head in the sand and take a “this can’t happen to us” approach. But that will leave you ill-prepared to deal with a crisis. And if you aren’t prepared, your organization may be viewed in a very unfavorable light.

How to communicate during and after a crisis

If you planned ahead and already have your crisis communication strategy ready, great! You’re already ahead of the curve. Read on to learn how you can communicate to your employees during and post-crisis.

Lead with transparency, communicate often

When a crisis strikes, such as the COVID-19 global pandemic, it’s important to be transparent and communicate with your employees often. According to Alight, only 61% of workers say they receive the right amount of information about what is happening in their organization. Employees want to know what’s happening and what it means for them. Communicating often helps stop false information from spreading.

A common fear during a crisis is job security. Your organization should be as transparent as possible with employees so that they know what to expect. If their jobs are secure, give them peace of mind. If layoffs are in the future, communicate with your employees in advance, so they have time to plan ahead.

Communication channels and navigating change

Using a variety of communication channels is critical to make sure employees are in the know during a crisis. Email and texting are great options to get short messages out quickly. Your benefits website or intranet should house more detailed information. If employees are on-site, display posters and digital signage.

Along with communicating effectively, your organization must be nimble and ready to face change. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, having a remote workforce has been critical. Those who weren’t already set up to work from home faced a challenging time. Being able to make workplace adjustments quickly is critical during a crisis situation.

Offer a glimpse into the future

Every crisis situation eventually comes to an end, so employees want to know what to expect. Communicating about future plans is essential.

For example, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, employees want to know what the future of work will look like. Will there be a return to the office? Will getting the vaccine be required? When you give employees some sense of what to expect, you help ease the stress of the current situation.

Continue communicating after the crisis has ended

Follow-up communication post-crisis is important, too. Survey employees to gauge how successful your communication strategy was. Encourage employees to speak up and bring feedback to leadership. This valuable feedback will help shape your future crisis communication plans.

A crisis communication example

PartnerComm’s crisis communication specialists used their expertise to communicate to employees at a global manufacturing company with essential workers during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The goal was to give employees transparent and consistent communication. We:

  • Created digital signs with facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that were shared throughout the company.
  • Developed a home mailer with COVID-19 information, and guidance on where to find details during the ever-changing crisis.
  • Added relevant information to the existing benefits website.
  • Created editable flyers, posters and signs that local HR departments could update with the latest vaccine information.

Reach out to an expert today.