As an employer, your leadership during a crisis is critical. It shifts the tone for the organization and provides your employees with guidance on how to move forward. Your employees will have all been affected by the crisis in varying degrees, but one thing is certain: they will look to you for empathy and direction.

The COVID-19 pandemic has many employers questioning how to carry out crisis communications or if their current communications are sending the right message. To help guide you, we’ve put together five tips that will help you to reach out to your employees in the most empathetic and sensitive way possible.

5 Ways to Navigate Crisis Management Communications

1. Assess the Situation

Take a step back to consider the situation from all angles. Before you send out your next communication, think through the possible scenarios and put yourself in your employees’ shoes.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How might my employees be feeling?
  • Is there anything I can do to help?
  • What might their fears be during this time?
  • Is there someone that has been affected more directly?
  • If I were in their shoes, what would I need to know?

2. Create an Inclusive Communication Plan

Remember that your employees come from diverse backgrounds. They all have different sets of beliefs, different home lives, and different ways of dealing with crisis situations. Everyone will react in their own way, and while you can’t be hyper-focused on each person, you can create messaging that speaks to everyone.

3. Communicate Openly and Frequently

Be as transparent as possible as you convey news about the crisis and how it affects your workplace. Your employees will be waiting for news from you, so try to communicate with them frequently about updates and where the organization stands. Without communication, people can quickly spiral to think the worst. Reassure everyone that you’re doing everything in your power to support their best interests.

4. Have Realistic Expectations

During transition periods, such as moving from in-office to remote work, employees may reduce their productivity. Crisis situations can take employees out of their usual routines, change the nature of their work, and magnify stress and anxiety. Be empathetic as you consider how this may affect your employees emotionally and logistically.

For example, are they now working from home while their children are home with them? These circumstances will likely change the way they work, but with extra communication and coaching from you, your organization can help them through it until things are back to normal.

5. Identify Where Additional Connection May be Needed

Your employees will appreciate any help that you provide during difficult times. Offer tokens of acknowledgment, whatever that looks like for your organization. Maybe that means sending a gift card to a food delivery service. Maybe it’s emailing helpful tips on working from home. Whatever you can do to show that you’re there for your employees, consider putting your efforts there.

Specific employees may be experiencing the situation differently, as well. When speaking of COVID-19, for example, if someone has been infected or someone close to them has, they will need additional support.

Overall, do what you can to inform and support your employees while letting them know that you care about them. Every gesture will strengthen your organization’s relationship with its employees.

Contact us today to learn how LBMC EP can provide guidance on all HR-related operations in your organization. We take HR off your plate so that you can focus on what’s important.