The rapidly spreading novel coronavirus requires that companies quickly prepare communications strategies for stakeholder audiences. Yellow Jersey has compiled tips to assist its clients in proactively communicating as well as responding to requests for information.
Consider All Audiences – Start From The Inside
In times of uncertainty, your employees will look for timely information on how your organisation expects to be affected and how it will manage through the crisis. Coordinated, consistent and appropriately frequent communication will be appreciated. Your employees are the conduit to other concerned audiences such as customers, investors, supply chain partners, local communities and others.
Use Discrete Communications
Under these circumstances, it is advisable to stick to the coronavirus topic and refrain from incorporating too much corporate strategy and goals into the communication. Empathy and humanity are top of mind for employees. Don’t induce panic, but express how seriously your organisation takes this global threat. Continue regular business communication but keep it separate from instructions on the crisis situation.
Leverage Credible Sources
The World Health Organisation and Gov.uk are continuously providing information on the status of the spread of the coronavirus as well as information on protecting yourself and identifying symptoms. In addition, the organisations provide Q&A and myth-dispelling information. Provide information to answer specific questions and refer to these sites where employees and others can educate themselves.
Revisit Your Business Continuity Plan
As your IT, HR and Facilities Management teams are reviewing contingency plans, they will probably need help in communicating appropriately. It is important that the communications teams understand the processes that will be employed if the business needs to close due to sickness, if it cannot obtain materials from suppliers or other disruptions. Keep communications consistent and from consistent trusted sources.
Develop A Pandemic Scenario For Your Crisis Communications Plan
Review your crisis communications plan to be sure you have a scenario that applies to the coronavirus. Many plans separate physical plant accessibility and reputation scenarios; today’s challenge can affect both. Double-check the alignment between crisis communication and business continuity plans. It is always best practice to stage a crisis simulation exercise on a regular basis. A tabletop exercise specifically devoted to the threats associated with the coronavirus should be planned sooner rather than later.