By Jesica Johnson Mackey
Effective and regular communication during COVID-19 is a must for any organization.
As COVID-19 changes the daily operations of organizations, so should your communication efforts. Not just your external communications with stakeholders and the general public, but also your internal communications with employees. Organizations are changing the way employees work, from employees working remotely to shorter in-office work weeks, to deal with the impacts of COVID-19. Even with employees reporting to a physical office location their in-person communication, staff meetings and break room conversation have ended due to social distancing.
This lack of in-person communication with employees creates a need for regular, informative and engaging internal communications. A few tips to consider before you send out your next internal email.
Be Aware of Your Tone
COVID-19 has created uncertainty for companies and their employees. With uncertainty comes fear, stress and many other emotions. Be mindful of employee’s emotions when developing internal messaging related to COVID. We all know that this pandemic is a serious situation and associated information should be taken seriously, but internal communications don’t have to be all business, all of the time. Take the time to add in humor, words of appreciation or an inspirational story to separate the repetitiveness of COVID update emails. This change of tone can bring value to employees who haven’t had in-person interaction with co-workers.
Keep It Simple
The pandemic is already overwhelming – don’t make your internal emails more work for employees. With constantly changing guidelines and state/county regulations, organizations are continually sending out emails to keep employees informed. In addition to emails, consider developing an internal webpage for employees to find all COVID-19 related forms, policies and procedures. An updated repository of information is always easier than trying to dig through your inbox for an email that was sent 2 weeks ago.
Unified Internal and External Messaging
As your organization plans the right message to deliver to stakeholders on how you are handling COVID-19 impacts, make sure your employees are receiving the same message. You don’t want employees to hear about a new initiative or policy from someone outside of your organization. As you plan your next update email to stakeholders make sure you have developed similar messaging for employees.
Every organization’s culture is different, but applying these tips can help improve your communication with employees, resulting in increased trust and productivity.
Jesica Johnson Mackey is an experienced strategic communications professional working with government agencies, non-profits and public sector companies to deliver their message. She has built her career in South Carolina helping clients manage their social and political risks, improve their images, and gain public or political buy-in for their projects. Prior to joining NP Strategy, Jesica worked as a strategic communications consultant at a global engineering firm, advising public and private sector clients on communications strategies for large, complex projects.