• Ankita Patel

How to communicate with employees during crisis

It is easy to give advice to stay calm and focus but practically, it’s hard to do when you are dealing with different types of challenges in your life. During COVID-19, people are struggling with lots of unpredicted changes which turned our lives upside down. All around the world, everyone is facing challenges like social distancing, work from home, take safety measures if you’re planning to go out, tech usage, and so many others. During this transition time from office to work from home, leaders need to communicate with empathy and care to employees. Sudden crisis creates trouble for employees, and it may impact on productivity of employees. So, during certain transition and crisis, it is responsibility of every leader to be a fire wall to protect them from unpredicted crisis. Communication with employees is a perfect way to be aware about their concern situation and try to provide solution and show care for them. Periodically, ask every employee about their feeling and opinion about COVID-19 situation. Companies see employees as a valuable asset and now it’s time to keep them safe and take care of your assets.

These are simple things that leaders need to pre-plan to have better communication with employees.

  • Schedule Casual Meetings Periodically (Virtual calls)

Casual meetings are meant to be casual. Do not allow work related talks during meetings. Provide a room for open discussion to everyone. Ask for their opinion about the current COVID-19 crisis. What they feel about it? How they are managing with drastic change? What bothers them most during COVID-19? Don’t be rude if some employees don’t participate in discussion. It’s totally fine. Set a separate meeting (1:1) with those who don’t like group call. Be transparent and genuine while discussion. As a leader, you should listen to them, first. The purpose of casual meetings is to listen to their problems, concerns, opinions, suggestions and thoughts. The way you lead conversation will make positive impact on employees’ life. Set meetings frequently so that you will be connected to them and you’ll get chance to check if they are facing any problem.

  • Self-paced training session

Work from home sounds great but it came into our lives with the most technological challenges. Provide training to employees for app or software that you are going to use during crisis. It is important because that is how they get information regarding technology which makes transition smooth from office to Work from Home model. Provide self-paced training on how they can do effective work from home and time management techniques. As a leader, you can also give suggestion how you manage things during pandemic and what are the techniques you follow.

  • Confidential

When you ask for employees’ feedback, make it confidential. Do not break their trust. Value their feedback because employees’ trust is very essential for any organization. Remember, if they’re not trusting you as a leader then they will never give you their valuable feedback. Provide them secure channels where they can talk and discuss things without any hesitation.

  • Layoffs

Everyone has concern for job as per the current situation. As a leader, you should take initiative and discuss what are the challenges company is facing and how would it affect to employees. It is serious conversation but if employee didn’t know about what is coming then it would make situation very tricky for them. Communication is the key to solve the half of the problem and sometimes it would save from lifelong misunderstanding. Stay connected to your employees and be there for them when they need you.

  • Future plans

Set a meeting for future plans. If a company is going through major changes and will have impact on employees, then you should share information with employees. Share the planning and strategies for future projects.

  • Organize fun meetings/happy hours/game sessions across organization

During these tough times, everyone is adapting to situation in terms of fun activities or happy hours which they used to enjoy while working from office and missing currently because of work from home model. I would suggest it would help to have separate team (culture club) across organization at different levels to organize all types of activities like happy hour, gaming session, healthy challenges which covers all aspects like well-being physically, mentally and stay fit.

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