Crisis Communication: What do your employees want to know during this crisis?

crisis communication
Toni Ristovski

Toni Ristovski
Founder of Next Generation Company
April 27, 2020

What do you need to know about crisis communication? In fast-moving and challenging situations you can face questions from your employees. Do you have all the answers for them? 

Even if you’re still trying to figure out the extent of the problem, be honest and open to maintain credibility within your firm. Hence, put yourself in your employee’s shoes to understand their anxiety and try to be as transparent as much as you can.

Initially, you need to approach the situation with empathy. For this reason, we’re covering 5 things your employees will want to know and how you can handle it: 

1. Is their job impacted?

In challenging times, you inevitably need to change your regular workflow and operations. Subsequently, your employees will have so many questions about how this will impact their job activities. For example, if you’re planning to change the working hours or some of your clients are reducing their workloads, share this with your team in the first place.

Uncertainty can be truly toxic and a big demotivator for everyone. Therefore, if you’re making modifications to your resourcing, it’s another important touch point to be discussed with your employees. Under those circumstances, your crisis communication during this period undoubtedly needs to be with authenticity, transparency, and empathy.

2. How the business is coping with the crisis?

Your leadership during these times requires you to be transparent in communicating near-term challenges. Even so, you need to present your business performance in a similar manner as you’re presenting it under normal circumstances. With this intention, if the business is struggling – your employees need to be aware and prepared.

In the world out there we’re facing too much confusion and unpredictability, so you have to avoid adding it and keeping people under a big shadow. Additionally, if you’re open with your employees, you’ll attract open-minded solutions to the problems your firm is facing.

3. What they can do to stay productive?

Crises by default are creating a new reality for everyone. And the new environment requires new approaches. Consequently, your employees will ask themselves: “How can I stay productive?”. And so, you need to provide that answer even before they think of that.

To ensure your team is set up to be as efficient as possible, provide the tools and resources that are required. Additionally, consider giving tips on setting up a distraction-free, dedicated room, technology, ergonomics, communication, and efficient workload management. As a matter of fact, we wrote more about this topic in our previous article. You can check it here.

4. How they will be supported?

During this unpredictable period, there is sufficient help available for the businesses as well for the employees specifically. Your employees are expecting this kind of information from you. You need to share with everyone what is available and how they can access it.

You have to be prepared to explain all of the guidance around government benefits for your staff. Especially for those who are impacted the most. Your presentation has to include information about where social, health and mental health resources can be obtained – if they need it. It’s for sure that your team will appreciate your efforts and your leadership style.

5. How you’re going to protect them?

Nowadays, thought leaders are most concerned about the physical health and mental well-being of their employees. To reduce the spread of infection, some employees can work from home, and many are doing so already, making use of the virtual collaboration tools much more widely than ever before.

That’s where the power of remote work comes into place. You can get our expertise on how to prepare your accounting practice for the “Post-Coronavirus World”. Access the full guide here.

For employees who need to be on-site, social distancing and staggered shifts are being employed to limit exposure to others. And as we said before, on-time communication is crucial to ensure this transition process goes smoothly.

This crisis and its aftermath will test the strength of organizations to preserve, to endure, to be resilient. This requires CPAs to communicate when they don’t have all of the answers at the time. Furthermore, they need to reveal as much as they can about crucial information, and to be prepared about correcting mistakes without worrying about the repercussions.

When the important and urgent part of the crisis communication is addressed, firms like yours should consider what this crisis changes and what they’ve learned so they can reflect them in their future activities.

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