There is no doubt you have been inundated with information about the coronavirus outbreak that has spread across the globe and has sickened thousands of people. Governments have shut borders and imposed quarantines, and companies have imposed travel bans. The human and economic impacts on businesses have been stark.
As you attempt to navigate these uncharted waters, I have put together some key questions you need ask and be prepared to communicate in this crisis. Keeping your stakeholders informed is key in these situations. Here are internal and external communications questions you should consider:
Internal communications | Your employees need reliable information to help them successfully support your business through the crisis.
- Are you making changes in sick leave or work from home policies to support workers who have children home from school or are directly impacted by the virus? How are these being communicated?
- What other measures are you taking to protect employees from the virus, and should those measures be shared?
- Do you have a communication plan in place if an outbreak happens in one of your locations?
- Have you restricted business travel? Have you consistently and clearly communicated the details around these restrictions?
- Are you considering contingency plans for larger-scale corporate events (e.g. sales meetings, client meetings or conferences)? Have you discussed how to communicate any changes?
- Are you limiting or banning visitors to the workplace? If so, how will this be communicated?
- Do you know where to get official local information on the outbreak to share with employees?
- Do you have a reliable communication chain for employees to get and share updates about the situation? Do your managers know who to call to report a potential exposure?
External communications | This is an unprecedented crisis and calls for timely updates on your business is reacting.
- Do you have a plan in place to communicate all changes you are taking in response to the crisis with customers and other external stakeholders?
- Do you have a communication plan and basic messaging in place if an outbreak happens in one of your locations?
- Have you considered contingency plans for planned public events?
- If you have a major announcement that you are looking to have covered by the media? Media attention right now is almost exclusively on the crisis.
- Have you considered suspending or changing planned social media posts to avoid appearing ‘tone deaf’ amid an emerging crisis?
I wish you the best as you navigate these difficult and challenging times. I’m happy to support your efforts as needed.