Sending the Right Message: Communicating During a Crisis
These are interesting times, to say the least. It’s times like these when employers and leaders should step back, focus on the right priorities, and then lean in to support the team. Now more than ever, workers need to know that their leadership is committed to their health and safety. Regular communication is a critical part of balancing the response to the COVID19 crisis, workplace safety, and worker well-being.
Consider the following four areas when communicating to your team, whether in-person or in another form.
- Stay calm. There is much to balance in the workplace today. Be mindful of others’ needs by checking in on co-workers and community members. The human traits that employees most admire in leaders don’t change when there is a crisis. Empathy, patience, honesty, and trust are all important to employees in all industries.
- Do they have what they need to work safely in their job, whether working from home or on site?
- Do they have the essentials they need for everyday living?
- How is their family? Do they have a household response plan?
- Do they need help getting to appointments or getting assistance they need?
- Get connected. Remember, that while we now need to physically distance ourselves from one another, we also need to be socially connected. We have to communicate with people directly, and right now, technology can help with that. If you’re not yet using online platforms take a look at the products below. If you are connecting in person with people, be mindful of the appropriate precautions.
- Consider Zoom, Google Groups, FaceTime, Webex, and other social applications.
- Good hygiene, keep appropriate social distance for the risk exposure.
- Remain informed. Circumstances can evolve rapidly. Know where to get the most accurate and up to date information. Be sure the source is credible. Rumors and unfounded facts will only muddy the communication waters.
- Use the CDC and your state’s Emergency Management Website to stay on top of the current situation.
- Be accurate and transparent when providing information to employees.
- Be vigilant. Taking your commitment to workplace health and safety seriously is critical. Remember, COVID-19 is not the only workplace hazard. Be sure you aren’t overlooking more common risks during these unprecedented employment times.
- Go to MEMIC’s Safety Director for resources about your specific industry.
- OSHA’s eTools are great sources of information about workplace hazard control
The frequency, media type, and content of your communication should be based on needs and set up of your workplace. As a leader, your message is important, so be sure to plan it out. Regardless of how and when you connect with your staff, honest, accurate, and compassionate communication will go a long way in making the best of these interesting times.
MEMIC invites you to listen to the latest edition of the Safety Experts podcast as our President & CEO, Mike Bourque, offers ideas around communicating with employees during difficult times. The Safety Experts podcast can be found wherever you get your podcasts and on our website at www.memic.com/podcast.