No matter what happens in 2021 - and no matter how many crisis communications are required - there are critical and important topics and focus areas that should always remain front and center. When you prioritize these areas, urgent and time sensitive information will find a more receptive and engaged audience.
1. Keep your foot on the gas regarding COVID-19 safety communications. Complacency about this topic could signal to managers and employees that it's OK to relax their guard. Ensure there is a centralized location with updated safety information that all employees can access. A manager section within that location can share guidance and talking points for a variety of situations, such as what to do and say if an employee becomes ill. In addition, sharing stories of employees who are working safely and making a positive difference is good for morale and sustaining safety awareness.
2. Ensure the cadence and quality of diversity and inclusion communications reflect your workforce and your organization's commitment to them. Diversity and inclusion shouldn't be communicated just once or twice a year or only during a crisis. Create packaged content that can be shared on a regular basis and ensure communications in general reflect your workforce and customers. Develop a stand-alone strategy and make certain your company's commitment to diversity and inclusion is present in all strategies, content, imagery and distribution.
3. Re-evaluate how Employee Communications creates value for the business and strive for quality over quantity. The pandemic, natural disasters, social unrest and other challenges require an even more thoughtful, intentional approach to all Employee Communications content. How we act and what we say and publish matter. Ensure Employee Communications is focused on high-value initiatives that directly impact employees and the business. With priorities in place, strive for quality over quantity in communications. Messaging that is timely, relevant, authentic to the brand and creatively appealing will engage employees.
4. Understand how these times have impacted employees' perceptions about their day-to-day role and big picture. The last year may not have changed your organization's purpose, but it could have had a major impact on how employees feel about their role. Employees in essential and non-essential industries need to understand and be recognized for the critical part they play in helping each other, customers and communities manage through this difficult time. Managers perform a major role in driving this understanding, but how well they are able to do this is directly impacted by how their leadership and managers engage with them.
5. Ensure a strategic approach to social media. This channel is a fast way to share time-sensitive information and is easy for employees and customers to access. It's also an effective way to build your brand with multiple audiences and enable them to interact with content. Many organizations are using social media by posting only urgent information or content that doesn't fit anywhere else. Take care not to fall into this trap by developing a strategy and editorial calendar that is flexible and supports the organization's goals.