How to Handle Crisis Communications Amidst COVID-19

On the evening of Tuesday, March 10th, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer held a press conference announcing two presumed cases of COVID-10 in Oakland and Wayne counties, and officially declared a state of emergency for Michigan. Now that the threat of the virus has hit home for many of us, it’s important to communicate your plan to your employees. Check out the following tips from our team at Coeus Creative Group:

Establish a Point of Contact and Create an Open Line of Communication for Employees

While creating your communication plan, one of the most crucial aspects is establishing a point of contact. Employees will have questions and concerns, even if you lay everything out in a message. The point of contact is someone who can remain calm in a stressful situation, is knowledgeable on company policy, and can handle the flood of emails and phone calls. In addition to having this point of contact, when reaching out to employees, make it known that they can direct all their questions and concerns to that person.

Crafting an Informative Message without Causing Panic

This part might seem simple, but it’s important to craft your message in a way that will ease your team’s concerns without causing panic amongst your company. Sit down and have a meeting with department heads, brief them on your plan prior to sending out a message so they are prepared to answer questions within their department; remind employees that you are taking precaution and that doing things like washing your hands frequently, wiping down surfaces, and using hand sanitizer when you’re unable to wash will help mitigate the spread whether you’re in-office or at home; include that point of contact and establish and open line of communication; and most importantly, remind everyone to stay calm!

Keep Employees Up to Date

Just because you’ve sent out a message, doesn’t mean you’re done. Continue to update employees with the latest news on the virus, whether it’s more confirmed cases, more testing coming out negative, or even the current patients being cured, it’s important to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. This shows your employees that you’re transparent in what’s happening and that you are continuously working to keep them safe.

Have a Back-Up Plan

Just because you don’t have a case of the virus directly affecting your company, it’s important to have a plan in place if you do. Prepare your employees for the possibility of having to work remotely if needed; work with cleaning crews or employees on sanitizing surfaces and making sanitizer readily available if needed; and most important, don’t keep employees in the dark if your company is directly affected! If someone is worried about having possible contact with the virus, advise everyone to take caution and continue to follow the tips from the CDC on mitigating the spread.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to remain calm during this time. Panic causes people to go into hysteria, buying out shelves of sanitizer and clearing out stores as if the apocalypse is happening, when these products should go to people that are more likely to be exposed (with what we know from China, elderly and people with compromised immune systems). If you need help with your communications during this time or any other crisis, contact Coeus Creative Group today!