Things have moved on since our last blog on communicating with staff about COVID19, albeit slowly. However, with the pandemic showing no signs of going away soon and government advice changing frequently, confusion still reigns so it’s vitally important to keep communication channels open.
Here are a few tips to help with your ‘internal communications’ – but remember that some of your suppliers, contractors or outsourced people may also need to know some of it too!
What do staff need to know?
With the option open for some businesses to open their offices again, it’s important that the entire workforce feels safe and confident to go back in if that’s what you’re allowed to do and want to do. Outline to staff what the government guidelines are and how you are complying with them. Give details on the options available to them if your premises are not re-opening yet or if you are giving staff the choice to work from home.
Provide advice on safe travel – perhaps set up schemes to encourage more walking or cycling to work, if that’s appropriate for your location.
Also, staff need to be equipped and informed to deal safely with clients and customers, if that is relevant to their role.
Reiterate the rules around testing, tracing and isolation – ensure that staff know how to keep themselves and others safe, should they experience symptoms of the virus or come into contact with someone else who has.
How to stay in touch
This is the perfect opportunity to get into good communication habits! If you don’t already produce one, a company newsletter is a great idea. Digital, rather than printed is the ideal format as it keeps down costs and production time and can be easily edited for each new edition. Don’t focus solely on the pandemic – use it as an opportunity to share other information – important updates, hires, good news and light-hearted stories. If you already have a newsletter, add a ‘COVID19 update’ section, specifically focused on any news in this area.
As advised in our previous blog, don’t restrict your communication to digital channels only – ensure that staff feel they are able to speak to senior staff in person or on the phone whenever they need support or information – it’s got to be a two-way street.
Keep it interactive
Make sure employees know when to expect the next update or newsletter and encourage them to get involved by sending in questions that can be answered in the upcoming issue. A dedicated ‘Q&A’ email could be set up, or, for staff who would rather remain anonymous, or if you have staff in, a good old-fashioned letter box for handwritten questions is a great idea.
And remind them that questions can be on any issue of concern to them – not just about the pandemic.
While times are still uncertain, regular weekly or fortnightly updates are a good idea. These can always be reduced to monthly once the situation eventually settles down.
We love helping our clients produce newsletters and can take care of all elements including copy and design, so if you’d like some help, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org