Times of crisis always spark confusion and can even induce panic. However, as popular wisdom has it, crisis also breeds innovation, if harvested correctly. If your business is currently in a state of economic uncertainty, or under investigation, for one reason or another, the mind frame you as a business manager need to find yourself in is that of efficient communication. Regardless of your number of employees, communicating transparently and in an honest, timely manner with them is essential. Read on below for several employee-focused communication solutions that you, too, can implement, in order to harbor ingeniousness, instead of anxiety, among your staff.
- Uncertainty Kills
The first thing you need to do when crisis strikes is to set up a communication department (or make sure the current one is running smoothly). The specialized professionals in this department will make sure your situation is accurately represented by media outlets, should your business be in their focus. What is more, they will also ensure honest, transparent, and, most importantly, frequent in-house communication. As any number of motivational keynote speakers regarded as innovators in their field will tell you, communication levels need to be amped up during trying times. Be extremely discerning in answering the following questions in work meetings with the members of your communication department: which segment of the staff do you need to talk to? What do you want to tell them? What is the “best case scenario” predicted outcome of this communication act? Do not leave this up to chance, as the results of faulty in-house communication can be extremely costly.
- Employees First
Prior to addressing the press, blogging, tweeting, or Facebooking about the situation, make sure your staff have been informed on the official stance your company is taking with respect to the crisis situation. Should your employees learn the “bad news” from any other source than company management, chances are they will be spreading negative rumors themselves, out of an understandable sense of panic. In breaking the news, be transparent but empathetic, decisive yet not unreasonably optimistic.
- Assess Your Allegiances
A certain proportion of anxiety-induced responses are unavoidable in troubling times. Some of your employees might decide to jump ship, so to speak—and when they do, some might consider taking along valuable information for your company. Make sure you also listen to your employees, not just talk at them like some unsympathetic mouthpiece. Before taking any final decisions, individually evaluate cases eligible for layoffs, consider the overall costs of staff cuts and the way those expenses will affect your business.