COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS

Changing gears: 4 tips for the next phase

Jan Burnham
April 21, 2020

Moving your company into the next phase

As many businesses now mark 30 days in social distancing lockdowns, the wear and tear on workforces enters another phase. Even in organizations not upended with either illness or layoffs, tempers are starting to fray and patience is wearing thin.

How to help your workforce as it moves from immediate-crisis to this next phase, even while the crisis is still in full swing?

Here are four tips from ROC Group's recent work with clients:

  1. Signal how the new normal is still normal - Sharing (informed) optimism is a sign of leadership during any crisis. We see client leaders deliberately focusing teams on non-pandemic activities for 3Q and 4Q and intentionally promoting the work as a way to signal hope.
  2. Harness the anxiety – Constant uncertainty erodes even the most confident. We see organizations helping to harness general anxiety by asking work teams to document what they’ve learned so far about their response. What worked well? What worked less well? The act of distilling “learnings” from crisis helps give people     a sense of control during upheaval.
  3. Build the better tomorrow – We all know things will be permanently altered, even if it’s hard to predict what shape some of that change will take. If you haven’t already, link “what-if” brainstorming across the company under a common hashtag, if you are socially enabled, or with a common umbrella-name, to provide a sense of cohesion and intention, even as so much remains uncertain.
  4. Continue the visible support – While you may feel you have communicated employee support constantly in the weeks since your region closed down, now is not the time to slack off. Continue to push the full value of your workforce resources and employee benefits. Consider sharing utilization numbers, so employees know that they aren’t the only ones seeking help from the EAP or financial counseling from your 401(k) vendor. Make sure they know they are not alone in needing extra help during these extra-ordinary times.
Jan Burnham
Jan Burnham
Founder & CEO
Founder and CEO of ROC Group, Jan Burnham, has specialized in employee communications throughout her career, focusing on change communication and complex human resources issues. A speaker and author, Jan is the architect of ROC's communication approach, organizing key learnings about how to make messages stick.