COVID-19 COMMUNICATIONS

Part 2: Finding our way in uncertain times

Jan Burnham
April 1, 2020

Help for HR communications

In talking with Ellen Kelsay of the Business Group on Health this week, she and I shared what we’ve been seeing in the health and wellness space, as COVID-19 has rolled through the U.S. and the world, disrupting business and putting an even sharper focus on health and well-being issues in the workplace.

We've seen a few key practices help benefits leaders contribute to the pandemic communication activities at their organizations.
  • Be the source of truth – Thanks to 24/7 news cycles and the ubiquity of social media, people are swimming in information about COVID, not all of it correct or even useful. The company serving as an organized source of credible information helps keep its workforce grounded in the facts.
  • Continue communicating on a regular basis – Barring time-sensitive emergencies, continue coordinating updates on a regular schedule across HR and within the business. Being trustworthy and predictable helps introduce a small bit of certainty during these uncertain times.
  • Manage your vendors – Benefit and other program vendors are understandably eager to reassure your employees about services and access. Corralling and organizing vendor updates going directly to your employees helps ensure messaging is appropriate and reduces the potential for clutter.
  • Reorient the telemed promotions – Previously under-utilized telemedicine resources of all types have seen huge upswings, as Ellen noted in our last post,while many benefit teams have promoted their use especially since early March.Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to add call-volume management protocols and other tips to help your workforce minimize call waits.
  • Encourage employee self-care – With so much pressure on so many fronts, sleep and exercise routines can be severely disrupted. While healthy adults can manage that short-term, over time it takes new tolls. Take a moment to encourage employees to take a break – from the news, from their screens, from their worries.
  • Share hope – Stories and anecdotes all help people feel more connected and a little less isolated.
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.