Talent management organizations are facing especially difficult challenges as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. Aside from managing the needs and expectations of traditional business stakeholders, recruitment and staffing leaders must keep the concerns and safety of temporary employees/contractors and field employees top-of-mind as well.
Although there are still many unknowns and much uncertainty, know that we’re #InThisTogether. ClearEdge Marketing is a partner that’s by your side (virtually) and committed (entirely) to helping you overcome any challenges you’re facing.
Since the first call for social distancing, we have been busy helping our clients develop and execute COVID-19 response plans; draft communications to key internal and external stakeholders; manage and monitor social media; prepare strategies to drive new business opportunities and fill candidate pipelines. While the COVID-19 crisis is unprecedented, the basic principles of crisis communication still apply. Most importantly, proactive, quick and detailed communication is critical.
What communication channels are available to you?
The Institute of Public Relations recommends these three channels as best practice for communicating to employees and key stakeholders during a crisis:
- Use a unique website or part of your current website to address crisis concerns.
- Use your company’s intranet as a channel to reach employees and any other stakeholders that may have access.
- Utilize a mass notification system (text or email) to reach employees and other key stakeholders.
It’s also important to include your company’s branded social media profiles and those of your executives on this list. If you haven’t prepared a COVID-19 Social Media Response Plan, check out our actionable guide that’s full of tips and examples from the staffing industry and beyond.
Ensure you’re aware of all of your available communication channels, and document in advance who holds responsibility (and the passwords) to disseminate key messages during your response.
What should we say and to whom?
You must be prepared to respond to all of your business stakeholders, address key concerns, and communicate pertinent information.
It’s a good exercise to consider who all of your stakeholders are, what concerns they might have, and what key messages you need to communicate to each. We’ve created a sample stakeholder chart accessible via the buttons below as a starting point and a great way to organize this information. Thinking about your key stakeholders, what other key concerns have you heard? What other key messages are you striving for in your communications? And what channels do you have for delivering your messages? Remember, how you deliver your message is just as important as what message you are delivering particularly when the information you may be sharing is going to be tough to receive. (We’ve provided an editable version that you can download for free.)
How frequently should I communicate?
Each brand and business is in a unique situation with different stakeholders, audiences, and needs. Your communication plan should be tailored to your business and this includes the frequency of your messages. The goal is to find the right balance. You don’t want to communicate just for the sake of doing so. But you also don’t want to under communicate and leave your stakeholders speculating your position on how the business is performing, what they should do if they think they may be working in an unsafe space, etc., for example.
Here are some of the communications you could consider including in your plan. The timing of these communications will be unique to your business and audiences, but you should aim to be prompt at the outset of a crisis and consistent thereafter:
- Publish a response (website, email, social media profiles).
- Develop a spokesperson messaging guide with key points and plan details for leadership, PR team, social media (media training may also be necessary)
- Provide internal employees with pertinent information (email, intranet).
- Notify clients of any impact, changes to your operations or interactions (email).
- Weekly updates on the situation (email, social media, website, intranet).
- Create an FAQ document if warranted for key audiences (email, website, intranet)
How am I going to manage all of these communications?
It is likely you have in-house resources that you can tap on your MarComm teams, HR teams, or even Operational teams. However, if your teams are overloaded, or do not have the needed skills to support crisis communications, we can help. Whatever your needs, whether it’s preparing your response or planning for the future, ClearEdge Marketing is by your side. We’re #InThisTogether.
If you need communications, PR, or marketing support, let us know. Reach out to your account director or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other COVID-19 Response Resources:
While the situation is rapidly evolving, we’ve already learned a great deal about the necessary response, best practices, and key considerations that are critical in the current environment. We’ve curated a list of industry resources that can help staffing companies manage their response to COVID-19.