23 March 2020

Coronavirus comms: 10 things to focus on right now

With so many plates spinning, it’s hard to know what to tackle first. Here’s a quick list of ten things you should make sure are covered.

Every day the world governments are increasing measures to prevent the further spread of Coronavirus. While many industries are closing doors altogether, those still operating are navigating increasing uncertainty. New questions are being asked; how do we support our people? What’s the right thing to do? And what can we do now, to prepare for what’s next?

With so many plates spinning, it’s hard to know what to tackle first. From scenario planning to crafting your employee comms, supporting managers to keeping morale high, here’s a quick list of ten things you should make sure are covered.


1. Know and recognise what’s happening

Start by getting a complete picture of what’s happening on the ground. Speak to your people, understand their reality and action anything that needs addressing – this may involve setting out new ways of working. But don’t forget, it’s still important to recognise and celebrate the great things happening across the business, whether that’s through a public thank you or an internal recognition board that everyone can add to – and make sure there’s a digital option available. 


2. Give people clear, actionable goals

In uncertain times, find something you can be clear about. Your people need focus, information and direction. This can be through realistic goals colleagues can work towards, whether it’s a focus for the week or small, daily objectives. 


3. Look after your people

Depending on your business, your people could be feeling isolated at home or rushed off their feet at work – and in some cases, both. What are the small things you can do to demonstrate you’re thankful for their hard work? Remind them that you’re looking out for them and, if you have one, use this opportunity to remind them about your Employee Assistance Programme.


4. Plan messages for every scenario 

With so much happening by the hour, it’s crucial to have the right messages in place for each scenario. If someone in your business is diagnosed with COVID-19, what will you say to your people? What will you do? If this is something you need assistance drafting, we can help. 


5. Support your managers

Managers are the face of your teams, your people will be looking to them for answers, reassurance and guidance. If you don’t have one already, put a comms toolkit together for them. Ask them what they need, deliver this and support them along the way. Coaching is a great way to embed a toolkit – we can offer one-to-one and group sessions to support managers.


6. Keep morale up

In times of crisis, there will always be hero stories – you just have to look for them. Unearth these stories and share them with your people. Nobody wants to be bombarded with scary statistics, they want to hear the good things too. 


7. Hold flash briefings 

When everyone’s busy, daily flash briefings are a great opportunity to keep people aware of any key messages or updates. Keep it to three messages or talking points a day, or if you’re really busy, every couple of days. 


8. Review and redraft your ‘how-to’ comms 

Your ways of working have changed, so it’s time to draft and deliver your ‘how-to’ comms. They could be how to talk to customers and stay safe, how to safely deliver products, how to practice good hygiene or how to handle customers that are nervous or cross. Once you’ve crafted these, training is key – we can help.


9. Put everything relevant in one place

People will need somewhere to check the latest guidance and advice. This could be an online group, a public noticeboard, or even just a folder on your IT system. Clearly signpost this and make sure everyone knows where to direct any further questions.


10. Don’t lose sight of your purpose 

With many businesses suddenly in crisis mode, the sole focus is to keep operating. However, it’s more important than ever to remember your purpose. Make sure everything you’re doing relates back to the emotional reason you exist – it’ll give your people something to connect with and rally around. 


If you need help supporting your people, getting the right comms in place, or planning for every scenario, contact Chris Giddings at chris@mccannsynergy.com 



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