6 March 2020

Managing coronavirus – a checklist for all businesses

Our comms checklist that all businesses should be ticking off

Whilst people’s health is always the primary concern, businesses across the world are rightly concerned with the impact coronavirus will have on their ability to keep functioning – and in some cases, survive.

Those businesses that come out on top will be the ones that have managed both the needs of employees and have been able to respond agilely to the changing health, social, and economical landscape.

Here’s a checklist all businesses should be ticking off in their efforts to manage coronavirus:

  1. Monitor World Health advice daily and think through what it means for your employees, customers and business. You can find WHO daily updates here.
  2. Develop a set of principles you’ll follow. This will keep you focused during high-pressure times. Coinbase have done this nicely with three key principles: keeping employees safe; serving customer to the highest standards, doing our part to slow the community spread.
  3. Get your messages in order and make sure you cover both sides of the coin – practical advice and emotional support. People want general reassurance, advice on protection, and evolving practical guidance as the situation changes.
  4. Have a clear and structured comms plan that identifies what you’re saying, to who, when and how. This will help you maintain a sense of control and rhythm to your communication efforts.
  5. Direct everyone to one place for business information, consistently. The priority here is that people know where to go and can do so whenever they need to.
  6. Provide updates to leaders and managers every few days – more often in times of crisis. And make sure they have a briefing kit/talking points on hand so they know exactly how to answer employees’ and customers’ questions.
  7. Communicate clearly and visually and be specific about the steps you want people to take (e.g. effective hand washing).
  8. Prepare a Q&A document that you can share with all employees. See our article ‘Coronavirus: 19 questions employees everywhere are asking’ for help.
  9. Develop a script for your employees – especially those who are public-facing. Consider using a simple framework like the 3 Ps:
    • Pity – Apologise for any inconvenience and show empathy
    • Promise – Reassure that steps are being taken and commit to positive action
    • Praise – Thank them for their feedback and understanding
  1. Develop a remote work practice guide to help employees work from home. This could mean the difference between keeping your business operating and complete shutdown.

 We hope this checklist gives a practical set of actions that will stand you in good stead to weather the uncertainty of the next few months. If you’d like some support to map out your comms plan, prepare those crucial Q&As or even sense-check your thinking, drop us a line. Our crisis comms experts are ready to help.

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