Over communicating with employees avoids confusion, provides purpose, builds a positive company culture, and creates accountability.
We’ve been living in some uncertain times these days. The COVID-19 pandemic, rioting, and looting, and general unrest have created a lot of change and upheaval for many of us. In the best of times, employers need to communicate. In times like these, it’s probably a good idea to take your communication to the next level.
Here’s why it’s important today to overcommunicate with your workers.
Sometimes More, Not Less, is Better
There is a lot of anxiety going around these days, and leadership doesn’t have all of the answers because, frankly, none of us do. But this anxiety can make you feel more cautious about what you share with workers, and that can translate to radio silence at a time when we need vision and leadership to help us move forward. The Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) calls it “the law of employee speculation.” When a vacuum of communication occurs, your workers start to speculate about the situation and what’s ahead. Many people will assume the worst, and this assumption, with no communication to calm things down, could create a negative work environment for anyone in your business.
Nerve-wracking times like these call for employers to move beyond just crisis communications and create transparency whenever possible with their workforce. Workers and even managers will feel more in control of a situation that is addressed and discussed, rather than swept under the rug or ignored.
During the pandemic, employers should increase their routine communications to keep everyone calmer and let employees know that they care about them and their wellbeing. Managers should make stronger connections with their employees, creating tighter bonds that will stand the challenges that may lie ahead. Managers may want to have one-on-ones or team meetings to help people cope by answering questions or concerns they may have. Employers and managers should make an effort to strike the right tone, including:
- Don’t wait for employees to reach out to management, address issues, and interact now to set everyone’s minds at ease.
- Express concern for workers and their families, not just the business.
- Acknowledge the uncertainty of the situation and let workers know you will get through this together.
- Share that you may not have the answer, but you’ll work to find out and report back when you have it.
- Don’t make this a sales job. Don’t overinflate the situation; just say what you know and what you’re planning to do. Talk about what steps your business is doing to protect employees and what you steps you expect employees to take to enforce social distancing or cleanliness or security.
- Talk about the future and what changes are impacting your business, but express that you will get through this and come out better on the other side.
- Be kinder—send care packages to employees, or approve time off, allow more remote work, or buy workers lunch. All of these things can send a supportive message during a challenging time.
Following these tips will help strike a tone of humility, leadership, and determination. It’s a good vibe to spread around to workers who may wake up every morning worried about what they’ve seen on the news the night before.
Talk with IES about the impact of these challenging times on your business. We’re standing by to help you succeed and come out the other side more resilient and successful. Contact us today.