The current COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many businesses to a lot of uncertainties ranging from a decline in sales to a ‘work-from-home environment. This pandemic, like other turbulences, causes a lot of anxiety and loss of focus in any environment typically.
This turmoil and dynamic have changed the internal communication perspective for most of the brands across the world.
It is at turbulent times like this that a leader needs to stand and offer the much-needed guidance in steering the ship. It is at this point that internal communication becomes key.
How To Communicate Effectively With Employees During a Crisis
As a leader, you should be able to dispel fears and encourage your team to stay on course amidst the storm. Here are the best ways to manage internal communication during turbulent times.
1. Use The Power of Repetition
It is prudent that a leader communicates clearly, honestly, and as many times as possible to their team during turbulent times.
Passing clear information not only dispels fear eventually but also ensures that all the staff knows about the considerations being made by the top managers and the likely impact of the same on the team.
Ensure that the message is repeated to the team severally and through all the forms possible, which could include memos, email, individual letters, and presentations during meetings.
Repeating the message ensures that it becomes a buzzing agenda among the staff and networks, thus the information sticks.
2. Always Seek feedback
In any communication setting, and most definitely during turbulent times, always seek to get employee feedback on an issue.
As it is commonly said, communication is not complete without feedback. After delivering your message in whatever form clarifying on a situation, always give room for feedback.
The other way round could also work in certain situations. Allow the team, especially during meetings, to give their views over an issue freely without stating their mind from the onset.
From their feedback, you might find critical points to add to your intended message.
Research shows that internal teams tend to be very productive and share common goals or visions when allowed to give feedback.
You should not only seek feedback as a formality, but the management needs to ensure that the feedback is incorporated into an action plan.
3. Control Distortion of Your Message
Nothing worries more than having your team misunderstanding your message simply because an employee got the wrong impression from the initial instance.
Mostly this occurs when there is a drastic change in the organization due to a prevailing circumstance. To prevent this, ensure that you control how other members perceive your message and pass it along to others in the following ways;
4. Do not lose that sense of humor
To avert your message from being distorted by your colleagues as it is passed from one staff to another, ensure that you make it enjoyable.
Incorporate a strategy such as analogies in your messaging to capture the attention of the team. It also ensures that the message is more likely to be preserved.
5. Employ the KISS strategy
To be clearly understood by the team, ensure that your message follows the KISS strategy: Keep It Short and Simple (KISS).
As you speak, remember that your audience will not be able to remember everything you say. If possible, keep your briefs and feedback short and memorable. It is tough to distort information that is short and concise.
6. Steer Clear of Negative Tone
During certain turbulent times, it might not be easy to pass information to the team. You might be facing a period of downsizing in the company or trying to pick up pieces from an error that has cost the organization.
Despite this, ensure that you steer clear of the negative tone in your messaging. Researches show that as human beings, we tend to remember negative things or occurrences compared to positive ones.
Through this strategy, you avert situations where your message is taken to mean a dress down, or out-rightly being bossy.
7. Employ an Air of Being Proactive
In your communication with the team, ensure that you state what you want. Always envision the result in mind as you craft your message.
In your replies to the queries raised during the feedback session, only state what you think is essential.
It ensures that whatever your team will remember and pass on to other staff are only the essential pointers.
In conclusion, times of turbulence at times throw staff and team leaders off the radar. However, you must provide clear guidelines and reassurances to keep your team focused. Ensure that you only communicate what is essential, repeat it often, and be always available to provide much-needed guidance.