Best Practices in Internal Communications for Crisis Management
In times of global crisis, companies often develop contingency plans to avoid serious disruption to operations. You’ve heard a lot recently about Covid-19 in the media, but many different crises can threaten your organization: product failure, natural disaster, gun violence or simply a very bad buzz. In these cases of emergency, it is essential to communicate quickly and effectively to your entire organization.
What is Crisis Communication
How does good internal communication fit into crisis management?
This is where an easy-to-use intranet becomes an essential tool for internal communications, in order to inform and reach all employees equally. Good adoption of the intranet is also crucial here to achieve proper impact, so ensure that your employees connect regularly.
By leveraging the intranet through the right channels – instead of relying on more traditional methods such as email – organizations are more likely to communicate accurate information quickly, with updated resources.
In cases of emergencies, a best practice is to make sure all messages remain professional and neutral in tone. Leaders need to inform and reassure the workforce, and avoid feeding a panicking or volatile atmosphere.
Favor Facts over Feelings.
Communication professionals such as Employee Communications and HR teams will be the best-suited to ensure an appropriate tone-of-voice.
Some examples of sensible emergency communication:
(Event) today at 9am. Here are the actions we are putting in place to deal with the situation.
These processes are valid until (end date).
You can contact (point person) for more information.
All employees can join (Emergency Community) to voice any concerns and ask questions.
Any public mention must follow this message guideline: “We have taken all necessary precautions at this time to deal with (Event). We are implementing (new processes) until further notice.”
Short-Term: First Internal Comms Touchpoints
Leverage your Intranet
Crisis management demands alignment from all teams, which means emergency communication needs to start with internal communications.
Speed and high visibility are what you’re aiming for above all else, so keep the messaging clear and concise for these first steps in internal outreach.
Have a few key teams or employees – aka a point person – lead the charge on these actions so as to have a clear point of contact for all employees in case of emergency or follow-up questions.
And of course, plan your messages and short-term actions in advance as much as possible.
Here are four ways in which you can leverage an intranet to reach your entire organization rapidly.
4 intranet use cases = 4 levels of communication
Regular one-time alerts
Virtual Town Hall
Leverage your Mobile Application
Ensuring that your intranet is responsive and available on mobile devices is of paramount importance for emergency communications. The intranet mobile app is the perfect channel for employees who work remotely or on-the-go to stay updated with fresh information.
Thanks to the mobile app, employees will get critical notifications or instructions, even if they are away from their computer. These can be push notifications from the intranet app, or updates inside the app about newly posted articles and community posts.
Long-Term Solutions for Crisis Management
The intranet can help support these strategies, such as providing training for the most likely types of emergencies.
Intranet Spaces for Emergency Communications
Create dedicated spaces inside the intranet where employees know where to find this type of information. It is also crucial to plan for page and article templates for emergency topics in order to save time on internal communications when the situation calls for them.
3 intranet spaces for emergency comms
Here are three ways to leverage the intranet for long-term crisis management:
In this page type, employees will find all the context and latest news about the crisis (news articles, press releases), as well as external links towards other relevant content or communities. This page needs to be regularly updated.
Create a specific crisis community if employees need to exchange information, collaborate or simply express themselves about their current situation. This space can also be used to share customer feedback during the crisis, or official talking points that employees should use with the public/external contacts. This type of community needs specific and close moderation.
Social Advocacy dashboard
Finally, it’s important to keep the intranet’s social advocacy dashboard updated with the latest official posts and messages about the crisis and especially after successful crisis management. This way employees can share the right information with their external network, such as: “support is still running as usual”, “all defective products have been successfully recalled”, or “crisis has been successfully managed thanks to these preventive measures…” etc.
If you’re looking to implement these practices inside your digital workplace, check out our page on LumApps’ use cases for Internal Communications and other assets such as our blog How to Facilitate Home Office with a Digital Workplace and our white paper on Mobility in the Workplace.
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How to Facilitate Home Office with a Digital Workplace
The shifts in work economy mean that an increasing number of people are working remotely or able to choose home office for a few days. This coincides with more and more companies changing their policies to better accommodate remote workers. Now enterprises need to ensure they provide the best working conditions, no matter their employees’ location.