Written by Chris Russell
9th March, 2020
HR Communication Tools for Crisis Management
As companies begin to scramble to prepare their offices and employees for more remote work (aka work from home and WFH) due to the Coronavirus outbreak it makes sense to review some tools and tactics to ensure your HR department can communicate clearly and effectively about what to do and expect going forward. Sure, you could rely on email but times like this call for a more omni channel messaging effort.
Alissa Penny, an HR consultant with A Better HR in Texas tells me that HR needs to concentrate on two things during a crisis, communicate loudly and often. She went on to say;
“Loudly can mean a lot of different things for different industries, but it is essential that you are communicating your company’s stance on travel, internal policies (especially your sick/leave/PTO policies), and C-Suite messages using methods that will reach employees where they can hear you best.Maybe emails or flyers are best, maybe it’s team meetings, or maybe you have a remote workforce that would benefit from text communications. It’s most likely that a combination of the above will be the most effective. Communicating often should be a given. Employees want to know what’s going on – have things changed? What happens if a family member is affected? What critical things should I know? – communicating often helps reassure employees and reaffirms your company’s stance.”
Communicate with Video, Email and Text
While your employees are working remotely, it’s more important than ever to make sure everyone stays in the loop with business operations. One company I read about has started broadcasting video messages to staff with the latest information. Hopefully they are doing so through an HR texting platform to ensure those videos are seen and watched ASAP. It’s a little harder to embed video in an email anyway. Recorded videos will give workers an opportunity to catch up when they can’t make it to a live briefing, and follow on bullet points sent by HR via text message can help highlight or reinforce the key takeaways.
With that in mind here are some specific channels that HR can leverage in a crisis to communicate.
- Group Texting: the one to many broadcast ability of an HR texting platform is perfect for organizations or teams that value speed of messaging. It’s also probably the easiest to implement. Emissary’s HR texting tool actually lets users upload a list of employee phone numbers and instantly broadcast to them.
- Facebook Live via Private Group: companies can leverage a private Facebook group and conduct Facebook Live video events if they want to bring their messages to life.
- Slack: this group messaging tool can be used via web based desktop or the slack mobile app. Create your own private channels, share documents and more.
- Zoom: this is the most popular way to conduct video meetings where you could have hundreds of people watching and listening. All video events are automatically recorded to the cloud.
- Skype: the original remote video/chat tool has come a long way and now supports groups as well as browser based calling.
- Facebook Messenger: if all your employees are on Facebook you can create a private group chat within the facebook Messenger app. It’s an effective communication tool.
- Whatsapp: another mobile based messaging tool that is popular with many countries outside of the U.S.
- Citrix: provides a complete range of digital workspace solutions that unify everything an employee needs to be productive into a seamless, intuitive experience. With Citrix, companies can empower people to work in a flexible, secure and intelligent way that unlocks their creativity and innovation and enables them to deliver better business results.
- Microsoft Teams: Microsoft’s answer to Slack.
Any of the above tool are excellent for broadcasting your messages in a crisis to employees working from home. Pick the ones most relevant to your organization and keep your employees up-to-date.