Corporate Communications in a Pandemic: How Much is Too Much, and for How Long?
Virtually overnight, organizations of all sizes are communicating with scattered and remote teams in a universally stressful global health environment.
Answering employee's immediate questions and relaying critical personal and operational information is paramount, and will remain so.
Still, at what point do we all hit communication overload leading to unread content? As the current situation evolves and we potentially move to a longer-term work-from-home scenario, your messaging and frequency may change. Webtrends will continue to share our key takeaways (from the sources we’re reading, ourselves) to connect, lead, and best utilize communication and collaboration through your existing SharePoint investment.
HOW TO SAY IT: CENTRALIZE AND CONSOLIDATE ALL CRITICAL COMMUNICATION
Multiple messaging from various internal leaders leads to misinformation and rumors.
- Create a small, dedicated, and defined team of individuals, including leadership, HR, and Communications that meet regularly. This team should be monitoring the evolving situation daily or hourly — depending on the current situation and industry.
- Be the primary source of information about the crisis. Make your dedicated SharePoint central communication hub page THE final word on the latest critical company updates. Direct to other pages from there. Communicate with your internal leadership to convey the same message. This article from LinkedIn overviews this.
- Repeatedly be clear on who to reach out to i.e., “As always, please email info@CompanyHR.com with any questions or concerns.”
WHAT TO SAY: REASSURE AND DIRECT
“Number one, make sure that team members constantly feel like they know what’s going on. You need to communicate what’s happening at the organizational level because, when they’re at home, they feel like they’ve been extracted from the mothership.” — Tsedel Neeley, in an article in Harvard Business Review on remote work:
- Be confident but sincere and empathetic. As a leader, show you are also a human who is ready to support your teams in an evolving situation. Stay positive. Acknowledge the complexity of everyone’s circumstances for parents with children at home, employees with family health concerns, and more.
- Be transparent. Explain what you know, what you don’t know, and your sources of information.
- Be succinct and avoid lengthy messaging written by lawyers or topic experts.
- Simplify your resources onto a single point and then into simple to find subgroups so people can find what they need fast: i.e., Critical Health News, Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Resources, Work From Home Supports. This article in Human Resource Executive stresses the importance of the EAPs in particular.
- Monitor daily by using Webtrends SharePoint analytics to oversee what is being read.
HOW OFTEN TO SAY IT: CENTRALIZE AND CONSOLIDATE ALL CRITICAL COMMUNICATION
How much information is too much information? Consolidating messaging and managing team communication overload is a delicate balance that begins with a solid Sharepoint intranet platform and Webtrends SharePoint analytics.
- Give regular updates with a schedule. Depending on the news cycle and what is happening -- creating a consistent daily update schedule for essential news is essential for morale and productivity in a fluid situation. Being transparent and consistent is vital and very attainable through your SharePoint intranet. Knowing what messaging is received best is achievable through Webtrends.
- Track your communication success. It has never been more critical to track not only "what is being read" and "when it is being read,” but also and "what time is it being read." Now is the time to check in on which SharePoint intranet tools your teams are you relying on most? Webtrends analytics quickly help you avoid redundancies.
- Monitor HOW employees are working best and adjust messaging appropriately. Look at analysis and measurements. The Webtrends platform discovers important work patterns and behaviors. Using the right analytics, organizations can achieve measurable performance improvements; not only in terms of communications efficiencies, but also in terms of reduced resources.
At Webtrends, we’ll continue to monitor the advice and resources of our clients and experts as the COVID pandemic continues.
Whether SharePoint is new to your organization, or the platform has been in use for several years, Webtrends has the case studies, specific metrics, and reporting for all everyday use cases on our website.