5 Ways Effective Internal Communications Help During a Crisis

OrganizationCrisis Communications that suddenly find themselves in a crisis situation typically worry about the potential damage to their public image. Many focus on the news media and overlook their own employees. But it is employees who help the organization recover as fully and as quickly as possible. And it is employees who best represent the brand in their face-to-face interactions with customers.

Ineffective employee communication during a crisis slows or even halts recovery and causes damage to an organization’s brand. Ill-informed and confused employees can’t respond to a crisis or to customers appropriately. However, highly effective employee communication causes an organization to emerge from a crisis even stronger.

Here are five ways effective employee communication can help your organization during a crisis:

  1. Clear, concise, timely, accurate and consistent employee messaging allows employees to provide appropriate and quick responses. This saves an organization time and money by helping employees eliminate mistakes and inefficiencies in their recovery efforts. Effective employee communication prevents crises from becoming disasters.
  2. Credible information reduces or eliminates rumors and false information. Even if facts aren’t immediately available, letting employees know that you are aware of the situation and that communications are forthcoming will position the organization as a credible information source.
  3. Letting employees know how well their organization is responding to a crisis enhances leadership credibility and builds trust in the organization. Employees are proud to work for organizations that do the right thing, especially during a crisis.
  4. Open and honest communication shapes employee perceptions about the organization and thus boosts motivation and long-term employee engagement.
  5. Effective employee communication motivates employees to act as brand champions in their interactions with customers as well as their families, friends and others in the community. Employees protect an organization’s public image from the inside out.

Crises are inevitable and every organization needs a crisis communication plan. Make sure yours includes your employees as a key audience.

What benefits of effective employee communication during a crisis would you add?

4 Comments

Mike Bennett

about 7 years ago

I think the point about leadership credibility is important and it works both ways. By handling the crisis effectively, the communications function can demonstrate its value to leadership and build its own credibility, which can improve its ability to add value in other areas. Leaders are very concerned about how effectively accurate information flows through their organization, and nothing illustrates how well things work -- or don't work -- like a crisis.

Jim Lukaszewski

about 7 years ago

Employee communications has consistently been one of the areas of lowest interest in management and leadership. One rarely sees employee communications leadership at the top of management school agendas nor leadership and management top-level meetings. In too many management circles, employee communications is actually considered to be" sissy stuff." With the management attitude that whines," Why can't they just do what we tell them?" In crisis, the most crucial information source for just about everybody, from the media, to victim families, to survivors, customers, even regulators, are the employees of the organization. Sadly, employees are often the last place troubled and frightened leaders go when bad things happen. I hope this book begins to reverse this pattern and trend. In crisis I tend to invoke the 75 words rule. Frequent bursts of information, internally first, in 75 to 100 words in the form of a statement attributed to the highest level operating official possible. These information bursts are released with great frequency at first, then less frequently as the adverse situation is better controlled and understood. 75 words is approximately 30 seconds speaking time and perhaps reading time. Studies have shown that humans can absorb, retain and repeat with reasonable accuracy 75 to 100 words that they hear or read. In crisis I refer to this technique as scripting, and it works. More fundamentally, as Pau Barton contends, it relies on the most trustworthy audience managers and leaders can count on, even in crisis: employees. I hope Paul's book begins to reverse this pattern and trend.

SnapCommSolutions.com

about 7 years ago

This is perfect for Crisis Messaging. Let me know if you want to check it out. Employee Desktop Alert Software http://snapcommsolutions.com

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