We live in the digital age and as such it is common for most of us to experience information overload. This is particularly true for events and news that have the potential to radically change the way we live and work. Coronavirus has dominated our news cycles for months now and with the limited capacity to process all information, people have turned to sources they trust most to help them navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives and the way we work. Amid this uncertainty, however, and according to a new study, employers have been the most trusted source of information for workers when it came to coronavirus.
Photo by Anastasiia Chepinska on Unsplash
BAmid all the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, there’s some good news for employers. According to the 2020 Trust Barometer, employers have become the most trusted institution for workers when it comes to coronavirus updates, with 63% of those surveyed saying they trust their employer. That is more than a government website (58%) or traditional media (51%).
So why have companies been able to communicate so effectively? Here are ten ways identified by the Trust Barometer in which employers have helped workers navigate through COVID-19:
- 1. They have developed a corporate message from senior management. Showing the company’s position toward the crisis helps to reflect that there is a genuine concern and that the organisation is ready to deal with it. The fact that the message comes from senior management generates authority and ensures that the information has a greater reach. The communication helps with specific disclosure, and Human Resources work together with other senior team members.
- 2. They have unified the message. Since all organisations have different departments, it is important to align the message for all staff. Human Resources plays an essential role by being the main point of contact for both inquiries and responses.
- 3. They have offered a clear message. This can reduce the emotional distress of employees, which helps to prevent ambiguity from harming mental health and performance.
- 4. They have identified effective channels. Email is normally the most common and effective means of communication. However, it is important to explore other mediums such as video, infographics, and the use of the intranet to publish recommendations from the company more frequently.
- 5. They have implemented two-way communication. Although the organisation must establish its guidelines on how to communicate, it is essential to listen to the people so concerns and anxieties can be understood.
It has become clear that people can often find their employers better prepared than other outside organisations. There are also ways that businesses and governments can cooperate, such as:
- 6. Support in the creation of measures that mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Ensure the effective and efficient functioning of cross-border supply chains, especially those of medical products and other essential goods. Build and or adapt alternative facilities for the care of infected people while communicating the care measures and processes to the population.
These final points are to do with how workers have expected to see employers acting and sharing information.
- 7. Control the flow. Employers that are trusted have designated spokespeople, defined key messages, and standardised the tone to avoid disruptive communications. They have engaged everyone in productive tasks. Normality, although damaged by a crisis, must be sought at all times, and people must know what is expected during exceptional circumstances.
- 8. Fill the void and avoid rumours. It is crucial to take the lead and speak openly without fear about what is happening. Avoid speculation to avoid the risk of amplifying negativity and the dissemination of unwarranted information.
- 9. Establish a continuous stream of information. Communication must reach all stakeholders, authorities, customers, suppliers, and employees. If any of these key people are left without guidance, they can create their own versions. Plus, depending on their relationship with the company, these versions can have some degree of credibility. One of the worst things that can happen in a crisis is for official communications to be challenged by conflicting versions from stakeholders of the same organisation.
- 10. Demonstrate corporate commitment and reduce tension. The fact that an organisation mobilises in a structured and firm way in the face of uncertainty relays professionalism. This will reflect positively on the brand as well as reduce tension and employers that have done this well during COVID-19 have also gained more trust from their workers.
Given the current state of uncertainty, many companies have taken a stand and positioned themselves as a source of stability and credible information in a world where both are needed.