Organizations must send out communications to employees during a crisis

There is no need for more stories and reports to tell us how the meltdown is affecting organizations across the globe. And during such times, organizations downsize and lay off employees. Though this does not occur in every organization, it leads to Chinese whispers, causing and leading to a sense of panic among the employees, as they are often kept in the dark about the situation. Organizations can take suitable actions during crisis to make sure that their employees feel at home. While parts of the world economy is crumbling, India Inc., is definitely doing its share to keep the employees in the loop and in turn are making sure the productivity and morale does not crumble.

History has taught us that crisis of any sort is something that no organization expects. While they usually do have a back up plan in place, organizations are known to be caught on the wrong foot, causing them to take drastic actions. So, what is the first step that an organization takes to make employees feel a part of the system? Experts say the first step to handle anything, including a crisis, is to communicate.

The first and foremost thing that an organization needs to do is to understand the severity of situation and the possible impact due to this. Then, communicate the same to the employees using appropriate platforms and package it in such a way that employees get the right message and do not panic.

While communicating the situation to the employees, organizations should make sure that they give complete information and not withhold any important information. While communicating the situation, organizations should make the employees feel engaged and informed rather than speculating and adding to their worry. This leads to a participative atmosphere in the company; as it encourages open discussions and keeps the environment friendly.

Communication can happen anytime. And organizations have great ways to send out information about the various happenings in the company. So why should they give special emphasis on this during a crisis? At times like these, employees may draw their own conclusions, which may lead to unwanted aftermath in the company. Grapevine discussions and skeptics doing the damage should be curtailed right from the beginning. The communication should precede with reviewing the strategy and course correction in the operating plan.

Experts agree that communication is the way to go. And while they are doing their best to keep their employees in the loop, productivity is something that gets affected during such times. Reasons may be many, but work needs to be done. So what can organizations do to inspire at times like these? Initiatives such as lectures by veterans who have seen earlier business down cycles, inspiring leadership talks, addresses by eminent economists and clarifying role expectations are some of the measures that we have initiated.

This is the time when organizations need to step up coaching processes for employees. This is also the perfect time when organizations can upgrade skill sets of the employees, learn new processes and in turn, improve performance and increase productivity. Organizations need to coach their employees by holding regular meets and discussing the issues on an open forum.

An organization needs to design a ‘Retention Bonus Plan’ for the business unit or function that could have a direct impact. Also it is imperative to continue team events.

The senior members of the Mindteck team starting from team leaders to management team members, hold weekly meetings with their respective team members and give them details about the latest updates. Other than these meetings, they have recently relaunched our corporate website with advanced interactive tools like blogs to nurture two way communications with the society at a large and promote co-creation, thrive on free flowing ideas and suggestions. They also use their intranet portal extensively as an internal communication tool. All kinds of updates/developments are shared on the intranet on a regular basis. Employees can freely express their views/opinions on a certain issue using this platform. This acts as a platform for their employees to share their key concerns.

In the end, a crisis is the perfect time when employees come to know how well their organizations handle difficult situations. Though there are no guarantees about anything, organizations are doing all that they can to make their employees feel part of the bigger picture. All you need to see is how well can your company handle this.