By Tara Gibson - November 17, 2020
It’s safe to say that nobody could have predicted the dire impact of the coronavirus pandemic back at the beginning of the new year. For those working in human resources, the responsibilities of talent acquisition, internal professional development, and management of benefits for the workforce have abruptly changed to navigating the new challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. One fact has remained a constant need for businesses and organizations across the nation: efficient employee communication.
As the year comes to an end, businesses are now reevaluating their business models and operations amid the changes the coronavirus pandemic has brought. What used to be bustling and vibrant office spaces with ping-pong tables and spacious lounges for some competitive high-tech companies have now been emptied as many workforces were forced home to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Large companies such as Adobe, Google, REI, and Zillow have sent employees home to work remotely until things begin to get back to normal, and Twitter has announced employees can work from home indefinitely even after offices start to reopen. Many organizations have mirrored these long-term remote work plans, which is highlighting the need for efficient, timely, and informative employee communications.
For HR leaders, it’s important that the company communications software currently in place can tackle the challenges brought forward from COVID-19 and continue long after the pandemic. Consider the following questions when evaluating business communication solutions before the new year:
This may seem like a silly question, but as workforces adjust and change – especially amid mass furloughs and unfortunate layoffs – HR must be able to reach every employee. Routine communications and updates about the company should be sent across the organization so that everybody is on the same page.
By leveraging a mass communication and collaboration solution, users can reach all employees via multiple methods of communication including email, SMS text message, voice calls, desktop alerts, digital signage and PA systems. To account for irregular workflows or disruptions to the supply chain, scheduling communications to ensure those with differing work schedules receive the correct information is extremely important.
There’s no question about how difficult this year has been for many, especially with the unfortunate economic decline. Not only are employees worried about their jobs, but they’re also struggling with external factors including the pandemic, nationwide civil unrest, severe weather and natural disaster threats as well as a huge presidential election – to name a few.
HR leaders and employees must do what they can to ease these fears and provide the support needed to get through the rest of 2020. Again, communicating and remaining transparent with workers is essential. Leaders can also share mental health resources and provide additional support such as any virtual therapy options if possible. With a comprehensive employee communications solution, this information can be shared regularly to ensure employees always know of the resources a company has on hand.
Amidst the confusion brought on by the pandemic, the CDC has recommended that employers clearly define their sick-leave policies according to public health guidelines. Employees must understand that if they are not feeling well, they should take time off, whether or not they are required to come into the office or are working remotely. With the new paid leave bill, many organizations have created special sick policies and have added additional sick days for the coronavirus which have been easier to support.
Additionally, most business travel has been terminated due to cases on the rise and new hotspots across the United States. It’s recommended that employers consider this and limit travel altogether. Wen-Wen Lam, CEO, and Founder of NexTravel told HR Technologist, “Companies should make sure to offer their full assistance and take over all travel-related issues so employees can focus on their work and staying healthy… This includes communicating with your traveling employees about all emergency protocols, updated travel guidelines, as well as handling any travel logistics.”
Not every company can operate entirely remotely, which is why clearly communicating workplace plans and procedures when entering and working in an office space is extremely important. Human resources must share in-office policies such as social distancing regulations, mask-wearing, regular sanitization of workstations, and more.
With a mass notification solution that has polling capabilities, users can send automated daily employee COVID health checks, which prompt workers to respond on whether they have symptoms or have been in contact with anybody who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
An organization wants their workers to feel safe at work, which is why conducting health checks, sharing what’s being done to maintain their safety as well as what employees need to do to ensure their colleagues safety is paramount.
Although budgets are tight, clear and consistent communication with employees throughout the rest of the year – and going forward – is essential for any business. Leaders should look for a comprehensive mass communication and collaboration solution that is easy-to-use, can reach everybody instantly, and has helpful features such as automated updates, contact list segmentation, multi-language options, SMS opt-in, and robust reporting capabilities.
It is a businesses’ responsibility to protect employees and put them at ease throughout this unprecedented and difficult time. Employee communications are just one way to do so.
Tara is a Marketing Coordinator on the Rave Mobile Safety marketing team. She loves writing about all things K-12, State & Local, Higher Ed, Corporate, and Healthcare, and manages the Rave social media channels. When she's not working, she's taking care of her smiley, shoe eating, Instagram-famous fur baby, Enzo!
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