by | Mar 19, 2020

Of all the times when internal communications are important, a global pandemic has got to shoot up to the top of the list. This is change management at its most fluid, when employees need to know what’s going on with all the speed and accuracy you can muster. Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind as you communicate with employees on the Coronavirus and how it effects them at work. (For what not to do, try this Best Practices one-pager on 5 Biggest Mistakes in Change Communications.)

  1. Let them know what you’re telling customers. If you’re in one of the industries most severely impacted, like retail or restaurants or travel, your employees will be bombard with questions from friends and family about the company’s plans. They are your ambassadors, and can help preserve your brand reputation by sharing the company’s measures to keep customers safe, as well as store closures, refund policies and especially anything the company is doing to help. For instance, if your company is doing something for the good of the community (like Comcast offering free wifi and unlimited data for all the kids and employees working at home), let your employees know so they can help spread the word and share in the pride of helping others.
  2. Let them know what the company is doing to keep employees safe. What measures has your company taken to make your workplace safer during the Coronavirus outbreak? Are there policies that have always been in place for cleanliness and disinfecting? Have you altered work schedules or are you asking employees who are able to work remotely to stay home? If you’ve taken extra steps, like engaged a company to do an electrostatic spraying with disinfectant that’s EPA-registered to kill the Coronavirus, by all means, let employees know that. (For an Atlanta-based company that Tribe has engaged during flu season in the past, see
  3. Let them know about any COVID-19 cases. If there are employees or contract workers in your company who are being monitored or have tested positive for COVID-19, you need to share that information. While protecting the privacy of those individuals, give employees as many specifics as you can so they can access their own risks. Was the person being monitored working only on one floor or in one building? Were they working in a closed office or in open space? Did they visit any other offices or locations in your company?
  4. Remind them that things change. While you assure them that they’re getting the most updated information you have, emphasize that this is a dynamic situation with surprising developments that even the experts can’t predict. Employees don’t like it when you tell them one thing and then later have to counter that with conflicting information, but when an unprecedented crisis is unfolding at a rapid pace, that may happen. Give them a disclaimer beforehand, if you can, and remind them you’re getting them the latest news, as quickly as you have it.

Having trouble communicating everything you need to communicate right now? Tribe can help.

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