During a crisis, most managers and communication teams are busy dealing with journalists, answering their tricky questions and responding to loads of social media posts. Unfortunately, employees and other internal stakeholders are often set aside or even forgotten.
That's a pity, because it's a fact that:
Without effective internal communication in crisis situations, your business is doomed!
Keep these 5 tips in mind to improve your internal crisis communication strategy to prevent your internal stakeholders from losing faith in your organization:
1. Internal first!
Always try to communicate to your internal stakeholders first. There's nothing more frustrating for your employees than reading the latest news about your organization in the newspapers or on social media. Keep them involved by first letting them know and then spreading press releases or social media updates.
Obviously, if your company is about to explode, it might be a good idea to evacuate the surroundings first, but in general: never ever forget to inform your internal stakeholders first.
2. Keep it clear and transparent.
Might, could, possibly, eventually ... Try to avoid these words when communicating to your internal stakeholders. They want to see facts and figures: what happened, who's involved, what are the consequences and what are you doing about it. You don't have all the answers? Tell them! And explain when and how you are going to inform them about the missing information.
3. No guessing, no lies.
Always make sure you only communicate about information that has been fact-checked. There's nothing more difficult than setting things right after wrong information has been spread on social media. Rather go for less information that is 100% true than for much information you need to withdraw afterwards.
4. Go for dialogue.
Especially during a crisis, your employees have loads of questions and are concerned about what is happening and what consequences this might have for them. Don't leave them behind with fear and concerns. Make sure they know where to find answers, how to get help and - most of all - that they are heard.
5. Be a person, not a company.
Be as personal and accessible as you can. Your employees want to be informed by a human being, a person. They need to see that the management is personally involved and cares for the employees’ well-being more than for profit, sales and reputation.
During a crisis, always keep one thing in mind: good internal communication methods prevent your company from falling behind in employee satisfaction, productivity and - last but not least - even profit.
And by the way: this is not only applicable during a crisis, it's also a golden rule for your daily business: Your employees are your most important asset!