Is Your Organization Ready for Reopening?
Strategies for Building Trust and Effective Communications
During Reopening Phases
Depending on where you are in the World, and what type of organization you run, the re-opening phase of the pandemic looks very different. COVID-19 has catapulted everyone into operating under the banner of a “new normal,” and this will surely evolve as time goes on. There are some fundamental communications strategies though that apply to every organization relaunching, regardless of how this pandemic has affected you.
1. Back to Basics
Now more than ever, it’s time to get back to basics. In communications, this means being open, honest, transparent, clear, and concise.
The easiest way to execute a ‘back to basics’ campaign is to go back to your values, have clear guidelines, and exercise compassion.
Everyone has experienced something different during these times, but nobody has been unaffected. Remembering this and approaching everything with acknowledgement and care should be the easiest.
2. Gaining Employee Trust
As you move through your relaunch strategy, you’ll need to build up and maintain trust with employees. Depending on how your organization handled the initial phases and response to the pandemic, will determine how much work you’ll need to do now.
A simple strategy is to ensure employees are communicated with BEFORE you make any announcements to the public. Be sure to share a detailed safety plan, supports available, and provide a continuous feedback loop.
3. Gaining Public Trust
While many people are anxious to “get back to normal”, it’s recommended that you take a gradual approach to reopening. There should be an emphasis on safety and care in all of your communications and decisions for relaunching. Also, as with the response phases, you’ll want to focus on normalizing change – this is why gradual relaunch makes it easier for people to ‘handle’ the change – it’s less abrupt and feels less disruptive.
Make sure guidelines are clear, and to communicate the checkpoints at which decisions are made to either move forward or backwards in the relaunch strategy. Don’t leave people in the dark, and communicate as frequently as necessary. Also, try to communicate changes as quickly as possible. Delays will only lead to confusion and frustration.
4. Focus on Mental Health
We know that this pandemic has already had a profound impact on people’s mental health. What we don’t know is how severe the impact is, or how long it will last. Wherever possible, maintain a focus on mental health and wellbeing – for all of your audiences.
As we move to ‘relaunch’ we must be gentle and remember that at the forefront of everything is human beings.
If you want to chat more, let’s have a virtual coffee! Book one with me here.
Stay safe and be well.
President & CEO