How to Communicate Clearly During Times of Uncertainty
The year 2020 was one of uncertainty and change. And for many, 2021 has already had its share of challenges. This relentless series of unexpected events has tested even the most successful and resilient companies.
The circumstances surrounding the global pandemic, its enduring impact, and ensuing economic fallout have forced just about every business to adapt to a new world and unforeseen challenges. With so many businesses in key sectors across the country floundering or even failing, communication has become a vital way to keep many businesses actively engaged with stakeholders.
Organizations have been releasing statements, updating their social media presence, and finding more ways to connect with their customers, employees and stakeholders. But are these methods effective?
The long continuation of COVID-19 protocols and uncertainty has forced open the lines of communication at a rapid rate, and many professionals are looking for the right words to describe the issues they are facing and the policies they are forced to change and adapt. While we all know at this point that these times are “unprecedented,” we don’t know what that will mean in the long run.
As a communications professional with both corporate and agency experience, I know firsthand the importance of businesses acknowledging uncertainty while still assuring people they are doing everything in their power to make their customer and work environments safe and fruitful. These communications elements are part of an ongoing process and must be customized to fit the needs of different audiences.
At the onset of the pandemic, many companies quickly informed their customers and clients of their changed working infrastructure and corporate policies to reassure stakeholders they would receive the same quality of service. While constant updates on operational procedures are not required, customers need to know the changes impacting the company and any impact they will have on their service.
However, these changes do not have to cause concern among clients and customers. Instead, they need to be reassured that your company remains intact and your business is focused. Every business is different, and the best mode of communication will be dependent on the goals of the company and best vehicles for message dissemination. From email to social media to a larger media campaign, you need to decide what methods will reach, engage and educate your targets, while still showing corporate growth and success.
For employees experiencing the ongoing changes in their work environment, communication can help bridge the gap caused by new safety protocols. Whether they are working from home or working with masks, management needs to find the right communication cadence that will keep employees productive and happy. That means keeping employees apprised of company plans and aligning all business and operational projects to minimize any miscommunications.
This dialogue, of course, cannot be one-sided. As with any relationship, listening is a key element to successful communication with your coworkers and employees. Disconnected from the traditional office environment, managers have to make a conscious effort to understand the many concerns facing their employees and address them quickly.
The same can be said for stakeholders, whose concern for your business can ultimately become an asset. From adjusting revenue streams to changing business regulations, the state of your business may be in constant flux. By regularly keeping your stakeholders informed on the state of your business, you can receive the most up-to-date advice and services from experts who are already invested in your business.
Communicating has always been critical to growing and maintaining your business, but more so now. As these “unprecedented times” continue, it will take creativity and commitment to generate revenue, support your employees and reassure stakeholders. Communication is the foundation for growth and will help bring stability through the end of the pandemic.