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10 Simple Crisis Communication Do’s & Don'ts

Communicating to and with your employees during a crisis is hard. Unless you have a special crisis comms team on board, it is likely that the first weeks of communication are rather reactive than proactive. However, it is never too late to adjust your ways of communicating, especially when the end of a traumatic event and its consequences are nowhere in sight. Here are ten simple crisis communication do’s and don’ts for you to use in your daily work.

Do's

  • Use the 3-Step Quick Brief Model when communicating. This means sharing with your employees what the company already knows and can share information about, what the company does not know yet and what issues is the company currently dealing with. 

  • Offer a translation of your messages in all company languages. Use reliable automatic translation and check it twice or ask an employee who is a native speaker to help you out.

  • Keep on sharing the “normal” stuff, too. Everything that gives employees a point of reference and contact with normality is worth continuing. Find a good balance and be mindful of the topics you choose to share.

  • Ask your CEO to step in. According to GuavaHR statistics, what the CEO has to say matters the most for employees. Posts by the CEO are read the most, they are the most commented on, and most of the employees are ready to open up a phone application or a web browser for them. Video format seems to be especially appealing, statistics show.

  • Measure your reach. This helps to prevent communication crises that unfold in parallel with the main crisis. If the measurable medium you are using does not reach all employees, then at least you know who has not received or read the information, and they can be notified separately via phone, text message, or email.

Don’ts

  • Use metaphors. Traumatized people are hypersensitive and fatigued, therefore, they need clarity in every aspect.

  • Use social media. If the company’s management currently encourages its employees to communicate via social media, conversations between employees are not controlled by the management. Such circumstances are ideal for the emergence of misinformation, and information that is not accessible to HR or communications staff is also extremely difficult to discredit. Use an employee app instead.

  • Joke or share memes. Even though those affected by a traumatic event the most could be using humor to cope, communicators shouldn’t. 

  • Use design and visuals that steal the attention from the message itself. Avoid visuals altogether in case of critically important updates and choose images easy on the eye for others. Rule out completely any sensitive imagery that could act as a trigger that your employees cannot avoid seeing.

  • Be ambiguous. Ask someone to read your posts before publishing them to understand if what you intend to say is clear to avoid additional potential conflicts.

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