Communicating During the COVID-19 Crisis
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Posted by: Karen Witham
To access additional resources related to COVID-19 -- including member knowledge centers and industry press coverage -- visit our related news story, COVID-19/Coronavirus Resource Links.
CDC Communication Resources
Segal Benz Coronavirus Resources
PR News Coronavirus Communications
Ragan COVID-19 Resources
COVID-19 Crisis Comms Triage Kit
Communicating Through the Coronavirus Crisis -- HBR
DCIIA Communications Task Force
Our Communications Task Force has discussed ways our members are communicating internally and with clients during the pandemic. We've highlighted some tips and additional resources below.
Tip #1: Focus on frequent, clear, concise communication
Erring on the side of overcommunicating during a crisis can help to avoid confusion and the misinformation trickle-down effect, especially when it comes to internal communications.
As Communications Task Force Chair Megan Yost, SegalBenz, notes, "Employees want and need to hear from leadership frequently during a crisis—especially as things are changing rapidly. This crisis is impacting employees in so many ways—personally and professionally. Recent federal legislation is impacting the benefits and resources available to employees. Additionally, benefits leaders need to make sure they’re letting people know what medical, emotional, and financial resources are currently available to them. All of these items are very much in flux for employees, so it’s important to communicate regularly and centralize information in one place that’s easily accessible to employees and their family members."
Tip #2: Be mindful of your message tone and timing
Marketers are trying not to overwhelm clients who are receiving communications from multiple providers on a daily basis. In addition, no one wants to appear tone-deaf in their messaging during a pandemic. Take the time to be extra thoughtful about message content as well as when and how you're communicating.
Tip #3: Aggregate, summarize, and explain
Help your audiences understand what is happening by aggregating useful information into one share-able email or website. Provide summaries to help people feel informed without having to wade through pages of information. Add value by enlisting experts to draw conclusions and make sense of what is happening.
Tip #4: Provide context
Dip into your communications archive to see what was communicated during past crises -- are there pieces that can be easily updated and re-issued? Provide historical context to help provide perspective and revisit key lessons learned in the past. People are living in moment-by-moment headlines right now, so helping your employees and clients step back and think about the big picture could be helpful, and perhaps reassuring, at this time.
What to Tell Your Employees About the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Their Benefits -- SegalBenz, March 09, 2020
A practical guide to employee communication during COVID-19 -- WillisTowersWatson, March 18, 2020
COVID-19 Resources -- IABC
Are we over-communicating COVID-19? -- Ragan Communications, March 25, 2020
Investor communication in the face of Covid-19 -- IR Magazine, March 19, 2020
Communication tips for the Covid-19 crisis -- Investment Executive, March 23, 2020
COVID-19: Now is the Time to Have a Clear Internal Communications Plan in Place -- Financial Executives International, March 19, 2020
Visit the Task Force page to learn more -- anyone from a DCIIA member firm is welcome to join this or any DCIIA committee.