3.28 million Americans have filed for unemployment, according to the Labor Department’s reports.
This number keeps rising.
This is the highest level of initial unemployment claims in U.S. history, with the previous high being in October of 1982 at only 695,000. These numbers are unprecedented and so are the ways we are living and working as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Now is not the time for business as usual.
Please, heed this warning - Silence is not the route to take in a crisis.
If you don’t speak for your company, your store, your restaurant, your bar, or your brand, others will fill that void with their own communication. They will share it on review sites, social media, and with their personal networks.
The perception of your business amidst a crisis will be just as impactful as the perception your customers have always had of your business before the crisis.
5 Tips -How To Manage Your Business During COVID-19
Everyone is craving information, guidance, and resources. That includes customers, candidates, employees, hiring managers, and business contacts—don’t neglect or forget any of your audiences. Take the time to understand how your audiences are feeling and what they need right now. Focus on sharing information on the channels that have the biggest impact like your careers site, social media, and your company's online presence. 75% of brand websites are not currently addressing COVID-19. What a missed opportunity! You cannot assume that posting one message on your Facebook page will be enough or that your audiences will see it. Make sure you are utilizing all of the channels you have available to you.
Forget the standard message and automation, this calls for a human touch. Check all of your scheduled messages, automated templates, and drip campaigns to fine-tune your messaging and ensure it’s consistent, timely, and empathic to audiences. If your audiences are receiving “friendly reminder” emails or conflicting messages about your brand, your company, your store, etc., you are inflicting damage to your business. Create communications that reflect the values of your organization and provide transparency and context during this crisis. Messages with empathy and infused with humanity are more important now than ever before.
Clean the house, then the yard. While this is a good recommendation for how to spend your time during quarantine, it also serves as a metaphor for aligning your crisis communications. First, look internally at your messages and coordinate well to understand the state of your organization and what’s best to communicate. Then train your employees and leaders on the communication guidelines. Make sure you provide updated templates, talking points, FAQs, and other resources to ensure everyone is informed and aligned. Once messaging is aligned and employees are informed, then start communicating externally. Apply your organization’s overall COVID-19 communication strategy across all your channels, adjusting the message based on the audience and platform. Consistency builds trust and loyalty, especially during times of crisis.
Ask “How are you doing?” and “How are we doing?” to everyone. Feedback is important all of the time, but even more important during a crisis. You need to understand how employees and feel about how your organization is handling COVID-19. Update your messaging to be even more empathic than usual and lead with a question that shows your compassion for the person sharing their feedback. Taking the time to ask questions like ‘How are you?’, ‘What do you need?’, ‘Is there anything we can do to help?’ can make the difference between someone taking the time to give feedback and someone just hitting delete or closing the browser.
Be optimistic and plan for the future. Every crisis comes to an end. Even if COVID-19 doesn’t disappear, we will eventually adjust to a “new normal” and a new way of working. But don’t wait until then to start taking action! Find out from your employees now what they expect from YOU, their employer, once the crisis has passed. Gain an understanding of candidates' sentiments now as well as their preferences for safety, sanitation, benefits and expectations in an employment experience when they do return to your workplace.
How you plan now can determine how successful you will be in the future.
A crisis is a true test of loyalty, confidence, and the human spirit. Will your business be positively or negatively remembered for how you treated employees and customers during COVID-19? When it’s over, will employees and customers be rushing to your door or switching to a competitor? What you do as an organization and how you do it truly matters, and it will make a difference now and after this crisis is over.