A clear, caring message from leadership can go a long way in reducing fear and uncertainty in the workplace in the face of public health concerns. Below, you’ll find the blueprint for effective internal communication, and examples you can use or customize so you don’t have to create your own messaging from scratch. Think of this as your 5-point guide to keeping your team informed and safe.
1. Begin with an acknowledgement statement (e.g., “We realize you might be feeling X”). Share an intention statement (e.g., “I am writing about this because Y). Example:
Given the uncertainties around the coronavirus, I wanted to share our stance to create alignment and ensure our team’s wellbeing.
2. Clarify that the intention is to invite smart action vs fear or overreaction. Example:
While the current health risk is low, we recognize the importance of taking calm precautions.
3. Outline adjustments you require or recommend with links to relevant information so people feel as much certainty as possible. Clarify who to go to for support. Example:
- Work from home if you feel sick, traveled outside the country in the past 2 weeks, or simply prefer to work remotely. Please work with your manager to co-create a smooth transition.
- Avoid travel to impacted regions as categorized by the CDC. You can see a CDC travel map here. Switch meetings and events to virtual, if needed. When in doubt, get support from your manager.
- Follow CDC safety guidelines. These precautions are always a good idea! So, think of this as a reminder to commit to the basics: wash your hands thoroughly, use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), and avoid touching your face. Sleeping well and healthy eating also go a long way in keeping our immune systems strong.
4. Make a ‘know/don’t know/will know’ statement. Example:
What we do know is that the CDC is listing most regions as safe and that health officials are saying good hygiene habits make a big difference. What we don’t know yet is how this situation will impact our upcoming conference. But we will be tracking CDC updates and news reports, and will keep you updated about any changes. Expect to hear another update by Monday.
5. Invite conversation. Example:
In the meanwhile, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.