We are facing so many crises right now; this is a time when good, believable, and relevant communication within the workplace has rarely been more essential.
In a recent IdeaXchange blog I suggested that leaders who have good communication with their employees and their customers will rise above those who do not. That is always true but never more so than now. Being committed to keeping lines of communication open will instill confidence in those who work for you (employees), those you work with (suppliers and partners), and those you work for (your customers).
My blog covers three “C’s” I heard about at a conference earlier this year. However, as I looked a bit further, I found three more “C’s” in an article on Human Resource Executive. These “C’s” deal specifically with how to communicate during the pandemic. However, together, these six traits and practices will help your company succeed, whether answering challenges and disruptions like we face today, or when times are less stressed. Communication is always a key factor in success.
So what are those “C’s” if you are the manager or supervisor attempting to communicate with others?
- Consistency – If you don’t keep your message consistent, your listeners will become confused, and confusion leads to a loss of confidence. But a message that is clear, concise and consistent will quell the confusion and keep listeners calm.
- Clarity – You may think you’re being clear in your messaging, but that’s only because you know in your head what you are trying to say. Ask others what they have heard. It may surprise you since those listeners may not have your knowledge or insight. Fix the message until others know what is in your head as well.
- Confidence – People are often wary of change, so when you propose something new or different, be prepared to be challenged and be ready to defend what you are saying. But make sure that confidence doesn’t sound like arrogance.
The three “C’s” for dealing with this pandemic include:
- Credibility – Communication should be both top down and bottom up. Senior leadership should communicate company-wide messages regarding issues like healthcare and remote work while functional leaders should go be more granular in communications (things like schedule, changes; which offices will be open and when, etc.). From the bottom up, Human Resource Executive recommends setting up open communications channels for workers to express themselves; a safe space to deal with anxiety and concerns.
- Content – In times of crisis, keep the content flowing. Whenever a crisis rises, so do the number of rumors. The more often you communicate with your employees and customers to reassure them during a crisis, the better. You can also use this opportunity to acknowledge those employees who are going above and beyond during the disruption. I’ve often talked about the power of acknowledgement to engender loyalty. It’s an effective tool in retention of both workers and customers.
- Cadence – Your listeners need to know what is going on and regularly scheduled communications helps. You can use different formats: videos, emails, and blogs, for instance. Just follow a schedule that your listeners can rely on. Also, never be afraid of repetition; it’s a highly effective tool. When the message is the same but the format changes, listeners pay even greater attention.
Most important, when the crisis passes, when the disruption ends, make sure your communications don’t end with it. Keep the lines open, keep the message clear, and you will end up keeping your valued employees’ loyalty as well as that of your customers.
Check out my IdeaXchange blogs to see how to successfully interact with employees, customers, and suppliers.