The circumstances surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) are continuing to develop hourly (let alone daily), and with the rapid-fire nature of modern media and social media channels, details vary from broadcast to broadcast, leaving many in the workforce in confusion and fear.
Most are confused about the next steps they should take, either paralysed by fear, worried about their future or in the shock and denial phase of the crisis.
Having a plan is the best course of action for any business, however for many, especially those who have not implemented crisis management plans in the past, we are entering new territory.
The pandemic is creating a constantly changing national condition which has employers feeling the pressure and unfortunately due to the overload of news and information (often contradicting itself) leaders are running the risk of being ambitious in their communication and actions with employees.
Ambiguity leads to confusion and creates more uncertainty and fear. This is something we all need to avoid. Thankfully, there are steps employers can take to prepare their workforce, encourage certain behaviors and manage the business environment effectively, so employees can continue to remain engaged and reduce the risk of panic and concern.
These steps are the basis of crisis management and often seem commonsense, however, in a crisis it is more difficult to remain calm and think or behave in a considered way. It is vital for HR professionals that reasonable practices are established and followed, plans put in place and implemented, and most importantly, any action taken has been thoroughly understood, investigated, checked and measured in order to avoid longer term damage to the business.
Every day the boundaries and goal-posts are moving, so it is vitally important that leaders in industry, business and human resources are kept as up to date as possible to avoid generating fear, adding to the confusion or creating workplace dysfunction. We need to know all we can in order to adapt, innovate and implement new ways of operating during a crisis.
This is why clear communication, accurate information and considered action are required.