As we approach the 18-month mark of navigating what is now the “new normal”, the need for clear and effective internal and external communications has never been greater.
The past few weeks in Australia have shown us that the pandemic is far from over - with more than less of us being impacted by lockdowns across the country. And while we may not have all the answers, what we do have is a well-equipped toolkit to lead our teams and clients through the uncertain with a “people-first” approach to communications.
1. Communicate clearly and frequently
In her bestseller “Dare to Lead”, Brené Brown champions brave leadership and building better workplaces through this simple motto: “clear is kind, unclear is unkind.” Those six little words can also be applied to COVID communications both in our workplaces and in our day to day client counsel. Stick to the facts, empathise with what any new changes will mean for employees and organisations and remain solutions-focused.
2. Cut through the noise
Each day, we need to distill meaning from what can sometimes appear as “chaos” elsewhere. High emotions and press conference fatigue can strike even the most seasoned politician or journalist, and sometimes they’ll say something they may later regret. Our job is to cut through all of the “noise” and provide the most important and relevant counsel to our clients and team members, without a side of panic or hysteria.
3. Choose your sources wisely
With hundreds, if not thousands of local and global sources of information available at our fingertips, the choice of what to consume can feel overwhelming at the best of times. Many of our clients in retail, FMCG, hospitality and tourism have requested Thrive’s daily COVID-19 update which provides a concise summary of what is happening around the country and with our tailored recommendations of how we can support their next pivot.
4. Challenges bring opportunities.
Speaking of that next pivot, even when there are challenges that seem beyond anyone’s control, it is important to always look for the silver lining and explore how we can reframe the situation with creative, agile and most importantly customer-first communications solutions.
5. Create a safe space
Finally and most importantly, create a safe space and lean into vulnerability. Long after these times pass – and they will pass – employees, clients and stakeholders will remember how tough messages were communicated – how we guided them through this. Everyone needs transparency right now, whether that’s a positive message or otherwise.
By Alice Dodge, Group Account Director (Melbourne)