Mar 20, 2020

Communication with frontline employees in times of crisis

During times of heightened crisis, the leadership of an organisation achieving the right balance of communication is critical – how do you know if it’s not enough or if it is too much?

The challenge is, how does leadership know if its frontline employees are actually receiving the information if the organisation does not have a digital workplace?

As a previous Chief Operations Officer for a company with thousands of frontline employees, I often reflected on the early times in my career when crisis situations would arise like cyclones, flood, or fires. It was always extremely difficult to stay in communication with the frontline employees who are often struggling with the situation unfolding for themselves, and equally as difficult for them to remain in contact with their line manager, who also was generally swamped with information being received from head office, their employees, customers, and of course concerned for their own family.

Therefore, business leaders need to implement a digital platform such as WorkJam, for all employees to receive communication, surveys, training, and messaging, which also provides the employees with two-way secure communication to their line manager.

Roll forward to today’s Covid-19 crisis and businesses across the globe are being stretched, either shutting down as consumer demand retracts or expanding as we are seeing in the food and healthcare sectors.

Employees are being isolated in some industries and in others are expected to keep working through the crisis situation.

Providing employees with a digital workplace platform for all communication is critical, and leveraging the employee’s mobile device to communicate and keep employees updated is a strategic advantage to many businesses. It allows business leaders to communicate directly with all employees, providing clear and concise information that cannot be diluted, changed, or interpreted differently by the various managers across the hierarchy of the organisation.

The other advantage of a digital workplace is the ability to provide two way communication. All queries from employees can be captured and answered allowing all employees to see the response, in effect crowd sourcing of information – providing clarity for employees and helping the leaders of the business tailor communications to what the employees are asking as a priority.

It also allows employees to have a voice in times of crisis making them feel respected and cared for. Two-way communication is very powerful during crisis situations and can bring the largest organisation closer together, potentially increasing and shaping the future culture of the organisation.

Frontline employees that are isolated or not receiving timely communication experience a higher level of stress and dissatisfaction with the business leaders and organisation in general, resulting in higher absenteeism and turnover.

Providing one digital workplace platform enables business leaders to lead and empower employees to manage through crisis situations in a far more effective manner than an organisation that relies on email, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, WhatsApp and other various forms of communication platforms available to employees.

One digital workplace platform like WorkJam provides the seamless ability for all within the organisation.

About the author:

Andrew Myers

VP of Asia Pacific & Global Digital Strategy, WorkJam

Andrew Myers currently serves as WorkJam’s Vice President of Asia Pacific (APAC) and Global Digital Strategy. Andrew supports the company’s current and prospective customers in the region while managing WorkJam’s Melbourne. Prior to joining WorkJam, Andrew served as Chief Operations Officer of a major retailer in Australia, where he transformed the supply chain, store operations, store format, and digital transformation by implementing solutions like WorkJam.

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