Handling Communication About COVID19 In The Workplace
In our line of work, getting in front of the worry is paramount to creating a channeled worry and ultimately managing the heartbeat of crisis. Said another way, for businesses to remain as profitable as possible, talk about the crisis out loud. Have a plan of direction for the conversation, but talk about it.
In speaking with an HR manager of a company and one of its sales employees, it became clear: if businesses don't go to their employees with a plan, the employees will direct their opinions, the opinions will be based on worry/fear, and it will be more negative for that company than hoped for.
Here is our press release on how to have that conversation.
March 15, 2020
Boise, ID - Conflict specialist, Karleen Andresen, provides business with seven talking points they can apply with their workforce to keeping them feeling engaged, calm, and part of the solution. Conflict happens daily and it’s hard, but crisis needs less “control” and more empathy (feeling with people) leadership.
The seven points are as follows: 1) Lead the concern rather than wait for your workforce to lead without you; they will lead based on worry/fear. 2) Talk with the leadership to create a game plan and present it as a direction with the ability to edit. 3) Listen to your workforce, contractors, and vendors if there is input. It will diffuse a great deal of worry. 4) Ask for input to fill in any gaps. You may not be able to provide everything being requested, but you can ask for priority pieces. 5) Be willing to show up as a collaborative leader, open to keeping people safe, heard, and calm. 6) Be aware that word usage matters. The difference between, “scary” and “worry” can shift affinity or absenteeism. 7) Create a short list of two or three things to include in every talking opportunity. For example, always mentioning gratitude for workforce resilience or how staff are problem solvers.
- Center for Disease Control: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- Global problems and changes shown in data: https://ourworldindata.org/
Karleen Andresen owns the National Mediation Center mediating cases across the Nation. She has been working in conflict resolution for six years and has extensive experience with high conflict. She holds a Masters in Conflict Resolution and Negotiations from Creighton University and she is also certified in crisis and hostage negotiations. She consults with organizations on workplace resolution behaviors, and is an Adjunct Professor at BSU holding a workshop on Crisis Negotiations For The Workplace.
She is located in Boise, ID and is available to speak in person or remotely.