I’ve seen companies still wrestling with the best way to implement and communicate their pandemic return-to-office policies. CEOs are worried about the ideal way to support staff who are uneasy about heading to the office in the face of the Delta variant, but most companies still plan to have “butts in seats” by the end of the first quarter of 2022.
I think PR professionals can not only help guide the conversation around how and where these policies are communicated, but also impact decision-making itself.
Here are three ways to support leaders with Covid Communications:
#1 Read the room.
As a strategic communicator, I’ve been very impressed with how my husband’s company has consistently taken “temperature checks” through surveys to gauge employees’ comfort level with returning to work, communicated the findings, and then used that information to make and share decisions. If your company or client has this kind of insight, tap into it. If policies reflect the feedback, you’ll be better equipped to support it with strong messaging. If it doesn’t, you can raise the red flag. And if they aren’t gathering this information at all, you’ll be adding greater value by encouraging them to do so.
#2 Keep leaders aligned.
Meet with the C-suite, including departmental leaders (HR, Marketing, Legal, and others), to ensure everyone is singing out of the same hymnal. If you’re not yet in the office, a virtual messaging meet-up will allow you to address employee feedback, discuss potential decisions vis-a-vis company values, and ensure clarity and uniformity on the reasoning behind a return (or not) to the office.
#3 Repeat 1 and 2.
By consistently reading the room and meeting regularly with senior leaders, you stay in the loop and keep everyone honest. You also add incredible value, strengthen your role as a trusted advisor, and eliminate any lingering doubt you might be having that leaders question the impact of your work.
The pandemic has thrown us into a time of uncertainty, but your input can be the steady voice of calm in the storm. And having a magical messaging framework can make all the difference to keep leaders aligned and prepared to communicate the policy decisions they make. If you’d like to learn more about it and how I can help you adapt this process to any situation, let’s chat.