Employee Communication Plan Following COVID-19
A proactive approach to developing a communication plan is essential to coming out of a crisis in a strong position. Frequent, timely, and relevant communication will keep people informed and not make assumptions. Few carriers can afford to lose any customers or high-performing employees, including drivers and leased contractors. Information can go a long way in easing the minds of your employees. And, don’t forget about any furloughed personnel you may have; include them in communications as well.
Daily communication with drivers and office personnel
Communication is key to establishing trust. Providing timely information helps employees feel as though they are part of both the plan and solution. Providing a two-way dialogue also allows people to ask questions or raise concerns they may have. The following are considerations when developing your communication plan:
- Communicate regularly, electronically and person-to-person. Below are some examples:
- Create company updates via the company website, YouTube®, Facebook®, etc.
- Focus on positive actions to keep facilities and vehicles sanitized and all office employees and drivers safe and healthy.
- Consider sending a daily "How are you feeling?" message/macro for drivers to start their day. Add standard fields with answers to questions related to feeling ok or feverish, etc.
- Provide a dedicated channel for drivers to share ideas or concerns.
- Verify furloughed drivers are still working for you and haven't taken a new job, and whether they like the job and pay. Confirmation is especially critical for motorcoach carriers that have been shut down. Let drivers know your plans to reopen or ramp up.
- Schedule or continue holding regular town hall meetings remotely to keep up with driver concerns and provide direct access to company leaders.
- Monitor social media and group chats for comments, positive and negative. Manage perceptions with factual responses.
- Communicate changes to states' safer-at-home restrictions as it relates to customers being allowed to reopen.
- Verify and disseminate customer delivery requirements, adjusted hours, and PPE requirements.
- Expected delays at customer locations.
- Document your dispatching practices to account for expected delays.
- Update staffing and office hours to reflect operations after COVID restrictions start being lifted, in anticipation of increased business.
Open, transparent communication will help ensure that both you and your employees are comfortable with the path forward. Convey optimism whenever possible, but realism is needed, not false hope. Share safety and business results as you would during normal operations. Communication will also expose any weaknesses or items that were not considered during recovery planning and allows you to make necessary adjustments.