One of the most difficult aspects in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis is communicating with those affected. At this time, field service businesses are engaging in difficult conversations with office staff and field staff. Whether your business is deemed an essential service and continuing to provide for customers, or your business is not able to move forward with work at this time, communicating clearly with your field service staff is vital.
Proper communication tactics can help keep staff engaged and confident in your leadership throughout a crisis. Here are five tips for communicating with field service staff during these changing times.
Tip #1: Be transparent
When people are informed, they are less likely to panic. Keep your staff in-the-know by providing clear information about where your business stands, the actions you are taking to alleviate problems, and the steps (if any) they can take during this time. While it is natural to want to hide bad news from staff, being open and providing transparency will help your staff trust in your ability to work through the issues at hand.
Tip #2: Be relevant
Think through what your staff really needs to know at this time. During a crisis, no one wants to hear empty messages of what you would like to do or what you are considering. Share relevant information to show that you understand what your staff needs to know at this moment. Again, when people are properly informed, they are able to make better-informed decisions.
Tip #3: Be empathetic
In the same way you are openly sharing information with your staff, you want them to feel encouraged to share concerns with you. Create a channel of two-way communication between leadership and staff.
If you can’t handle large amounts of messages from staff in the moment, be strategic. Appoint different people on your leadership team to be in charge of listening to staff concerns and filtering through those messages. Provide specific instructions regarding how staff can reach out during this time, and encourage them to do so. Even if there’s nothing you can do to mitigate concern in hard times, be willing to listen and allow staff to feel supported and heard.
Tip #4: Be consistent
To avoid confusion and rumours, make sure you are sharing the same messaging across the board. If you have multiple leaders sharing information, make sure everyone is on the same page about what is being communicated and how. With multiple channels for communication, it’s important that a uniform message is being shared. When messaging isn’t consistent, confusion may arise and staff often start to worry that leadership isn’t being honest or transparent.
Tip #5: Be flexible
In light of the current situation, things are changing on a daily basis. Be willing to adapt your message and communication methods as needed based on the changes. Flexibility also means being willing to stay in constant communication with staff as the impact of COVID-19 changes on a day-by-day basis.
We know that you and your staff are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on business. Keep in mind that this will not last forever, and if you remain engaged and think strategically, your business will succeed on the other side.
Here at simPRO, we will continue to share insights to help your business during this difficult time. Stay tuned to our COVID-19 Crisis Management Hub for more insights through this situation.