6 Tips for Communicating Organizational Change During COVID-19

April 22, 2020 Gabrielle Garvin

The current world environment is filled with both anxiety and uncertainty. At times like these, timely and relevant communication becomes even more crucial. At Appirio, we always support our clients’ efforts to present themselves and their brand effectively. 

Toddler standing in front of beige staircase

With that in mind, here are a few messaging tips for crafting and delivering effective communications in these uncertain times:

  • Show empathy: Now more than ever, it’s important to communicate with compassion and kindness. Be mindful that your audience is under stress. Acknowledge that you are aware and understand. A simple phrase such as “I understand,” can often put others at ease. 
  • Drive unity: Working from home is something many of us are adjusting to for the first time. The loss of togetherness can easily creep in and affect the culture of your organization. Regularly remind your team that you are in this together. At Appirio, our teams have traditionally stayed in touch via email, video conferencing, and 1:1 check-ins. These drive your business forward and build community. 
  • Offer help/provide solutions: When faced with uncertainty, answers become as valuable as gold. Anything you can offer—data, facts, direction—that can help people navigate through anxiety and stress can make a big difference. It’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. Any support you can provide helps! At Appirio, we equip our remote teams with tools, support, and clear direction through shared internal websites, favorite productivity apps, and even an email alias for specific information or topics. 
  • Have honest conversations: Simple communication driven by truth keeps everyone informed. As mentioned above, it’s okay to admit that you don’t have all the answers. Mention you are working on getting those answers. “Real talk” calms and helps reduce anxiety. It also improves the credibility of the speaker, writer, or leader. Appirians attend virtual video meetings called RealTalk that help teams understand what is happening in this ever-changing environment, connecting leadership to the frontline teams. 
  • Keep it simple: During times of crisis, it can feel like things are changing by the minute. To help keep pace, simplify your communications. Cut lengthy communications into bite-sized messages. That way you can communicate quickly and provide smaller bits of information for easier digestion. 
  • Be timely: At Appirio, we apply the hybrid-agile approach of our operations to our internal and external communications as well. This enables us to provide timely, up-to-date communication through a variety of channels, such as chat, email, video meetings, or, one of our favorites, Salesforce Chatter. 

When applied thoughtfully, these tactics can distinguish your brand in a time of uncertainty. As change management experts, Appirio’s OCM team is poised to support our clients and help them adapt to the current environment while preparing for future challenges without compromising their brand identity. This sharpens our ability to offer support quickly to organizations who may not have in-house crisis management teams on standby. 

At Appirio, we are uniquely qualified to thrive in times like these because remote work has been our culture for over 14 years. It’s in the DNA of our company. We’re supporting our clients to both shift their teams to remote work and optimize their operations based on best practices of their work-from-home strategy. 

If you need help pivoting your communication strategy and/or crafting a communication plan, contact us. We’re ready to help you change the curve and thrive in the new normal.

About the Author

Gabrielle Garvin is a Principal Change Consultant at Appirio hyper-focused on organizational digital transformation. She has partnered with numerous Fortune 100 to Fortune 500 companies from various industries to create and implement customized and comprehensive strategies aimed at integrating and driving micro, macro, and global changes; setting up the individual and the organization for successful transformation. Her passion for change extends beyond organizations as she loves helping individuals and communities embrace change by breaking down fears and finding solutions and opportunities as a result. She enjoys training with her two working German Shepherds, meditation, hiking, and studying the science and the art of change.

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