Now is the time to communicate your recovery plan

Day 21 of New Zealand's Alert Level 4 Lockdown.

As we await the announcement from the PM today as to the country's emergence from Level 4 Lockdown and what this will mean for employers and employees, many business owners have already been busy preparing a range of scenarios and developing operating procedures to support any likely outcome.

Organisations and individuals have been forced to pivot and reinvent themselves, to repurpose their operations and deliver a product or service in a completely different way. There has been an explosion of online offerings, but also of innovative and creative ways to remain relevant and afloat. Resilience has been brought to the fore.

Over the past three weeks, business owners and operators have spent many hours reflecting on business operations, reviewing cash flow, and making the tough calls to restructure or reduce their workforce. Many businesses moved early to reduce hours and salaries to 70 or 80% in order to retain jobs and stay afloat. Unfortunately, some businesses have not survived, and business owners and employees alike are facing hardship.

The Government moved swiftly to announce support packages for businesses and worked closely with institutions to put in place mortgage holidays, rent freezes and tax offsets.

Throughout this time, communication has been key. We’ve seen this demonstrated beautifully from the top down, with regular updates from the PM herself – timely, relevant, detailed, and honest communications.

At a business level, communication with employees, customers, suppliers, clients and partners has never been more important. And personal communication – one-on-one phone calls and video conferences in place of an email. Picking up the phone is a powerful way to connect with people and convey meaning and emotion. The ability to discuss a scenario, talk through options and alternatives, or to listen to concerns, can’t be replicated with an email exchange.

Now is the time to communicate with your employees, clients, customers, and broader network about your longer-term plans for recovery.

- How your business will operate under Alert Level 3, 2, and beyond.

- When you will be able to resume operations and what that will look like for employees and customers.

- What level of service you will be able to provide, or range of products.

- What alternative procedures have been put in place to support online interactions.

- What this will mean for office-based workers and how you will manage a staged return to the office.

- How you will interact with clients and what personal protection measures and procedures will be put into place to ensure the health and safety of all parties.

If you need support with scenario planning, the development of new policies and operating procedures, or the drafting and execution of internal or external communications, feel free to reach out to me on 021 977 688.

Andrea Brady

021 977 688

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