3 rules for engaging employees during a crisis

When it comes to managing a difficult transition, being agile, accurate and well-rehearsed can make all the difference.

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When an organization is going through significant changes, it’s easy for workers to feel out of the loop or intimidated by what they might not know.

As part of Ragan’s Employee Communications and Culture Conference on Feb. 16, comms experts shared their most valued tips for the “how” and “when” of messaging in uncertain times in a session titled “Communicating Change in Uncertain Times.”

1. Have a plan—and practice it.

Ashley Bush, director of communications and giving back with Southwire, says comms pros will always find themselves at the center of a company’s crisis response. The best way to prepare? Practice.

Most organizations have a gameplan, but fewer conduct yearly or quarterly audits of their strategies.

“Having a plan is not enough,” says Amanda Minto, director of HR communication, technology and product experience with Comcast. “You have to practice and run simulations.”

The best-prepared comms teams roleplay crisis events before they have to respond to them in real life. Minto suggests adapting your crisis plan to a tabletop exercise and including key players from throughout your organization.

The rehearsal makes all the difference in a crisis, which bush says differs from all other communications scenarios because of the speed required.

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