Employees want to hear from their leaders right now.
As Edelman puts it, CEOs must take on a new role during times of crisis: chief empathy officer. The duties of which may or may not entail offering pictures of home-baked macrons or sharing the results of a home-haircut gone wrong.
DeAnne Boegli, director of communications for Wisconsin-based health insurer WPS Health Solutions, has been working to keep the company’s 4,000+ employees informed and inspired during the pandemic. Her team has also been busy forging stronger connections between WPS’ leadership with staffers.
Bringing execs and employees closer together starts with securing a seat at the decision-makers’ table and being in on high-level discussions. “Be part of the conversation at the top,” Boegli says. “It is crucial communicators are on, or a lead member of, the crisis response team and working daily with executives to understand the needs of the business and the employees.”