In the wake of COVID-19 developments, retail traffic will inevitably slow down. As such, it's only natural to be consumed by its impact on the performance of your wireless retail business.
But, have you ever put thought to what your employees are experiencing as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic?
While telcos naturally direct their energies outward during such situations, modern leaders are coming to realize that communicating with employees is equally important.
Every employee can serve as a de facto spokesperson, so executing effective internal communications can help ensure worker safety, minimize damage to your brand (carrier or authorized agent), and build trust among employees.
According to a Forrester survey, roughly half of US workers are concerned about the personal impact of Coronavirus.
General best practices to follow when communicating internally during a crisis
At the time of writing, authorized agents under certain carrier brands still have not received clear instruction on what to do with their stores and their employees.
While waiting for clear direction, those same authorized retailers can already prepare internal memos to ease any anxiety among employees.
- Have a statement ready to go while you gather more details: Provide timely, regular scheduled updates instead of waiting to have all the answers. Here's a sample boilerplate memo:
"Given the developments of COVID-19, we continue to work behind-the-scenes to develop an action plan in the event that we are forced to reduce store hours for a defined period of time. We will notify all staff as soon as we have more information."
- Stay positive and avoid hysteria: Staying calm under pressure says a lot about a leader. Over half of US-based full-time and part-time workers are already afraid of the spread of coronavirus, so there's no benefit of exacerbating those fears. Remind your employees that your leadership team is monitoring the situation and appropriate action will be taken shortly.
- Ensure information is consistent: All official memos should come from a member of the leadership team. Ensure the field is equipped with the right message and answers to common questions. You want your sales managers, regional managers, district managers, store managers, and sales associates on the same page.
- Encourage two-way communication: Pushing out internal memos is only half of the equation. Encourage your employees to ask questions and promote an open dialogue. To maximize engagement, pick a system that is commonly used by your employees to communicate (Slack, Facebook Workplace, company Intranet, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc.).
While no one can predict how long a crisis like COVID-19 will remain, leaders in wireless retail can control how they communicate in the wake of these events. Doing so will help employees get the information they need as quickly as possible without jeopardizing their trust and motivation over the long run.