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CRISIS COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY

With increasing self-isolation in response to COVID-19, a virtual team model is coming to the forefront for many workforce and education organizations that are accustomed to onsite service delivery for students, job seekers and employers.

With increasing self-isolation in response to COVID-19, a virtual team model is coming to the forefront for many workforce and education organizations that are accustomed to onsite service delivery for students, job seekers and employers. Here at FCM, we’ve operated using a virtual business model for 18 years, so we are lending our expertise to support workforce and education organizations with crisis communications planning and designing operational structures to maintain efficient communication both internally and with the public.

Here are strategies to keep communication relevant among your virtual staff:

  1. Identify technology platforms. Working from home, or some other remote location, means you will have to use platforms that help your workforce and education staff communicate in real time; plan to meet virtually with your team and customers/clients; manage projects online; and continue communicating regularly with your customers/clients. You may have other needs, so it’s best to start by making a list your team’s daily activities. Then, match the activities to the most appropriate platforms to make working remotely as smooth as possible for everyone involved. Email us for a pro bono consult about technology with FCM’s CEO.
  2. Schedule Monday morning meet-up. Using platforms like Zoom and GoToMeeting with webcams, keep regularly scheduled staff meetings every Monday morning to establish team priorities and identify team member roles. During this time when students are switching to online learning and workers are being laid off, discuss operational and communication bottlenecks and devise a cross-training plan to address areas of critical importance.
  3. Keep consistent business schedules. Nothing has changed in terms of servicing your customers with the huge exception that you now have to move to an online business model that requires even tighter communication protocols. Create a schedule of handling customer inquiries, assigned staff and the methodology for communication (e.g. hotline, text, email).
  4. Create communication protocols. It is critical to have individual team leads responsible for monitoring emails, social media and texts from customers. These leads need to have access to the people within your organization who can answer questions they on their own may not know how to answer. So it’s important that leads be in regular contact with your organization’s subject-matter experts to ensure information is accurate and timely—platforms like Slack can help with real-time internal team communications to alleviate email backlogs.
  5. Develop a Crisis Communications Plan (CCP). A CCP is an operational blueprint for how your organization plans to communicate to employees, stakeholders and the public you serve. FCM has created a template for what to consider when creating this plan. You may also schedule a pro bono consult with FCM’s CEO to discuss.

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