How good crisis communications has proved essential for productivity during the COVID crisis

by | Jul 16, 2020 | Covid-19, Public Relations

COVID-19 upended business (and life) like nothing has before, and now that we’re kind of getting used to the ever-evolving “new normal,” brands and businesses are learning a thing or two about how to manage their business and staff remotely, and how to help employees create some semblance of work/life balance.

What lessons can we learn from employee experiences during what is reported to be just the first wave of the crisis? New research from European employee feedback firm Effectory offers a snapshot of where we’re at—and what’s to come.

The positive effects of good crisis communications

Employees who are satisfied with the way in which their organization communicates and manages the crisis can perform better and get more work done. They also feel more confident about the future of the organization.

“If an organization shows strong leadership in times of crisis, it can help to develop a sense of solidarity,” said Effectory’s CPO and Innovation Manager, Merel van der Lei, in a news release. “Employees then think: We are going to overcome this situation. That motivates them to be committed and to perform well.”

Results of employees who are satisfied with the way in which their organization communicate and manage the crisis. Insights provided by the 123,000 employees who responded to Effectory's COVID-19 Workforce Pulse surveys between late March and June 2020.

Results of employees who are satisfied with the way in which their organization communicate and manage the crisis.

Balance affected most at the start of the coronavirus crisis

On average, 60 percent of employees were unable to maintain a good work-life balance during the first wave of coronavirus cases. This percentage was highest (62 percent) at the start of the coronavirus crisis and has barely reduced since. Only 40 percent of employees were able to maintain a good balance. Normally, you would expect this figure to be around 69 percent on average, so the difference is considerable.

Results of employees' good work-life balance.

Results of employees’ good work-life balance.

Lack of energy reserves represents a higher risk of burnout

If there is a long-term mismatch between energy reserves and work requirements, the risk of burnout increases. “During the first wave of coronavirus cases, employees had fewer energy resources,” said van der Lei. “For example, some employees did not have the right tools to perform their jobs properly. Collaborating with colleagues was, in many cases, more difficult. And many employees found that their living situations made it difficult to concentrate.”

Results of employees work performance impact by COVID-19. Insights provided by the 123,000 employees who responded to Effectory's COVID-19 Workforce Pulse surveys between late March and June 2020.

Results of employees work performance impact by COVID-19.

Timely insight into reduced well-being to predict the likelihood of burnout

Pulse surveys are a quick way for organizations to gain insight into a number of critical indicators. Van der Lei explains: “Employees are automatically given the same seven key questions. Three are about their well-being: Do they have a good work-life balance? Is their workload too high, too low, or just right? And can they maintain their current situation in the long term? This last question predicts the likelihood of burnout. Carrying out Pulse surveys regularly can also help organizations to detect trends.”

Results of employees confidence in the future of their organization and their organization crisis management abilities. Insights provided by the 123,000 employees who responded to Effectory's COVID-19 Workforce Pulse surveys between late March and June 2020.

Results of employees confidence in the future of their organization and their organization crisis management abilities.

This research is based on 123,000 employees who responded to Effectory’s COVID-19 Workforce Pulse surveys between late March and June 2020.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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