20 Mar 2020

It’s difficult to know what to communicate as a business in current circumstances. Business as usual is not appropriate, staying silent seems the wrong response. We asked the general public for their thoughts.

First, they told us – overwhelmingly (94%) – that business has an important leadership role to play at this time.

That doesn’t mean they want to hear about your latest products. They want relevant information. Specifically, what your business is doing to tackle the spread of COVID-19 (59%), how you’re keeping employees safe (57%), how to manage a potential lockdown (53%) and how to stop the spread of the virus (51%).

They also want reassurance about the future. That means they want to hear about how you’re planning for the future (58%). More than a third surveyed (35%) want to hear directly from businesses on how to strengthen the economy.

Of those we spoke to, more than 60% were working from home – and they want to hear from them employers. As an average they rated their own employers’ communications to them at 6 out of 10.

Specifically, half of all employees don’t think they’re being communicated with frequently enough – 37% of employees want to be reached daily, and 24% want to be reached several times a day, or more. The person they most want to hear from is not the CEO – but their direct manager.

For communicators, these thoughts should simply help to frame strategy – there are three key questions to ask:

What can you do as a business that is genuinely helping people in this situation – do it.

Amidst uncertain times, what is your business doing for the future – show your leadership and talk about the future.

Your employees need you now. Step up your internal communications, empower your teams to keep in contact if they’re working remotely, and protect your company culture.

These findings are a snapshot. If you’d like to discuss the full findings, email me at gcleland@hanovercomms.com.