Employees and Crisis Communications


It's a Whole New PR Ballgame


Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

After over a year of unpredictability and drastic change, plenty of people around the world are still looking to feel safe. Although many have already gone back to feeling relatively normal after the tumultuous months that have passed, there are still people who are operating on high alert and stressed about potential disruptions.

Additionally, although all employees are not the same– and they’re all going to respond differently to different situations– employers should be aware that plenty of those responses to potential disruption are due to the employees still feeling a lot of stress. Given how humans have six core needs according to scientists – choice, belonging, equality, progress, significance, and predictability – employers can infer that some of those needs aren’t being met in the workplace given the employees’ reactions to the pandemic.

Fortunately despite the global crisis, employers can still reframe the negative responses that some employees might have, and make the workplace a better space for everyone.

Questioning Behaviors

One of the common signs that employees are still facing a lot of stress is when they start questioning whether the company’s future plans are going to have positive results. The employee might start asking more questions that sound doubtful about the plans themselves, and perhaps not even suggest any potential alternatives. On the other hand, they might push back against a plan because they don’t believe in it.

When that happens, employers should communicate with the employee on why the employee feels the way that they do. They should have a discussion with the employee on what things could be changed for a better outcome, positively receive  recommendations from the employee, and make them feel heard.

Escape Behaviors

Alexei Orlov of MTM notes that, “Another sign that an employee is under a lot of stress from the crisis is showing that they have a need to escape. This can range from talking about looking for a new team to changing their role, and even to leaving the company altogether.”

To mitigate their feelings and those types of situations, it’s best to show that employee that the employer and the rest of their team can support them whatever their future decisions might be. Once again, there should be an open and transparent discussion to figure out what’s making the employee strive towards ‘escape’ type decisions.

Avoiding Behaviors

The avoiding  indicator is relatively easy to spot, as it’s easy to see how much attention someone is paying during meetings, for instance. It’s one of the classic behaviors of avoidance and unfortunately, it can cost the rest of a company quite a lot. That’s why it should be discussed as soon as it’s noticed, and the employee should understand how their behavior is impacting the rest of the team.

One of the best ways to go about these types of employee behaviors is to open the door to discussing what’s troubling the employee, and making sure they receive the feedback positively. Additionally, in these cases, it’s best to work towards finding a solution that will benefit all sides together.

RONN TOROSSIAN - HOW MANY FOLLOWERS DO YOU NEED ON INSTAGRAM TO GET PAID?About the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.