Fields of action of the Corona Crisis
At the end of March, the Institute for Employment and Employability (IBE) surveyed around 400 managing directors, executives and HR experts on the relevance of various HR and organizational fields of action and on their fears and hopes in the current Corona crisis.
An important finding is that open communication within the organization and virtual communication platforms are rated as very relevant measures, and more frequently overall than individual measures in the areas of government assistance or working time models.
The study takes a look at a total of 8 fields of action and shows how relevant the respondents see individual measures for crisis management in each field of action. The fields of action included government assistance, working hours and locations, support services for employees, communication [&] information, leadership and monetary measures.
Government assistance (99%), employee support (99%), and communication [&] information (98%) are seen as the most important areas for action. It is precisely in the communication field of action that the individual measures are also to be found that are considered very important overall and relate above all to open and honest communication (92% of respondents see this as a very relevant measure).
It is clear that in crisis management, economically oriented measures to safeguard the company are just as important as taking employees into account and communicating the procedure. The field of leadership also plays an important role for 97% and here, above all, prudent action by managers and openness to creative ways of overcoming crises are emphasized. A high level of social competence and self-reflection is therefore necessary for managers to navigate through the crisis in a level-headed and prudent manner.
Benefits of the study:
Since the study assesses various fields of action with corresponding possibilities for action, good impulses for the company’s own crisis management can be derived from it. To this end, the study provides guidance on the key actions that need to be addressed.
Communication in the crisis
In everyday working life – and especially in a time of crisis like now – there are often difficult issues that need to be communicated to employees: for example, an unpleasant business situation, uncertain prospects or personal cutbacks. The be-all and end-all when it comes to bad news is good communication!
In our leadership trainings, dialogue is a great learning field. When we ask the question “How do I communicate sensitive issues?” we therefore differentiate between two levels: the content level and the process level.
At the content level, I communicate clarity about what is known: for example, the 90% drop in sales and already 50% cancellations for the next three months.
At the process level, I explain what the next steps and actions are. This creates security for the audience.
Now, especially in crises, it is very difficult to pass on a lot of information at the content level, because often we only know what is today and can hardly make a statement about tomorrow’s facts. This is the dynamic situation emphasized on all sides.
At the same time, managers feel under pressure to report something and deliver facts. In this case, it is even more important to communicate at the process level:
- What do we do next to learn more?
- What are the first measures we can take right now?
- When and where will the next information be available?
The more small-step these answers are, the better employees and uncertain listeners can orient themselves to them and find an anchor in them. They can hold on to that until the next date when there is new information; then preferably with more information and clarity. On the other hand, I don’t need to show every detailed next step in every presentation or report if I can already create clarity in terms of content and the long term.
In addition to the multitude of ways I phrase something, what I say matters just as much. And it is precisely here that I have to decide, depending on the situation, whether my focus should be on content or on how to proceed.
If the information content at the content level is high, the information content at the process level may be low. However, the lower the information content, the more strongly it should be communicated at the process level.