From a dumping of snow, a sudden flashflood, or a powerful hurricane, severe weather events cause major disruptions to organizations and their staff.
(Worryingly, there’s compelling evidence that climate-change will only increase the frequency of extreme weather events – and the ensuing chaos they cause employers.)
Having an effective internal communications strategy during this challenging time is critical – not least to check on employee welfare; but also to cascade important status updates, explicit instructions such as evacuation procedures and H.R. specific information, such as employees’ rights.
At times like this, staff have several concerns that employers must address i.e.
- Should they attempt to make their way into work?
- What arrangements are there if they become stranded at work, or they need to stay at home and look after dependants?
- How can they keep themselves safe?
- How their job (and pay-packet) may be affected in the aftermath; will they be penalised?
Some of our awesome SnapComms customers have shared their learnings and tips for the most effective way to communicate to staff during a weather emergency.
Here’s a round-up of what they told us:
Quick cut-through with links to more information
“We’ve had several episodes of extreme weather situations, and feel we have an effective communications strategy locked in place. We always use SnapComms Desktop Alerts which include links to a communications page on our internal staff site. This page is regularly updated with the latest information, and is time and date stamped.
Whenever a new piece of information related to a specific disaster or weather event becomes available, we publish this immediately on the communications page, then we send a new Desktop Alert with this embedded link. Latest updates are always marked as “new information”.
This has become a tried-and-tested communication strategy that, from experience, we know works well.
Staff appreciate the stability and frequency of the communications."
- Major Holiday Resort Chain
Short Surveys for Safety Check-In
“During Hurricane Irma, we used SnapComms as our primary channels of communications.
We sent out 15 weather-related Desktop Alerts to staff. Messages included hurricane updates, road closures, office closures, and important H.R. info, such as how to record a weather-related absence.
We also sent out five safety checks and wellness-related surveys. These entailed a multi-choice version, asking “Are you safe?” and a free-form survey asking what assistance they required, and if they knew of any colleagues needing help.”
- Professional Services Organization
Segmenting lists helped prioritize those most in need
“We sent the RSVP alert to all employees, with a simple opt-in / opt-out: “Do you need help? Yes / No.”
The responses were automatically placed into two groups within SnapComms Content Manager, making it very easy to see where we needed to focus our efforts.
To those employees who RSVPd “Yes” to needing help, we quickly sent a follow-up survey, listing available help options, plus an open-ended question asking if they needed other forms of help.
As the responses came in, we could immediately see who needed assistance.”
- Software Company
(Names have been withheld to maintain confidentiality)
Read here for more tips on how to communicate with staff before, during and after a severe weather event.
Feel free to leave a comment below if you’ve got a relevant experience to share with fellow internal communicators.