Coronavirus Crisis Communications – How Top Employers Are Responding

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Picture of Hallie Pridham
Hallie Pridham

As the Coronavirus outbreak spreads across the world, notably affecting countries that represent 40 percent of the global economy, businesses are scrambling to respond to the pandemic. Massive operational changes are starting to come into effect, including closing affected sites, halting all company travel, and cancelling or postponing major events. Given this response, the most important thing an organization can focus on during a crisis like COVID-19 is putting their employees first. 

Communicating with clarity, speed, and being able to ensure the effectiveness of your reach and message is paramount in a crisis. With so much misinformation, companies and leaders need to be reliable and credible in sharing information and answering questions. Be the source of truth for your employees.

So how are top organizations handling crisis communications of COVID-19? Below are some insights we have gathered based on real product data across more than 100 SocialChorus customers, representing over 4.5 million employees worldwide.

Workforce Communications about the Coronavirus Are Surging

Since the outbreak, the number of posts by SocialChorus customers to their employees referencing COVID-19 has surged. This trend tracks with general search trends as the virus gets more coverage outside of China. Organizations recognize the impact the pandemic is having and are responding with more communications to address employee concerns. Based on the results we’re seeing as of this publication date, it appears we have not yet reached the peak of employee communications for this topic.

Get the Guide:  7 steps to Mobilize for a Safe and Productive Return to Work

With SocialChorus, companies can publish multiple forms of content to their employees ranging from long-form articles to links, notes, images and videos. Articles are by far the most popular piece of content to send accounting for 62.5% of all publications followed by links and videos. Companies are opting to inform employees with more in-house information that’s easily referenceable for future use. 

With crisis communications, it’s imperative to reach all of your workers, whether they’re in the corporate office or front line, with the right information at the right time. Employers are using SocialChorus to create their official messages to publish across multiple endpoints – such as email, mobile apps, intranet, chat applications, digital signage and more to ensure all employees are reached. We’re seeing organizations target specific populations of employees with personalized messaging. Finally, employers are also using automatic translations in their communications to reach employees in the language they prefer. 

Employees are Highly Engaged with Coronavirus Communications

It’s not surprising that employees are engaged with employer communications about COVID-19. Across 2,761 posts about the Coronavirus, over 5.1 million impressions were delivered resulting in 711,000 clicks. Employees want to know how their organizations are handling the outbreak and are ready to engage with this content to stay informed. Be prepared for questions and address employee comments directly to provide guidance and stop the spread of misinformation. 

Employees Want Official Communications That Provide Clarity

So what kind of content are companies producing?  And what content gets the most engagement? The most popular posts cover the following topics:

  • Travel updates
  • Leadership messages
  • Prevention measures
  • Updated workforce protocols

The most popular messages come from corporate communications, the CEO and other senior leadership. Their messages are focused on reassuring employees of actions being taken and encouraging best practices to stay healthy. 

Additionally, many organizations are consolidating all communications into one dedicated Coronavirus channel to keep communications organized. This increases trust and creates a greater sense of what communications are official versus hearsay. Healthcare organizations in particular are using dedicated channels to provide frequent updates across all their hospitals and key “need to know” information for their employees.

How to Manage Crisis Communications in SocialChorus

So how are you sharing crucial business updates around COVID-19? We have gathered best practices from across our enterprise customers, and found that there are a few key ways to keeping your message contained and effectively communicating a crisis: 

  • Publish once. Reach everyone. Having a way to quickly and effectively reach all your employees is invaluable. Ease of publishing means you spend less time worrying HOW your message will reach employees and more time on strategically communicating. This means one-time publishing across all of your digital channels, quick targeting and personalization for each group or individual, and automatic translations.

  • Target specific groups of employees in real time. Employees in different locations have different concerns so you should consider tailoring your messages to be more effective. Automatic user management allows enterprises to sync and manage large lists of employee data and attributes to create targeted employee groups for specific communications.
  • Ensure Delivery, Drive Action, & Track Acknowledgement. Don’t assume that just because you’ve sent the communications, that employees have absorbed that information. Be certain that your message has reached them through direct employee acknowledgements on each announcement. During a crisis, it’s incredibly valuable to be able to easily pull reports on which groups and individuals have taken action. SocialChorus has found that companies can reach employees 2.7X faster by using a smart campaign as opposed to traditional forms of communication.

  • Effective Crisis Communications Requires Measurement. Tracking and measuring communications in real-time allows you to quickly adjust your strategy and make more informed decisions going forward. Not only can you see the outcomes of specific campaigns and whether or not employees have officially acknowledged your message, but you can also see the impact of all of your Coronavirus communications. Proper communications analytics give business the ability to be agile and respond to a fast-changing environment. Effective crisis communications depends on these insights.

  • Focus On Your Message. Not Infrastructure and Security. When communicating a crisis like the COVID-19 epidemic, having global infrastructure and security at scale is necessary. Organizations need to get the message out quickly without worrying about deliverability. That means zero points of failure from network to application, best-in-class security and the lowest possible downtime. Customers who use SocialChorus as their platform for crisis communications can expect a 99.99% uptime and 24/7 access to availability status. 

Employees need a source of truth, especially in times of crisis and misinformation. They are relying on their employers to share accurate and helpful information to keep themselves and their families safe. Don’t let rumors become fact. Keep employees in the know on how the company is preparing for COVID-19 with a secure workforce communications platform that can reach every worker. 

Learn more about how to reduce risk with real-time crisis communications strategy. 


Related Stories:

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Why Internal Communications Is At The Center Of Digital Transformation

5 Ways To Communicate And Engage With Your Deskless Workers

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