Updated: Mar 26
As the spread of COVID-19 has changed the face of the world in a matter of weeks, businesses and the people who keep them running have had to learn how to quickly adapt. Last week, we offered tips around building an emergency preparedness plan that keeps your frontline in the loop during a crisis. Today, we’re sharing real-world examples of how teams in the food service, hospitality, and healthcare industries have done just that.
Rapid, full-scale communication
With information changing by the hour and teams distributed across different shifts, stores, and sometimes even states, reaching everyone at once with the same cohesive message is paramount.
Some of our customers have told us that Crew’s Broadcast feature helps them send messages to every team member in the organization and quickly see which employees have read the message and/or reacted to it. Critically, these messages are read-only: they appear in a special group called “Announcements,” where no one aside from Admins can send a message, keeping official information where it needs to be for maximum reach.
Sharon Smith Aarsand of Aarsand & Co, a Taco Bell/KFC franchise with locations across four different states, told us, "I’m using Crew to post messages under Announcements that will reach our entire team at one time. We know that most of us pay attention to our phones so that fact helps assure us that our folks are receiving our message."
In addition, this feature allows Admins to remind any users that have not yet read a specific announcement. With one click, Admins can resend a push notification to employees’ devices, ensuring critical messages are not missed.
Updated training and processes
It’s never been more important for team members to be aware of proper protocols and processes, especially as they relate to hygiene, sanitation, and safety. At ES-O-EN, a Taco Bell franchisee with nearly 30 locations, they’ve kept these critical processes top of mind for employees by sharing reminders on proper hand-washing technique - for example, washing for at least 20 seconds.
As you can see, this encourages employees to use elbow bumps rather than handshakes or high fives, reinforcing the need for minimizing contact between employees.
Getting creative and crowd-sourcing ideas
As much of the United States (and the world) withdraws into quarantine, staying connected while physically distant is just one of many new challenges requiring us to think creatively about solutions. This works best when organizations maintain open lines of communications to help surface and exchange solutions and ideas from all parts of the company.
Affinity Living Group has also embraced technology as a problem-solving tool. For example, after one division saw how helpful it was to keep their residents connected to their families and the outside world by offering video calls between residents and their loved ones, the rest of the organization followed suit.
Encourage your team members to think outside the box as troubleshooting new issues becomes a daily - and sometimes hourly - part of their job descriptions. When a creative solution is suggested and implemented, make sure to not only recognize the ingenuity of your employees with a shout out and Gold Star on Crew, but also share with the rest of your Organization.
Keeping values top of mind
When jumping into emergency prep and crisis management, it can be easy to let ‘non-critical’ communications fall by the wayside. In addition to emphasizing proper hygiene and safety precautions for their staff and customers, ES-O-EN also uses Crew to remind their employees that at the end of the day, even in times like these, it’s also about serving ‘fast, fresh, delicious (and safe) food with a smile.”
58% of workers report that company culture and values are critical components of picking and staying at a job, so don’t forget to ensure that the values that guide your business during normal times are even more present and top of mind during this crisis.
Most importantly, tell and show your employees that you appreciate the incredible work they’re doing - the COVID-19 outbreak takes the idea of being on the frontline to a whole new meaning, and their efforts are not unnoticed by the communities they are serving.
Harps Foods, a grocery chain with 87 locations across four different states has not only offered discounted meals to their 4500+ hardworking employees, but also recognized their incredible work in unimaginable circumstances.
What have been your best tips for communicating and keeping your team on the same page during COVID-19? Share with us on Twitter!
Image courtesy of STEPHEN WRIGHT