COVID19 is officially a Ugandan problem, President Museveni addressed the nation on Thursday 18th, March 2020 about the global crisis, and for some reason, most people realized then that things were now serious. It now seems like it is spreading fast in other African countries and the ripple effects are becoming more concerning by the hour with schools, churches, clubs, public places being asked to close for 30days.
Public relations is in the relationship business, and we’re about building relationships. So I am here to ask you not to break up just because of the hard times. Comms has taken front and centre of marketing during this crisis.
“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part”.
It isn’t too late, small businesses and their owners should have the right plans in place as essential to staying relevant during these dark times and after. If you don’t, check out these recommendations to best communicate with your staff as we all fight against this pandemic and brace ourselves for the near future in mind.
1. Understand the situation.
Be akin to the preventive measures prescribed by the Ministry of Health in Uganda and the World Health Organisation – here, you have a responsibility to educate yourself with the facts - just enough information before making decisions that will impact your business. Make sure you follow the SOPs in real-time.
2. Remain calm, patient and collected.
The President’s tone while he addressed us re-assured me as a citizen and this is the same for the employers, do not panic because remember that how you communicate through your preferred channels with as much poise and grace as you can muster really does make a difference. Don’t empty your account and stack your money under the bed neither should you give it to the cryptocurrency quarks.
3. Frequent clear communications with staff.
It is very important to officially check in on your staff - this is when those WhatsApp group messages count as a routine or establish a constant cadence of communication for a status update so that they trust that you are on it and that you’re staying on it.
This is stressful for everyone - at least me, and some individuals will have certain specific needs (necessary travel, possible exposure) that would feel more comfortable speaking in a confidential, private manner because they still trust you.
4. Manage your expectations.
Refer to statics from past on impacts of a global recession around changes, demand & supply, low cash, reduced margins, fear to sell, quality and price competition or an expert to review best practices after from which your business can strategize on the long term growth approach.
It’s important that we all acknowledge what we don’t know, do our best to educate ourselves, and remain mindful of when it’s time to bring on consultants to advise you. Brands should provide reassurance to consumers and in the end, they are looking to be on their TL after it all.
5. Keep building the team.
Looking ahead to the next two months, employee morale remains an area of concern, while productivity, lowered demand, new requirements for remote working and supply chain issues will prove difficult.
The outbreak is having an impact on your staff’s view of work. Some are going to feel uncomfortable having to travel by public transport, attending a meeting of 10 people, actually, the vast majority will prefer not to attend either small or medium-sized gatherings at work.
Let’s take this Coro Coro thing seriously.
“All we need to do, to beat corona virus, we need to take more of an alkaline foods that are above the above pH level of the Virus. Some of which are: Lemon - 9.9pH Lime - 8.2pH, Avocado - 15.6pH, Garlic - 13.2pH, Mango - 8.7pH, Tangerine - 8.5pH, Pineapple - 12.7pH, Dandelion - 22.7pH, and Orange - - 9.2pH” a virology journal from April 1991.