A Covid Response Plan for Everyone
Back in March of 2019 when the fear and uncertainty over COVID was spiking sharply, Coinbase was one of the first companies to design and make their COVID response plans public for everyone to use and apply.
Their head of communications, Daisy Linden, also had some timely advice on assuring people, that even now, serves as an excellent guide many months later. For Coinbase, their Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) leads the response with major contributions from operational stakeholders throughout the company (Finance, HR, IT, etc.)
Be Transparent as to “Why these policies”?
Again, your goal should be a simple, straightforward explanation as to why you’re taking these steps. Not only will it put people at ease, but it allows you to set the positive tone needed to assure employees that you’re embracing the challenge and taking their health seriously.
Set a Communications Schedule. How Coinbase did it
Coinbase has a publicly scheduled townhall, e-mail communications, and its own slack channel. Setting expectations and keeping lines of communication open helps ensure that no matter where people are in their concern, they have accessible forums to engage and inform.
Provide Trusted, Verified Information
People will find responses to COVID ranging from science to conspiracy and every combination in between. Rhetoric and misinformation are significant. Stay on message and reference and cite reliable sources in your FAQs, responses, and planning. (WHO, CDC, local government, research hospitals, etc..)
Overcommunicating Isn’t a Bad Perception
People recognize these are not normal times and will tend to appreciate the work being put in to keep people informed, safe, and productive.
Be Nice. Demonstrate Compassion
Some employees have been and remain worried. Most of us can cite someone we know that has literally not left the house since COVID hit. Different office locations must be able to have flexibility in setting their own work arrangements while being cognizant of collaboration with other groups. People will be revealing their personal medical information that shows they are someone near them is in a high-risk group. It’s going to be awkward for them and you. Take every step you can to be flexible in alternate work arrangements.
Be Bold. Set Expectations for Employees About the Months Ahead
These are stressful, and personally challenging times. Be candid with your teams about when and if things will get back to “normal” and what that even means. Listen to public health experts about key recommendations. If it’s looking like alternate arrangements will be in place for at least 6 months – say so. Help your teams prepare for the long-haul, and engage them to help you determine how everyone can be successful continuing to work this way for an extended period.
It’s About Balance
Between the fear of COVID – for themselves and others – don’t let silence fill the void. In the absence of steady, reliable information, people will often go to a negative place and fill the void with their worst assumptions. Try to find the balance, and your own voice, in being candid without expressing hopelessness.
Things Change. Be Ready to Change Too
Change fatigue is very real and compounds the stress of our COVID response. There can be a tendency to dig in, and cling to your best-laid plans because one more change just feels overwhelming. Acknowledge that. Seek strength in others – especially your fellow leaders and employees. Choose to be strong together.
Vantage Point HR knows that COVID is presenting exceptional challenges to organizations of all types. Our diverse client base has helped us develop a wide-ranging set of tools, solutions, and positive outcomes for all kinds of workplace situations and hurdles. How can we help?