Why employers, employees must be on the same wavelength as companies are reopening
As the pace of reopening after covid19 is closed accelerates in TT, businesses of all kinds should be finalizing their reopening strategies. For those who have not given it enough thought, communication between all the groups that create a successful economic and social unity must become an indispensable part of reopening.
A well-planned and implemented communications program for a safe and successful reopening will avoid clamor and unproductive conflict.
To begin with, those responsible for the reopening process will need to create clear and frequent messages about new interactions in the workplace. Already, several organizations and employers have taken the position that only employees, including workers and managers, who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to enter company premises.
If the leaders of an organization have come to this conclusion, the details of the organization must be communicated clearly and effectively. Supporting such communication must be the justification for adopting this approach, i.e. preventing any possibility of the wild spread of covid19 and its variants among employees and customers.
Additionally, it should be reassuring to everyone in the workplace that the government and other jurisdictions around the world have already adopted the policy that only vaccinated workers will be allowed to return to work. This policy was adopted with the advice of international, regional and local health experts.
In addition, communication must take place before employees and customers reach the front door. It will be a real embarrassment for the employers and employees to argue this matter out there.
Management must also decide whether it will allow employees who are unwilling to be vaccinated to work from home. Such a decision must, of course, be based on whether remote working will disrupt business and contribute to the operations of the company.
The business establishment should also have a clear policy on the conditions under which people – employees, customers, suppliers – will be allowed to enter the business and apply these policies consistently.
If the norm is that people should be vaccinated, wear masks, disinfect their hands, and keep their distance from others, then these protocols should apply to everyone. Most importantly, these standards need to be communicated to everyone and across different platforms.
Therefore, the company must also develop ways of communicating with customers. Whether communication occurs in signage or having someone at the door to communicate with customers about requirements, the need is to publicize the policies that have been put in place to protect all stakeholders in the business. .
It may not strike some employers that they too must adopt all the protocols that they ask of their employees. As I write, it is very encouraging that Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis has met with employers and union representatives to develop policies on immunization and the wearing of protective masks on the job. workplace.
Either way, thereafter, it must be communicated fully and effectively in offices and places of business.
Now let me clarify that this type of comprehensive communication requires interaction, agreement, disagreement, resolution, and understanding. Adopting a communications program can seem like a joke for employers. However, the potential for disruptive costs over time will be much greater.
Of course, too, employers and employees may want to avoid ongoing episodes and processes of communication. But as we are aware, the pandemic is dynamic and changing all the time. This means that the initial communication processes will have to continue for some time.
We offer here some tools and communication process around everyone’s return to work. First, consider producing a simple introductory video to show employees how the company is working to make any changes necessary to keep them safe on the job. Using a good smartphone can do the trick.
Second, create messages that will connect employees and management to keep them informed. Think about the issues they will face and make sure they are factored into the communication process. Setting up a simple question-and-answer communication tool can help promote understanding.
A communications strategy is essential to foster a new and enlightened environment and will make the difference between controversial success and failure.
Lisa-Ann Joseph is Managing Director of Reputation Management Caribbean, a public relations and crisis communications agency. Recently, she launched a training division, the Institute for Reputation Management. For any questions or comments, contact her at [email protected]