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As coronavirus continues to spread, organisations are ramping up their response and preparedness for the impact it may ultimately have on them. Internal communication is a critical element of this work. Here are some immediate tips to guide internal communicators.

Establish clear links with your contingency team
In organisations of any scale, there is likely to be a contingency team responsible for monitoring Government advice, anticipating potential impacts on business and ensuring the wellbeing of staff and customers.
As an internal communicator, you should have clear line of sight to this group – ideally as part of it, or at least through an appropriate representative. Either way, you should be positioned to offer expert advice on internal communication handling as the situation develops.
Keep up to date with Government and public health advice
Your contingency group should be monitoring this anyway, but internal communicators should stay one step ahead by tracking advice from the authorities and considering proactively how this may be communicated within the organisation (in line with your contingency group’s plans, of course).
This may include referring employees who are concerned about infection to official and expert medical sources such as GOV.UK and the NHS.

Help the organisation understand staff concerns and questions
With much uncertainty around how the situation will play out, your staff are likely to be concerned about potential impacts on health, earnings and even job security.
By listening to staff now and ensuring that questions are raised to the right level and answered as clearly as possible, you will help ensure that frustrations and fears are limited.
You may consider using your usual feedback channels for this, eg. ‘always on’ surveys or employee forums, or instigating new ones.
Maintain a calm tone
One important influence that internal communicators can have now is working with leaders and managers to ensure the right tone is present throughout any communication on coronavirus. It is important that communications are clear, simple, directive when needed, but above all that they exude calm in a situation where so much of the media coverage is sensationalistic. Our factsheet on making complex messages understandable may help with achieving clarity.
As the situation develops, the IoIC will keep updating our advice to internal communicators and signposting relevant member resources.
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