Is your phone ringing yet? The call might have come from Health & Safety, HR, or even a concerned employee. But soon, somebody will be in touch with Internal Comms about doing something about Ebola.
I led internal comms during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. At times I felt that my role was not simply my comms skills but actually to be a voice of calm and balance when many stakeholders were running into something resembling panic.
And balance is the key principle here. Your efforts will need to reflect the level of risk, so clearly if your business operates in west Africa, you’ll already be into crisis mode. For the rest of us in Swansea, Sterling, Southampton or Sheffield, our job at this stage of the outbreak is careful considered comms.
So here is my guide to managing comms during a national or worldwide health scare. Download my outline comms plan which I hope gives you a framework to tailor for your own business and for any concern, from the current Ebola outbreak to swine flu, bird flu, or foot and mouth.
In the plan you’ll find:
- Communications principles to make sure your activity is in line with actual risk levels, and ‘leaves you somewhere to go’ when risk and media coverage ramp up.
- Outline key messages by priority audiences and at increasing risk levels.
- Sample FAQs to get you started.
Download the plan here: Ebola comms plan
- Rachel Miller on crisis communication: AllThingsIC on crisis comms
- Headlines Communications on the ebola internal comms challenge.