Five Business Tips For Communicating H1N1 Preparedness

Crafting the right message to your employees, customers and Board of Directors is an important step in preparing your business for the H1N1 (swine flu) pandemic. In any real-life situation that can affect the health and well-being of the people in your organization-not to mention the health of your enterprise-the right message is important. Even though “the message” is singular in term, it really is a process composed of several messages delivered in various formats to reach your intended audience with the right timing, information and tone.Below are five tips to help you stay on top of internal communication during the H1N1/swine flu pandemic. You want to convey much more than that you are simply ‘prepared.’ You want your employees and stakeholders to know that you have anticipated the impacts of the illness on your business, individuals and their families, and that you are ready. At the end of the day, it’s about building trust and confidence. Think about these things:Educate: By now, most have heard a lot about the H1N1 virus. There has not been a shortage of coverage on the evening news. We’ve found that the information may not always be accurate, however, and important information may get lost in sensationalized communications. If you find fear of the pandemic is a problem, then knowledge is the solution. It should be delivered in a straightforward and factual manner, without an alarming tone.Open and honest: Your message should not be complicated, and you do not need to explain every element of your pandemic plan. Generally, employees just want to see that you have all the bases covered. If you create a feedback loop, employees will feel empowered to respond with questions. This will bolster confidence and allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of employee concerns about pandemic impacts.People-centered: Stress that you are concerned for all the individuals that make up your organization-as well as their families. Include relevant home health information that includes resources related to vaccinations, home care, and the most up-to-date local/regional news. Instill confidence that the employer has their best interest in mind.Actionable: You cannot address all the elements of your message in one burst of communication. Since the first wave of the pandemic, you have probably already internally addressed many of the points mentioned here. Simply deliver short messages that address key points or relevant company issues.Targeted: Choose the best resource to deliver your message, such as text-messages, emails, posters, etc. Be creative. Remember, too, that not all employees will have access to computers at home or in the workplace. Communication is not effective if it never reaches your intended audience. Whether the impetus comes from human resources or other managers, it is important not only that you are prepared to face H1N1, but that your team knows you are prepared. Take the time to communicate the right messages at the right time.