Some inquisitive people at odgersberndtson.com have quizzed Caoimhe Buckley, Director of Corporate Affairs, Fyffes, about good crisis leadership in the face of COVID-19.
What does “leadership during times of crisis” mean to you as a communications professional?
Leadership during times of crisis, for me means putting employee engagement first. For two reasons. Firstly, the performance of any organisation is dependent on the engagement levels of its people. Secondly, because employees are the best brand ambassadors.
If we want our people to take on new measures, such as those imposed by COVID-19, then engagement is critical. Successful performance is always determined by employee engagement and how connected a person feels to their employer organisation. A crisis can destabilise that connection.
"It’s important to increase two-way communication - to listen and to share information frequently, even if only to say, ‘thank you’."
You must address employees’ concerns and acknowledge uncertainty. Providing people with things they can do to empower themselves can help. With COVID-19, that has been the actions we all need to take to keep the people we work with, and ourselves, as safe as possible.
"The Edelman Trust Barometer tells us that people believe employees over NGOs or the media."
That’s another good reason for communicating with your people and giving them the ability to share their stories externally.