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Furloughed employees? ‘Keep communicating’

The coronavirus isn’t just a healthcare problem; it’s increasingly becoming an economic problem too, as more and more people are ordered to stay home, and organizations must temporarily close locations. To avoid unemployment rates skyrocketing, countries like the United Kingdom and The Netherlands stimulate granting leave of absence instead of laying people off. These measures let people keep their jobs but offer new challenges for employers. It becomes a lot harder to reach those employees via the usual communication channels such as company e-mail or intranet, especially in industries where employees don’t have a company laptop or PC. Organizations still need to keep these people engaged in their company; these employees need to feel they haven’t been forgotten. But how do you keep communicating with furloughed employees? 

‘We’re worried about how to reach our staff,’ a high school principal explains to Netpresenter. With schools closed, part of their staff is at home, unable to execute typical daily tasks. It’s a problem many organizations can relate to at this moment. The school’s communication with their staff at home, via e-mail, is static and unilateral, the principal describes. ‘Yet, there’s a need for communication channels that approach physical, social interaction. Now that canteens and staff rooms are closed, and people can no longer occupy a physical spot in the organization, we want them to remain part of the organization virtually. We want to keep them informed. This way, the momentarily unused potential remains employable and is kept active, eager to get back to work later’.

Keep in touch with your community

Frank Hoen, CEO at Netpresenter, understands the principal’s concern: ‘A community like an organization or a school doesn’t stop existing when you can no longer be together physically. However, you must make sure to keep communicating. Because if you don’t, any community will eventually seize to exist. As an employer, staying in touch with your employees and keeping them informed is essential, especially during this time of crisis. Show your staff that you still care about them and that you’re happy they’re still with you. Communication is crucial.’

Multichannel solution

Central to the success of communication is the ability to reach everyone and bring messages to people’s attention in multiple ways. To accomplish that, Netpresenter offers an interactive multichannel solution. It allows you to deliver information to people in real-time via TV screens, laptops, and smartphones. In turn, people can respond to and comment on these messages. People who are actively working from home can be reached via software on their company laptops. Company news can also be published directly in a News & Safety App on smartphones. This feature makes getting company news to employees who are at home, unable to perform their daily tasks, a lot easier. The App also offers a solution to industries in which regular communication channels such as e-mail, whiteboards, and newsletters have been eliminated: it enables organizations to bring information to their people actively. By using push notifications, organizations can even raise more attention to the most important news, so employees don’t miss out on any information anymore.

Old-school text message

Sending text messages, simple and old-school? Texting has now become a better way to communicate with your staff than ever. You can send text messages quickly and safely to any mobile phone. Text messages enable even employees who don’t own a smartphone to receive urgent corporate information. Additional advantage: employees don’t have to do anything to receive information – a text message automatically appears on their mobile device. Every message is a sign of life, a connection to the organization to which employees hope to return soon. It’s a reminder, meaning: hey, we still care about you! And we’re glad you’re still waiting for us!

‘Keep communicating’

Hoen emphasizes the importance of communicating with your staff at home: ‘These are people who really just want to get back to work. The fastest way to dissociate your employees from your organization? A lack of communication with people who are at home, furloughed. If this happens, you can quickly worsen a crisis. Therefore, you must keep communicating, even if you don’t have anything new to share with your staff. Show employees that you still exist and that they still have an organization and a job to return to.’ Keeping in touch should be your motto. This way, you’re not only keeping everyone on board, but you’re also keeping your people motivated to get back to work once these insecure times are behind us.

Does your organization have a hard time staying in touch with your employees during the Corona Crisis? We’re happy to help you stay connected to your workforce, and love to discuss the best solution for your organization. Are you in a hurry to improve communication with your staff? We are ready to roll out your News & Safety App for your organization within 24 hours. Don’t waste valuable time; start today!

About the author

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Bente Pieters

Bente is, besides a language purist, a communication wizard. She knows all internal communication ins and outs and likes to share these in impeccable language. In her spare time, you can find her at the gym or reading books at home.