11 August 2020
Communicating during a crisis

Claire Baigent

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in many ways, and in particular, the way we work. Businesses and organisations across the globe have felt the impact and have had to adapt and innovate in order to continue functioning.

The Communications Team at MFT found itself in a similar position, following the government directive for people to work from home or remotely.

With the situation rapidly changing and evolving and finding ourselves in a position which none of us had experienced before, we needed to find a way to continue to communicate effectively with staff, many of who would now be working off-site. This made using some of our usual channels difficult, as staff would not be able to access them.

The team began to develop the idea of a daily COVID-19 bulletin for staff and designed a template which mimicked the national branding. This helped to ensure that our colleagues had the current information as quickly as possible which they could then digest in their own time and also act as a prompt for team meetings.

Feedback has been extremely positive and the team has received many complimentary comments, however, to ensure it was achieving the desired aim, we carried out a survey at the start and end of the peak COVID period. Some of the key results were as follows.

Original survey in March:

  • 100 per cent of staff members surveyed said that they had read the bulletin
  • The bulletin was rated as either excellent, very good, good by 77 per cent of those surveyed
  • The overall communications about COVID-19 was rated excellent, very good, good by 75 per cent of those surveyed

We also welcomed comments on what content staff would like including and did our best to use these topics for future bulletins.

We ran a follow up survey in July and the results were:

Follow up survey in July:

  • 99 per cent said they had read the bulletin
  • The bulletin was rated as either excellent, very good, good by 94 per cent of those surveyed
  • The overall communications about COVID-19 was rated excellent, very good, good by 92 per cent of those surveyed

As the situation has evolved and some sort of ‘normality’ has set in, we have put the bulletin on hold and will resume should the need arise.

It’s certain that producing a bulletin in this way has become a staple channel for communication and helped the team enormously in ensuring that colleagues got the correct information in a clear, concise and timely manner.

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