Crisis Communications – 7 Ways an Employee App Can Help

Lisa Ardill

Content Editor at Workvivo

25 Jan 2024

crisis communications.

There’s never been a more important time for employees to be kept informed of what is happening and to stay connected with each other. The COVID-19 pandemic had a huge impact on all our lives and changed the way we work. Many of us are now working remotely, sometimes for the first time. Frontline staff are facing extreme operational challenges due to staff shortages. It’s a challenging time for us all and technology has proven critical in allowing work to continue.

Using an app that’s accessible from a mobile device (like Workvivo!) has proved particularly important where a significant proportion of staff are deskless or disconnected, and don’t necessarily have work email addresses. All employees need an essential, trusted channel for workforce communications.

With that in mind, let’s explore the different ways that tools like Workvivo help organizations with crisis communications.

1. Keeping employees up to date in real time

Organizations need to be highly adaptable to new circumstances very quickly, and it’s absolutely critical that employees are able to keep up to date in real time via a trusted, authoritative source. Being able to receive news and access reliable information through an employee app means there is one source of truth; this helps eliminate confusion, reduce stress and drive confidence. It also mitigates the spread of misinformation and rumors that can so often happen during times of upheaval

As well as providing news and resources, leaders can host Q&As for employees to voice their concerns and get responses directly, whether the topic is HR, protective equipment, IT support, or something else.

2. Providing effective leadership

During times of crisis, it’s critical that organizations demonstrate leadership. An employee communication app provides a direct way for a CEO and the senior leadership team to communicate with all employees; it means leaders can actually lead. 
More often than not, particularly with frontline staff, layers of hierarchy and a lack of proximity create distance and disconnect.

But when senior leaders use digital communication channels accessible from an employee’s mobile device, they can post authentic and personal messages and videos that appeal directly to staff, providing support and encouragement. These personal messages resonate more deeply than traditional corporate communications.

3. Keeping operations moving

One of the most challenging aspects of a crisis is how to keep normal operations moving in difficult circumstances. This is especially challenging for teams who are mainly used to working side by side in a physical space but can now only interact remotely. In the new reality of distributed and hybrid working, teams need to be able to use crisis communications efficiently to co-ordinate activities.

Using Workvivo, teams can work closely together in public or private spaces for communication and collaboration.  

4. Providing connection and community

Working remotely during a crisis can be lonely and stressful. An employee app provides some degree of human connection during the working day and helps foster a sense of community.

Having channels where people can post about non-working topics, support each other with tips and tricks and perhaps provide a little humor are great ideas. It’s important to create spaces that allow employees to socialize; you could, for example, set up a group dedicated to ‘Pet Interruptions of the Month’!

5. Keeping morale up

Employee communication apps with social features really come into their own when it comes to morale. They’re the perfect place for colleagues to share positive updates, inspiring stories, and lighter moments that can help others get through the day.

There are lots of ways to do this with an employee experience app like Workvivo; employees can post a simple update visible to everyone in the activity feed or send a specific shout-out that celebrates the actions of individuals or a team.

For example, during the pandemic an employee at Workvivo client Kent was able to post a positive update about being able to source a shipment of surgical masks. These little stories and updates can play a big role in showing that the heart of an organization is still beating, and that life goes on.

6. Providing an employee pulse check

Leaders really need to listen to their employees during a crisis.

Some questions they should ask include:

  • What are the challenges they are facing in the new situation? 
  • How are they feeling? 
  • What can organizations do to support employees?

Two-way conversations and active listening help guide actions and give employees confidence in their leaders. An internal comms app like Workvivo has a number of options to collect employee feedback. Polls can give a rapid snapshot of opinion and mood while a direct request for comments through a leadership blog or post can illicit more detailed ideas and feedback.

Employees can even upload videos with their thoughts, and analytics can show the kinds of topics trending across conversations in your social network, which is a useful indicator of the issues employees are facing.

7. Rebuilding for the future

This crisis will end, but when you’re in the midst of it, it can feel like things will never ‘return to normal’.

Having an internal comms and employee experience app is a must-have tool for organizations and employees to rebuild and readjust; effective communication and collaboration allow us all to work together and stay on the same page, rebuilding for a better future.

Working together in crisis communications

Beating a crisis means everyone working together. Having clear information and an easy way to communicate makes all the difference.


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