COVID-19 legacy: the value of communications 

The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many PR staff to brush up on their crisis communications skills. Over the past three weeks we’ve spoken at several webinars on the topic; the questions and conversations have been lively, intelligent and creative. But one theme has run through them all: permission.

Many communications teams run on the bare minimum of one or two staff. Faced with the biggest crisis in our lifetimes, these people are now stepping up to the big task of ensuring vital messages reach colleagues and customers.

The norm for many organisations is to work within a hierarchy of clearance, permission and signing-off. The fast pace of a crisis doesn’t allow for this – empowerment, clarity of role and delegated authority are what’s needed. And this takes some getting used to. Some people have expressed relief that their views are being sought and listened to. Others are coming to terms with the weight of decisions they are now expected to make on their own.

We learn a lot during a time of crisis, and we try out new ways of working. Some of those ways stick. A greater empowerment for communications staff – and a better understanding of the value of those teams – should be one of the legacies from this sad time.

 

If you’re interested in developing your communications skills, contact Hough Bellis to see how we can help at Hello@houghbellis.co.uk  

Sue Fox