The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for transformation and organisational change. Companies with clear purpose and vision, backed by business strategy and open communication are earning the trust of their stakeholders and moving ahead, while others are scrambling to keep pace.
Our series of Corporate Affairs webinars are proving the value of communication during the COVID crisis, and our latest panel — featuring professionals representing the rail, sport and racing and industrial sectors — highlights again, that communication has been at the forefront of facilitating collaboration and change during these uncertain times.
And in the centre of uncertainty, is trust.
Which is why we focused on two questions for our panellists — how do you continue to build the trust of your stakeholders while dealing with the economic and operational fallout of the pandemic? And how did your internal communication function and channels change as a result of COVID-19?
While the responses to these questions were, of course, unique to each organisation and sector (see highlights from each panellist at the end of the blog), some common themes emerged:
- Time and time again, values will win — reflecting and staying true to your organisational values as the core drivers for your business pave the way for communicating to internal teams, stakeholders and customers. Understanding the need for a holistic approach guarantees trust.
- Do not leave a vacuum — communicating regularly and consistently should be the focus during this time, and taking the time to develop a tailored response for each team is critical in gaining cut-through. This should also be supported by your leaders remaining visible.
- Communication engenders confidence — trust starts from the inside-out and, if you get it right, will organically flow to your external audiences. Competence and confidence in communication instils trust.
See the video below for the full webinar, as well insights into employee engagement and maintaining trust during this unprecedented time.
Short on time? We’ve summarised even more from the video here:
Mary Collier — General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Policy, Racing Queensland
By accepting that the operational environment needed to change, we found that being agile, communicative, vigilant and repeating that process allows for proper co-operation.
Paul Cronin — Head of Corporate Affairs, Aurizon
Not only do we need to stay abreast of all government precautions as an organisation but, focus on and provide mental health and other support services to employees.
Meredith Wilson — Executive General Manager People & Sustainability (WIS transition), Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety
Finding purpose helps to define clear roles for teams and customer impact, we have to do more than what’s usually necessary.
Janet Houen — Group Manager of Organisational and Change Communication, Rowland
We don’t know what is next — but it is important to learn from what has happened, redefine, articulate and use it as a strategic reset.
Stuart Waddington — Head of Tx, Rowland
We can people our way out of the situation — we can do anything as leaders to get us out of this hyperactive change scenario; pivot and continue.
If you have a topic for a future Corporate Affairs Discussion hosted by Rowland, please get in touch.
Missed Rowland’s last Corporate Affairs conversation, COVID-19: A new wave of digital disruption or a new normal? Click here.