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New Poppulo webinar: How to help leaders communicate like they need to during COVID-19

The founder of Redefining Communications, Jenni Field, recently had a conversation relating to business leadership and COVID-19 that was quite different to what many of us will have read or heard about.

“The exec team wants to get back to the office as soon as possible.”

“Why? You can all work at home.”

“I think the CEO is struggling with having authority on video calls.”

It gave yet another interesting insight into the myriad challenges CEOs and executives have had to come to terms with over the past few months.

From the most junior office or shop floor worker to the highest executives, workplace norms and expectations have been completely upturned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The crucial difference for CEOs being that there is an even greater imperative on them to lead their organization’s through the crisis, and to be highly visible and accessible while they do it.

Executive communications: Helping your executives provide strong, effective leadership in times of transitionWatch webinar

As Kristin Brownstone, director of ROI Communication stresses: “How leaders lead during this time will be remembered for years by their employees”.

But as Kristin and Alyssa Hagan, Associate Director of Internal Communications & Engagement at Encompass Health, will discuss at a forthcoming Poppulo webinar, these are times when leaders may need help to deliver on their employees’ expectations.

That’s where Internal Communication and HR professionals come in. They are perfectly placed to help leaders understand what different groups of employees across the organization are feeling, what their fears are, and how to effectively address these issues through visible communication.

There’s been a lot of commentary around what constitutes essential services during COVID-19, but Brownstone believes that in the context of the current crisis “communications is an essential service for employees”.

People CRAVE communication during times of crisis and employees trust their leaders more than any other source of information on COVID-19. It’s our job to make sure leaders understand this and that now is not the time to go dark. — Kristin Brownstone

This is something Alyssa Hagan knows all about, having led the communications strategy of an organization in a sector hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic, healthcare.

During the Poppulo webinar on May 28th, she will outline how she worked with the Encompass Health leadership team to get the information they needed to share, in the right tone and the right way, through the right channels, to their 40,000+ employees in 37 states and Puerto Rico, in the rapidly changing early days of the crisis.

She will highlight the role leadership communication has played through the crisis, from the early uncertain days where the priority was on establishing a source of truth for employees, keeping them informed about how the company was responding, providing them with reassurance about their safety – on issues such as procuring PPE, for example – and acknowledging their emotions.

Hagan will also outline how leadership adapted to and leveraged the communication tools best suited to engaging a workforce that is 78% non-wired, including how she worked with Encompass Health’s President & CEO Mark Tarr to very successfully re-imagine their latest Town Hall meetings, and the effective use of engaging video by Barb Jacobsmeyer, EVP, President of Inpatient Hospitals, and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Elissa Charbonneau.

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