The importance of employee communication in a crisis

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This past week, retail in South Africa has faced unforeseen, extensive challenges with the devastating looting and violence that has ravaged two of our provinces. Loss of businesses, stock, stores, and warehouses; loss of confidence and the pending loss of jobs and livelihoods are just some of the effects of this tragedy.

As many communities face looting, potential food insecurity, threats to personal safety and an overwhelming loss of property, we are reminded of the importance of keeping our communities informed, and not only by mainstream media, but also in our workplaces.

As the events of the last few days were unfolding, Adsat In-store Media Solutions launched a live radio staff communication show for the Dis-Chem Pharmacy group, a business deeply affected by these events. The Dis-Chem group implemented an in-store radio channel over a decade ago in its stores but decided to increase the impact of this channel by adding two live shows aimed at increasing morale and keeping their staff engaged and up to date with what is happening in the business. As a key player in the vaccine roll-out and an employer in the frontline from day one of the covid response, they recognised the need to communicate with – and reach out to staff – while providing a platform for employees to share their messages and successes.

Game has used their daily radio staff show for almost a decade as an integral part of their internal communication strategy. Game Live provides the power and authenticity of a real, live voice on an entrenched and trusted medium to communicate developments relevant to the business, sharing detail of programmes aimed at benefitting staff and sharing Massmart’s strategy for the stores as these events unfold. This ensures that employees feel appreciated and secure in their leadership – and in their role – particularly in times of uncertainty.

Vodacom, another client that has embraced the live radio staff show concept, put into action a daily “Moments that matter” insert on their radio staff show, designed to acknowledge the initiatives, improvements and actions of staff, managers, and consultants to ensure that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.

No retailer foresaw the events of this week but having a staff communication platform in place that provides for information to be shared timeously and in a more conversational and interactive manner goes a long way in creating an environment where staff feel empowered with the information they need to carry on, in spite of the chaos around them. Knowledge is not only power – it is comfort in times of uncertainty.

Having an in-store radio channel with a live radio staff communication show provides a real opportunity for businesses to build trust, offer support and build a greater sense of community in their organisations. Because when times are tough it is your employees that will keep your businesses alive and build them back to strength.

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