Posted by Allan Steinmetz on 11 May 2020

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The current situation will not continue forever. Everyone I know is hopeful that our circumstances will change soon, and at that point we will, joyfully, return to normal.

Re-establishing normalcy, getting back to work, and ensuring productivity will not be easy. It will require a systemic, process-driven approach, much like a change management program. Not since the Great Depression have, we experienced the number of unemployed people in the world.

While people have been laid off, put on furlough, or received temporary reduced wages and pay cuts, they have been formulating opinions and attitudes regarding their current and former employers. Imagine and consider what your employees will say about the company when this is all finished. Do you want them to express appreciation and gratitude for how they were treated? Or will they express how they were treated unfairly, and dealt with poorly?"

What is needed is a repeatable, trainable, and coachable framework of change management and transparent communications that inspires employee engagement. Our colleagues at Inward have been working diligently to formulate a framework and process based on best practices and our 20 years of experience in this field. Establishing a strong internal employee, purpose driven brand narrative, and positioning is imperative. What we have created is a seven-step comprehensive framework from assessing readiness and identifying stages of preparedness to ultimately recognizing the heroes and strong contributors inside the organization when this is pandemic is at last behind us.

The seven steps are as follows:

  1. Assessment and readiness, identification of the stages of crisis - This includes five sequential elements: forming a cross company task force, measuring the current communication performance, assessing your readiness and ability to communicate, spokespeople identification and training, and a review of all internal media outlet and resources.
  2. Message development - This step covers message/narrative architecture with an explanation of how it’s done, addressing the rumor mill and fears, WIIFM (what’s in it for me), developments of tone and manner, emotional and empathetic narratives, expectations and timelines, purpose driven “WHY” and brand values, designs to boot engagement, and support performance.
  3. Communication cascade and execution - Here, we discuss a structured plan and timetable for updates, systemic responses (that are calm, orderly, factual and transparent), cascading tactics from headquarters, to region, to division to office and department, spokespeople identification preparations (including FAQs), resource utilization and optimizations (using variety of tactics), and structured plan and timetables with updates.
  4. Dialogue feedback communications loops - Feedback processes (surveys) and measurement to ensure employee dialogue, analysis of findings and real-time reporting, accountabilities and routine communications, process for regaining internal momentum with key audiences, maintaining management visibility, and modifying and adjusting messages/narratives.
  5. Revisions while addressing concerns and presenting a new vision/purpose - This phase covers topics such as acknowledgment of feedback and suggestions with ways of improving communications, owning the message and being in the moment, solutions that demonstrate concerns and fears, recognition of the heroes within the organization for their selfless activities, adjusting expectations and providing flexibility, hope and transparency/show that you care, and finally providing clarity and clear expectations for the present situation and the future while reinforcing the core values and your brand purpose.
  6. Getting back to business-the new normal-Creating the new message and narrative, addressing the obvious questions such as physical workspace benefits and compensation, talent recruitment, development and career growth, incentives and making up for lost times, monitoring of engagement scores, recruitment efforts and loyalty factors, and finally measuring employee understanding of the facts, emotions and fears.
  7. Recognition and rewards - After completing the six previous sequential steps, there should be occasions to celebrate. How should a company identify people who made a difference by providing extraordinary performance for the community, their peers and the company, rewarding selflessness, making recognition and rewards of focal point of ongoing communications and spotlight it for special occasions?

The framework and processes are all about sequentially achieving effective change; acceptance; momentum of spirit; enthusiasm; and engagement among your past, present, and future employees of the company, so they all support you and become effective brand champions and ambassadors.

How you treat and communicate with your former and current employees now will have a great impact on your reputation and brand in the future. When your employees become the focal point in the center of everything, decision-making, actions, and recovery will take a different form.

Kick start your back to business and new normal. And request a copy of our seven step approach “GETTING BACK TO BUSINESS” by calling me at 617-308-3017 or sending me an email at ASTEINMETZ@INWARDCONSULTING.COM.  This report reflects best practices, change management, of building employee momentum, crisis communications, message architecture and inspiring stakeholders, and reinforcing the brand purpose and values.

Finally, all of us at Inward hope that you are coping with this unique situation with authenticity, clarity and brand purpose. Be healthy. Stay safe. And keep your distance.

From all of us at Inward we wish you safety and health. 

Give us a call at 617-308-3017 or reach out –  at

Allan Steinmetz CEO