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Crowdsourcing a Powerful Tool for Compassionate Crisis Management

By Joe Leonard / Miranda Media & PR

How should companies communicate internally the challenges they face with the current COVID-19 pandemic? We recommend be up front, transparent and direct, even if the news is negative; be compassionate with actions and words; and try and leverage the best ideas of your employees to navigate the path forward.

It’s no secret that the majority of firms are facing increased uncertainty and negative economic impacts. So, when leaders are silent about these challenges, the lack of transparency increases suspicion and stress for employees. To help avoid this, don’t issue confusing and insincere statements like, “we put our employees first”. Instead, be clear about the problems facing the firm and invite employees to be part of the solution.

Crowdsourcing ideas from within your company is a great way to pull insights from those that are the most informed, but might not have the platform or incentives to speak up.  Aside from generating new ideas, it shows that you care about the opinions of your employees and it can lead to stronger buy-in for the initiatives you end up proposing.

Centrica, a global British energy company, recently carried out a successful crowdsourcing campaign that led to an estimated savings of £5 million. They encouraged employees to post and discuss their ideas via a Yammer campaign called, ‘Make A Good Idea Count’. It turned out that three employees independently came up with the same idea, which was to allow customers to text Centrica back when they had received a missed call or text message from them. They implemented the change in stages and estimate that is has led to £5 million in cost savings and productivity improvement.

In addition to creative cost saving measures, taking real steps to help with employee’s health during this time can lead to employee satisfaction and productivity. Most companies have already taken action in this regard. According to a study by Garner, by March 2020, 68% of organizations had introduced wellness benefits for employee’s mental and emotional well-being to help them with the COVID-19 crisis.

Remember that leading with empathy and compassion will bring the best out of individuals during a crisis. In difficult times, most people want to contribute even more to help their colleagues and their organization. This type of leadership will not be forgotten down the road and the organization will come out stronger than before.