If your business has been shut down for the last few months, or you had a sharp decrease in productivity due to low demand, employee safety, or other concerns or challenge, it might be time to consider how to manage more than just the logistics you face when you ramp up again. In fact, there are a myriad of things to consider when re-ramping your business, one of which is how and when to communicate to your base.
Have your customers heard from you during the slowdown/shutdown? Your suppliers? Have you briefly explained your situation and plans from here? Do they know when they will be able to fully count on your support again? What has changed—or will change—moving forward, that they need to know about? What do employees need to be aware of? Do they know your plans to reopen?
These are just some of the questions you can ask yourself as you get set to reopen or get back to full capacity. I’m not suggesting you inundate your customers, partners and suppliers with long explanations detailing your “virus story.” I’m suggesting planned, appropriate scheduling of communications to your base about your status—both externally and internally—both broadly and in a targeted approach. Some may need to hear from you more than others. And some may need direct communications, to just them, regarding their relationship with you.
Re-Ramping Looks Different for Everybody
Understand that this very short time has seemed like a very long time to most. And the effects on everyone else and their businesses vary from your own experience. So, while returning to operations is going to look different for every company, people will need to understand “What happens now?” and “How will this go?” as far as you and they are concerned. In addition, there are deeply seeded sentiments, political views and many differing opinions about how and when businesses should “get back to normal.”
Be Mindful of Your Messaging
It’s important to carefully consider all the communications that emanate from your company over the next several months when re-ramping your business. Consider the “optics” of each message. Try to avoid being blind or “tone deaf” to the ongoing and fluid situation we all face. Be open, honest and transparent, and set realistic business ramp goals. Be sensitive to your customers’ business situations and your partners’ operations. Don’t just jump into typical, hardcore advertising. Bring your marketing program back slowly and methodically, and take care with the messaging and the visual signals you are sending.
Communicate regularly with employees. Help them see the plans and the way forward. Provide a sense of optimism and give them something to once again work toward. Empower your management teams to have regular meetings with their business units and staff members. Ensure good and safe practices. And above all, be empathetic to the stresses and worries they have all been under and may still carry.
This cannot be a “turn the lights back on and everyone get back to work” sort of approach. You have an opportunity for people to “get back to work”—something many desire. Let the work be therapeutic, if it can. Don’t turn it back into “a job.” They may resent that. Help them work back into a routine and let them know you care about them and their work environment.
In the end, there is a way back, even though “back” may look differently than what you are used to. Work with your base to find your new equilibrium. It won’t happen right away, but with the right approach, and in consideration of all things relevant to your situation, you will find the best way to reestablish your company.
Get in touch with our team to find out more about re-ramping your business post shutdown.