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Here in Detroit, automakers and their suppliers are hard at work tackling the logistics that will enable the North American auto industry to start rolling re-starts of production in the weeks ahead.
And many other companies in other sectors are doing the same, watching the auto industry for some cues on best practices in safe, secure and sanitized manufacturing.
One key component in a successful re-start of any company or manufacturing plant will be employee communications.
If employers want to re-engage employees, they are going to have to make sure that they: 1) address employees’ concerns, and 2) maintain active two-way communication with those employees throughout and after the re-start process.
Employees have many questions and concerns. And as the fluid, dynamic situation continues over the weeks and months ahead, new questions will continue to arise as the environment changes.
And they won’t be comfortable until they have some answers … and at least some ongoing dialogue for the questions that cannot be answered yet.
Without your workers onboard, any re-opening is doomed. So, for starters, here are some of the questions that your workers want you to answer:
1. When are we going to return to work?
2. Will I be safe on the job?
3. What kind of schedule will we be working?
4. Who will return and who won’t?
5. What specific steps and protocols have you put in place to protect my health?
6. What will be different about my job and work area?
7. How often will my work area be sanitized?
8. How will you protect me in common areas – restrooms, meeting rooms, break areas, lunch room, entrances, exits, etc.?
9. What protective equipment will I have to wear and who will provide it? How often?
10. What kind of screening will be conducted at the workplace and how often will it occur?
11. What happens if I don’t feel well while at work? At home?
12. What should I do if I see someone that’s not complying with the safety measures?
13. Will the parts or products I work on be sanitized?
14. What can I do to help promote a safer workplace?
15. What can I do to protect my family?
16. What can I do to support my community?
And perhaps the most important question they’ll ask their leaders:
Would you send your son or daughter to work in my facility today?
It’s not enough to have answers these questions. You need to communicate the answers to your employees … honestly, consistently and frequently, using every tool and every medium available so that employees are well-informed, assured and engaged in a dialogue with you.