Virtual interview during COVID-19:
Here are some common questions and answers about setting up virtual interviews during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Should you move your current in-person interviews to virtual interviews?
To practise social distancing, it’s best that you move in-person interviews to a virtual setting.
What video platform should you use for virtual interviews?
Many online messaging and emailing systems have video functions that are easy to use. Check the email or message platform you use to see if you can set up virtual interviews. You can also choose from a variety of paid and free services, like Zoom, depending on your needs, such as screen sharing or the ability to invite multiple people.
What should your hiring timeline look like?
Since it’s difficult to determine when the COVID-19 outbreak will pass, you need to be realistic with any candidates you interview. Even if you make a hiring decision, be very clear about how the candidate will be onboarded during this time of social distancing. This includes making sure the candidate knows how you plan to keep them safe and healthy during the outbreak.
Navigating Business Uncertainty:
Review some of these frequently asked questions about COVID-19’s impact on businesses:
Can I seek financial assistance if I’m forced to close my business temporarily because of COVID-19?
Companies do have some recourse for financial assistance during local, national or international hardship. Check the Business.gov.au website for the latest information and support.
How can I support employees who can’t come into the workplace for their normal shifts?
Several options are available to support employees. Offer increased flexibility and understanding as employees manage changes in other family members’ schedules or reduced transportation options. Provide additional sick days or paid time off if possible. Review this guide from Fair Work Australia for more ideas and suggestions.
When can I resume normal business?
A return to normal business staffing, practices and hours may take some time. At present, there’s no clear answer when normalcy will return. Continue to check local, national and international sources for updates to quarantine and other safety measures.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding additional funding to help you better determine your options:
What kind of financial support is available to businesses?
The Australian government has unveiled a variety of financial assistance for businesses during this time. These include JobKeeper payments if you have stood down your employees and lost a certain percentage of your revenue, a temporary hold on evictions for renters, additional funds for industries that have been significantly impacted, tax-free cash flow boosts for eligible businesses, and more assistance based on your state or territory. You can see the full list of government funded financial support available to businesses here.
How can employers reduce their employee turnover during these incidents?
Employers can decrease their employee turnover rate by implementing various practices and guidelines for ill or symptomatic employees. Here are some practices concerning handling sick employees who can spread COVID-19:
Encourage sick employees to stay home
Safe Work Australia encourages business owners to maintain the health of their staff, customers and themselves. This ensures you can continue to offer your goods and services at the same quality customers know and trust.
Given the spread of COVID-19, the SWA recommends employees who are feeling unwell to stay home to avoid further contamination. If employees are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, ensure they seek medical help and are self isolating.
Separate sick employees
The SWA recommends business owners require workers to tell them if they are feeling unwell, and send them home immediately to prevent the disease from spreading. Symptoms to look out for include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. According to the Australian government’s Department of Health, infected individuals need to conceal their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing through the use of a tissue or their elbow.
To maintain a clean environment, the Australian government’s Department of Health recommends businesses to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces. This refers to the cleaning of workplace surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs. You can also consider providing your employees with disposable disinfectant wipes to encourage these practices.
Encourage hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Consider placing posters in easy-to-read places that promote proper hygiene practices, and recommend that employees stay home if they’re ill or feeling unwell. Other measures to consider include providing tissues and soap and water for employee hand wash use.
How can businesses look for additional information regarding federal resources?
Safe Work Australia offers a variety of products and resources to assist businesses during this time. These resources include a business kit that provides information on COVID-19 health and safety in the workplace. The SWA also has a presence in each state you can contact for more information.
Crisis communication FAQs
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding business communications during a crisis:
What are the phases of crisis management?
When it comes to crisis management, there are three primary stages:
- 1. Pre-crisis: The key aspects of the pre-crisis phase are prevention and preparation. Prevention involves identifying and minimising any known risks that could potentially result in a crisis. Preparation involves developing a crisis management plan (CMP), choosing and training a crisis management team, performing exercises to test both the crisis management plan and team and pre-drafting a few messages that can be used in the event of a crisis.
2. Crisis response: This phase is when companies react to the crisis. Whether it’s through words, actions or a combination of the two, public relations professionals usually play a large role in a company’s crisis response by guiding them as they create messages that are directed to target audiences. The extent of the response depends largely on the crisis at hand, but this phase can typically be divided into two different sections—the initial response and then the subsequent repair to a company’s reputation.
3. Post-crisis: At this point, the situation is returning to normal. Even though the crisis no longer requires a lot of attention, there still needs to be some follow-up communication to the employees, customers and media. Ultimately, the amount of follow-up information needed during this phase is dependent on how much information the company promised during the crisis. Aside from communication, the post-crisis phase should come with some self-evaluation so that the company can assess how the crisis was managed, learn from any mistakes and then adjust the crisis management plan accordingly.
What is the purpose of a crisis communication plan?
Crisis communication plans are guidelines that companies develop and use to prepare for an unexpected event or emergency. The primary function of a crisis communication plan is to create a strategy for how the business will respond in the event of a crisis and how it will communicate with key audiences throughout the event. These plans usually include steps to take when the crisis first takes place, strategies for communicating with the general public, stakeholders, media outlets, customers or clients, partners and employees and how to prevent similar problems from happening in the future.
Overall, well-established crisis communication plans ensure that companies are able to release information and consistent messaging as quickly as possible.
What are the different types of crisis?
Crises can come in many forms, including:
- Workplace violence
- Organisational misdeeds
- Confrontation crisis
- Crisis because of deception
- Crisis because of malice
- Natural crisis
- Financial crisis
- Technological crisis