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How leadership handles today’s difficult situation will determine the level of faith your employees and stakeholders will have in your credit union now and going forward. Effective communication during a crisis in general, and during COVID-19 specifically, is essential to building organizational trust and creating a strong, trusting culture. Leaders must be proactive in crisis communication, anticipating and planning for whatever the organization might encounter as these novel times unfold. Many companies naturally direct their communication focus outward during a crisis, attending to customers and suppliers. Yet, communicating quickly, often and well with your employees is even more important. An informed workforce fosters organizational resilience and strength, and is an essential channel of communication to the outside world. Be proactive. Never allow employees to come to you first with concerns about a crisis. Failing to keep workers well informed during uncertain times comes at a very high cost in terms of organizational trust.

High-quality communication allays fear and builds both trust and confidence. The CEO and C-suite members must create an integrated organizational communication strategy. Employee safety must become the priority. Senior leadership, human resources team members and others on your crisis management team should create accurate, consistent and timely communications for staff, and determine the best means of delivery. Your COVID-19 planning team is assuredly already in place, and their continuing role and responsibilities could be expanded for additional crisis communication preparedness.

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