Manage crisis event notices and keep your employees updated

About Crisis Management Notices

Does your organization have a plan in place for providing updates to employees during a crisis?

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For example:

Company Announcement and Update: Effective immediately we are activating our Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Also effective from Monday all employees are instructed to work from home.

The BCP team will be in touch with those that are required to ensure our systems remain available, meanwhile our marketing and comms teams will keep you informed of the status of our BCP with a daily update via email before 10am each morning.

Thank you for your co-operation.

Why you need to keep employees informed and updated

During your initial efforts to deal with the crisis and the impact on external stakeholders, internal communications can sometimes be forgotten. However, with the right approach, effective internal communication can be one of the most effective ways of ensuring that your crisis does not get worse.

Get your immediate response right: Immediately following a crisis (like the COVID-19 pandemic) is a period that can often be one of confusion caused by 'fake news' and an absence of verifiable information. In most instances your organization will be inundated with different questions, but it is important to start by establishing the facts you do know and then share a statement with employees that outlines what you know and explains when you expect to be able to update further. This will give your employees some peace of mind, and confidence in your organization's ability to manage through the crisis.

Publicise your channels: It is important that your employees know where to find the latest information during a time of crisis. This may be through your intranet, manager briefings, or perhaps through email and text alerts. It doesn’t matter which channel you use, the important thing is that your employees know where to get updates.

Remind employees of your crisis operating procedures and policies: When an unexpected situation occurs people can sometimes forget to follow the normal rules of the organisation. When updating employees on the latest news remember to remind people of your specific operating procedures for crisis management. As an example you may wish to remind employees of your social media policies so that employees don’t accidentally comment on issues that they shouldn’t.

Keep employees updated: Communicate on a regular basis with employees to let them know of any ongoing developments and what the company is doing to handle the crisis. A lack of information during times of crisis can be particularly unnerving for employees who may fill in the communication gap with their own speculation and rumour. Consider developing an hourly or daily bulletin where the latest information will be released to everyone rather than devolving different messages to different parts of the organisation.

How does WhosOnLocation help manage crisis notices?

The Important Notices add-on allows you to share critical notices in a timely and simple way, keeping your organization and those in your duty of care safe and secure.

In the event of a crisis event Important Notices can be used to:

  • Inform employees of the crisis.
  • What your immediate response is going to be.
  • Where they will be able to find the latest information.
  • How often your organization will provide updates. 
  • Remind them of your crisis management operating procedures.

We have two types of Important Notices; Acknowledgments and Instant Messages.

In this use case we show you how to create an Instant Message that will be sent to all employees, via email, informing them of a new crisis. You can use the same steps to keep your employees informed of the latest information and more.

This article assumes you have Important Notices enabled. If not, please read our article on enabling Important Notices here.

User Role required to enable Important Notices: Account Owner.

Let's get started!

In this crisis event notices tutorial you will:

  1. Create an instant message that will be delivered via email to all employees whose normal workplace is a specific Location in your WhosOnLocation account, e.g. Headquarters.
  2. Informing them of a pandemic crisis, and to immediately transition to working from home.

The email we create in this tutorial is:

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Subject: BCP Activated: Working from Home Announcement

Effective immediately we are activating our Business Continuity Plan (BCP). Also effective from Monday all employees are instructed to work from home. The BCP team will be in touch with those that are required to ensure our systems remain available, meanwhile our marketing and comms teams will keep you informed of the status of our BCP with a daily update via email before 10am each morning.

Thank you for your co-operation.

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User Role required to access these settings: Administrator.
  1. Go to Tools > Locations.

    WFH_Notices_1.png

  2. Click View next to your location.

    WFH_Notices_2.png
  3. Select Important Notices from the left-hand menu.

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  4. Click the green Create a New Notice button.

    WFH_Notices_4.png

    - Notice Type: Select 'Instant Message'.

    - Notice Name: Enter a Notice Name; this will be used as the subject if sending an email. In our example we entered "BCP Activated: Working from Home Announcement".

    - Delivery Method: Select 'Email'.

    - Notice Message: Enter your message.

    - Audience:
     Under the Employees dropdown select 'All Employees' > 'From this Location' (see below for more information on the audience options).

    - Spelling: double check your message.

    - Preview Notice: to see a preview. Once you click send you cannot 'revoke' the message.
  5. Click Send.

    WFH_Notices_5_.png

  6. Click Send again on the confirmation.

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Your Instant Message will now appear in the list of Important Notices sent.

About Audiences

You can create Instant Messages for specific audiences. For example:

All Employees.

Employees in a specific department - this would require you to have the department an employee works in recorded in their WhosOnLocation profile.

All Employees On-site - this would require your organization to be using the employee management feature that comes free with your WhosOnLocation account.  Employee management allows your employees to tag themselves on-site and off-site via:

  • A Kiosk, or;
  • if using our free mobile app, WolMobile, they can sign in/out manually as they arrive at work or be automatically signed in/out using the geofence feature, or;
  • if you use a Brivo access control system, then via our Brivo Access Control integration. 

All Employees Off-site - this would require your organization to be using the employee management feature as described above.

Specific Employees - you can nominate one or more specific employees.

Employees with a specific role type - your WhosOnLocation subscription allows you to create Employee Role Types and assign one or many role types to an employee. For example, you might create a role type called 'Emergency Management Team' or 'BCP Team'.

F.A.Q

What does the 'Clone' option do? 

The Clone feature creates a copy of the notice. You can make edits, change the audience, and send. Cloning is designed to save you time when creating multiple notices with slight variances.

Can we 'revoke' a Notice? 

No. Once you select Send it is sent.

Can I see a report on who received the email? 

Yes. You can review sending logs in the Notification Summary. View logs under Reporting > Notification Summary.

Tips & Tricks

Sending an instant message by text or push notification

Prior to sending an Instant Message to 'All Employees' you may want to send a shorter message via text to 'All Employees' advising them to check their emails for the latest Updates on the crisis.

In step 4 above select 'Mobile' when selecting 'Delivery Method’. The employee will receive a push notification if using WolMobile or a text if not.

Please Note: To receive texts, employees require mobile numbers set up in their profiles. The SMS credits used for texts is based on the length of the message.

SMS Character Limits and Charges

Historically, SMS (text) messages have been capped at 160 characters by local carriers. Although most carriers around the world now support longer messages, they are split into 160 character parts for billing purposes.

In line with carrier charges, WhosOnLocation bills per 160 characters. Please note that messages with one or more non-GSM characters (non-Latin characters) have to be sent using UCS-2 encoding and are charged per 70-character chunk. For example, sending a message with 200 characters that includes a non-GSM character would cost you 3 SMS charges.

Any SMS message that is sent will include a standard footer of [Sent by European Demo Inc - do not reply] as a requirement by carriers to reduce SMS spam.

All WhosOnLocation accounts include a specified number of SMS credits. Should the sending of a notice via mobile result in your SMS credit balance reaching zero (0) or going into negative credit, your notice will still be sent. Our accounts department will contact you and issue an invoice to redress the balance. Our SMS charges are available here:

Please Note: If you wish to set up a similar 'Notice' for employees at other locations you must repeat the 'Let's get started!' steps 1 to 7 above (don't forget the Clone option) or simply select 'All Employees' and then 'From all Locations' in step 4 when you get to Audience.
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