Whether you’re a large business with a public relations representative on speed-dial or a small, local business trying to make it during the pandemic; you will need to know how to handle your public response if/when employees test positive for COVID-19. News about businesses can spread far and wide within a few hours on social media: if a business mishandles their public response to a COVID-19 infection, they are risking losing business and damaging their brand.
3 Steps to handle Your public response when employees test positive for COVID-19
According to an article by Goldberg Segalla’s media relations and content chief Aidan Ryan, there are several things companies should do to handle their public response when employees test positive for Coronavirus.
1. Create a COVID-19 response team
Companies should have an internal team that monitors news about COVID-19, creates policies for workplace safety and how to keep the business running as smoothly as possible while following safety protocol. The team should have a dedicated person to communicate updates to the business. For small businesses, the team may be a representative or the office manager.
2. Communicate about the infection
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, a member of the team with issues management and strategic messaging experience should communicate with the media and on social media pages. Be prepared to create a written statement as well as a verbal one, if necessary. Transparency and timeliness are important here.
· Confirm the infection(s) and when the employee(s) tested positive.
· Be honest about any information that you don’t know or are waiting on and be sure to follow up.
· Explain the steps that have been taken to clean the workplace and keep other employees/3rd party vendors safe.
3. Communicate about your overall COVID-19 safety strategy
Now that you have addressed the active infection situation, it’s time to communicate the safety strategy your company implemented since the beginning of the pandemic. These are the measures you are taking to keep employees safe during the pandemic. Here are some examples:
· Temperature checks
· Expanded sick leave
· Office reconfiguration
· Remote work options
These measures should already have been communicated to employees, contractors and vendors so it shouldn’t take a lot of time to share the information publicly. This is an important step because you don’t want to give the public the impression that your worker contracted Coronavirus because you failed to implement safety measures.
If your business handles a COVID-19 diagnosis well, it can actually be an opportunity to build trust among your employees and the public. It may be wise to consult with your legal counsel and/or a trained crisis communicator to get your business’s COVID-19 media and PR plan in place in case of such an event.
How partnering with a PEO can support your business during COVID-19
A PEO provides small businesses with many advantages that they might not otherwise be able to afford. These advantages have become even more important during this international health crisis.
When small business owners’ partner with Makai HR they:
- Gain peace of mind that they are complying with all of Hawaii’s labor laws, which is especially important when decisions are being made about how to handle a health crisis.
- Can provide comprehensive health care plans that allow your employees to go to the doctor for treatment and testing.
We are also here to support your business if you are working remotely:
- Our cloud-based platform means that your employees can manage their HR needs through a computer, tablet or phone, making it easier for them to work from home.
- Our cloud based HRIS platform means that your HR team can manage HR remotely if they are sick or everyone is working remotely.
Pro tip: this is a good time to encourage all employees to update to Direct Deposit to reduce in person bank transactions and continue timely payroll payments. Do not delay. Contact us today to get started!