Top HR & IC Resources for Communications Around the Coronavirus

March 4, 2020

Looking for information on how and what to communicate about COVID-19 – otherwise known as the coronavirus – to employees? You’re not alone. Over the past week, we’ve seen dozens of helpful articles surface sharing important tips and resources for internal communicators and HR professionals alike.

For convenience and time-saving purposes, we’ve collected the best articles we’ve seen to date right here. We will continue to update this post with any new resources we see that may help. 

Lead Your Business Through the Coronavirus Crisis (Harvard Business Review)

Based on HBR’s ongoing analysis and support for clients around the world, they have distilled 12 lessons for responding to unfolding events, communicating and extracting and applying learnings. Lessons include updating intelligence daily, using experts carefully and constantly reframing your understanding of what's happening.

Key takeaway: Make sure your response is balanced across seven dimensions: communications, employee needs, travel, remote work, supply-chain stabilization, business tracking and forecasting, and being part of the broader solution.

Employee Communications and the Coronavirus: What You Need to Know (Poppulo)

Communication is central to how organizations around the world are protecting their businesses and welfare in the wake of the coronavirus. This post from Poppulo looks at best practice advice, as well as the measures companies have taken to date.

Key takeaway: “This is a time when the value of effective employee communication and the technology that enables it, such as Poppulo, comes into its own.  Not only must Internal Comms and HR ensure they collaborate closely to keep employees fully informed and answer their questions, they also need to be capable of dealing with misinformation and rumor-mongering of internet trolls.”

Coronavirus + the Workplace: Tips for HR and Business Leaders (Inspire Human ResourceS)

Inspire Human Resources has succinctly summarized key communication, prevention and planning steps that HR and business leaders can take to minimize disruption to their companies and workforces.

Key takeaway: Do you have a plan for communication, safety and other work expectations in the event of a natural disaster, crisis or epidemic? If not, now is the time to create one or update what you have.

5 Steps to Prep Coronavirus Messages for Key Audiences (Ragan)

Your management team will not be blamed if the coronavirus strikes but how well your company prepares and responds will be judged by employees, customers and other stakeholders. Ragan has identified five steps your organization should take to communicate effectively and adjust operations. 

Key takeaway: Communicate early and often with equal parts concern and common sense tactics. Plan to regularly update your people to reduce uncertainty and combat the growing rumor mill. People are much more understanding when they see you’re aware, that you care and that you’re taking steps to minimize potential damage.

Coronavirus: Employers Should Plan, Not Panic (Foley & Lardner)

Law firm Foley & Lardner touches on the legal requirements employers have to provide a safe and healthy work environment while also outlining practical steps to help organizations thoughtfully think and plan.

Key takeaway: “Plan for worst case scenarios now so you can effectively respond to what will likely be a rapidly changing situation. To do this, your management should anticipate and prepare for how you will answer the plethora of questions that will almost certainly be raised.”

8 Questions Employers Should Ask About Coronavirus (Harvard Business Review)

This epidemic is a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies and procedures they have in place to protect employees, customers and operations in this and future epidemics. HBR has outlined eight compelling questions employers should ask as they prepare for and respond to the spread of the virus.

Key takeaway: Companies should review their paid time off and sick policies now to give employees confidence that they will not be penalized for sick leave if they are ill or must care for a loved one. This will be an important tool for encouraging self-reporting and reducing potential exposure to other employees. 


Video conferencing platform Zoom's stock has shot up as companies encourage at-risk employees to work from home. With new cases popping up throughout the world, companies will need to be prepared to ensure their technology and people are set up to work remotely effectively:

Remember, your employees are PEOPLE first. If you put their personal concerns, needs and questions first, you’re off to a great start.

Patty Rivas

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