Pandemic Comms

Problem

A forward-looking biotech company saw the need to create an operational and communications plan to address the threat of pandemic influenza. The goal was to ensure the company’s ability to deliver life-saving medicines to patients in the event of a pandemic. The planning team needed to raise employees’ awareness and sense of urgency to motivate them to prepare without sending them into panic.

Action

  • Wordwright advised the client to incorporate information about pandemic influenza into communications regarding seasonal influenza. October, the start of the flu season, was the perfect time to introduce the subject. Communications differentiated between seasonal, avian, and pandemic influenza.
  • Wordwright created and distributed instructions for creating and maintaining work/home emergency kits.
  • Wordwright created a comprehensive communications plan, which supported the client’s business continuity and pandemic operations plans. Our plan included strategies for clear, redundant, and decentralized communications channels to ensure that critical messages reach employees in times of crisis.
  • Wordwright structured the pandemic communications plan so that key activities were triggered by the pandemic stages identified by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Wordwright created boilerplate memos, notices, and other communications deliverables that can be edited as necessary and are ready to deploy at any time. Guidelines for writing and editing ensure that communications can be distributed according to the plan, even if key communications personnel are unable to come to work.
  • Recognizing that in a crisis, employees feel calmer if they can take action, Wordwright ends each pandemic influenza communication with a call to action, guiding employees toward self-protection and giving them a way to contribute to keeping the business running.

Results

  • The effectiveness of Wordwright’s pandemic plan will ultimately be tested during an actual pandemic. In the meantime, our emphasis on preparedness has motivated managers and employees to examine interdependencies in light of potential absenteeism.
  • Our efforts to educate employees on vaccination, antiviral usage, and social distancing enable them to prepare themselves and their families for both seasonal and pandemic influenza, as well as creating a greater sense of control and readiness.

Education has raised awareness among employees and increased participation in company vaccination and antiviral distribution programs, as well as general emergency preparedness efforts.

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