Now is the right time to talk to workers about bird flu (Guest commentary)

Organizations that take too long to talk to employees about the pandemic will be playing 'communications catch-up'
By John Crean
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/13/2006

If you are wondering if now is the time to begin communicating your company’s plan to stay in business during an avian flu pandemic to employees, consider this: When the first case of human-to-human transmission of the H5N1 virus hits the newsstands, people will react viscerally and will be filtering information through a cloud of anxiety.

If at that moment the company’s messages are reaching them for the first time, they may speculate about whether their employer is prepared to deal with a crisis that could, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, see 10 million Canadians too sick to work and 58,000 deaths across the country.

Organizations caught flat-footed will be playing communications catch-up at a time when they can least afford to do so.