Virtual interview during COVID-19:
Here are some common questions and answers about setting up virtual interviews during the COVID-19 outbreak:
Should you move your current in-person interviews to virtual interviews?
To practice social distancing, move your in-person interviews to a virtual setting. If you don’t need to make an immediate hire, you could postpone your in-person interviews until you return to normal business practices. Postponing in-person interviews means you may miss out on more qualified candidates, so it’s better to set up a virtual interview system.
What video platform should you use for virtual interviews?
Many online messaging and emailing systems have video functions that are easy to use. Check the email or message platform you use to see if you can set up virtual interviews. You can also choose from a variety of paid and free services, such as Zoom, depending on your needs, such as screen sharing or the ability to invite multiple people.
What should your hiring timeline look like?
Since it’s difficult to determine when the COVID-19 outbreak will pass, you need to be realistic with any candidates you interview. Even if you make a hiring decision, be very clear about how the candidate will be onboarded during this time of social distancing. This includes making sure the candidate knows how you plan to keep them safe and healthy during the outbreak.
Navigating Business Uncertainty:
Review some of these frequently asked questions about COVID-19’s impact on businesses:
Can I seek financial assistance if I’m forced to close my business temporarily because of Covid-19?
Companies do have some recourse for financial assistance during local, national or international hardship. Check with the government website for any recent legislation regarding business help. CFIB’s COVID-19 Help Centre is also a good source providing information and assistance to some businesses.
How can I support employees who can’t come into the workplace for their normal shifts?
Several options are available to support employees. Offer increased flexibility and understanding as employees manage changes in other family members’ schedules or reduced transportation options. Provide additional sick days or paid time off if possible.
When can I resume normal business?
A return to normal business staffing, practices and hours may take some time. At present, there’s no clear answer when normalcy will return. Continue to check local, national and international sources for updates to quarantine and other safety measures.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding additional funding to help you better determine your options:
What are the eligibility requirements based on for small business loans?
The eligibility criteria depend on the lender and the loan. Your eligibility and acceptance generally depends on how your business receives money, but also on its management and where it operates. Loan providers also want to ensure that you will be able to repay them in the future. Here are the main eligibility criteria for small business loans:
- It is a for-profit business
- The company carries out commercial activities in Canada
- You have invested in your business
- You have exhausted all other financial options
How can employers reduce their employee turnover during these incidents?
Employers can reduce the turnover rate of their employees by implementing several practices and guidelines for workers who are sick or have symptoms. The following are the practices of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the Government of Canada regarding the management of sick employees who could spread COVID-19:
Encourage sick employees to stay home
The Government of Canada encourages small business owners to protect their health and the health of their staff and customers. This ensures the continuity of the supply of your goods and services without affecting the quality that your customers know and trust.
Given the spread of COVID-19, guidelines state that employees with symptoms such as acute respiratory illness stay home to avoid further contamination. Visit the Canadian government’s guidelines for workplaces and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Review sick leave policies
Business owners may also find benefits in reviewing their sick leave policies and their adherence to public health guidance. This can help them assist employees who fall ill and ensure legal compliance. Notifying employees of company policies ensures their compliance and the understanding of their rights.
Consider relaxing sick leave policies that support employees in self-isolating when ill or exposed to cases, such as suspending the need for medical notes to return to work.
Separate sick employees
It is recommended that business owners separate symptomatic employees from healthy employees as soon as possible. It’s important for these employees to be identified and sent home immediately to prevent the disease from spreading. Symptoms for acute respiratory illness include coughing and shortness of breath. Those who are ill should stay home from work, and should always practice respiratory etiquette, by coughing into their arm or a tissue.
The government recommends routine cleaning of frequently used surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19. The virus has the potential to survive in the environment for up to several days. Cleaning, especially frequently touched surfaces, can kill the virus so people don’t get sick.
Encourage hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Consider placing posters in easy-to-read places that promote proper hygiene practices, and recommend that employees stay home if they’re ill or feeling unwell. Encourage employees to practice frequent and thorough hand washing – washing for 20 seconds with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
How can small businesses seek additional information regarding federal resources?
In addition to the Canadian government, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has a COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre with information to help you navigate COVID-19, including a comprehensive list of the available economic relief measures available at the federal and provincial level.
Crisis communication FAQs
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding business communications during a crisis:
What are the phases of crisis management?
When it comes to crisis management, there are three primary stages:
- Pre-crisis: The key aspects of the pre-crisis phase are prevention and preparation. Prevention involves identifying and minimizing any known risks that could potentially result in a crisis. Preparation involves developing a crisis management plan (CMP), choosing and training a crisis management team, performing exercises to test both the crisis management plan and team and pre-drafting a few messages that can be used in the event of a crisis.
- Crisis response: This phase is when companies react to the crisis. Whether it’s through words, actions or a combination of the two, public relations professionals usually play a large role in a company’s crisis response by guiding them as they create messages that are directed to target audiences. The extent of the response depends largely on the crisis at hand, but this phase can typically be divided into two different sections—the initial response and then the subsequent repair to a company’s reputation.
- Post-crisis: At this point, the situation is returning to normal. Even though the crisis no longer requires a lot of attention, there still needs to be some follow-up communication to the employees, customers and media. Ultimately, the amount of follow-up information needed during this phase is dependent on how much information the company promised during the crisis. Aside from communication, the post-crisis phase should come with some self-evaluation so that the company can assess how the crisis was managed, learn from any mistakes and then adjust the crisis management plan accordingly.
What is the purpose of a crisis communication plan?
Crisis communication plans are guidelines that companies develop and use to prepare for an unexpected event or emergency. The primary function of a crisis communication plan is to create a strategy for how the business will respond in the event of a crisis and how it will communicate with key audiences throughout the event. These plans usually include steps to take when the crisis first takes place, strategies for communicating with the general public, stakeholders, media outlets, customers or clients, partners and employees and how to prevent similar problems from happening in the future.
Overall, well-established crisis communication plans ensure that companies are able to release information and consistent messaging as quickly as possible.
What are the different types of crisis?
Crises can come in many forms, including:
- Workplace violence
- Organizational misdeeds
- Confrontation crisis
- Crisis because of deception
- Crisis because of malice
- Natural crisis
- Financial crisis
- Technological crisis