The importance of emotion and addressing it in crisis communication is underscored when we consider communicating internally. Emotion guides most all of human behaviors involving choice. The most notable choice in crisis is loyalty – among employees and other stakeholders. Preserving and fostering loyalty requires information and predetermined, pretested channels of message delivery. Without information, loyalty erodes rapidly.

Employees’ needs vary depending on the scale of the crisis and the extent to which any employee’s actions contributed to the underlying situation. The needs of employees are similar to considerations involving public safety – these needs must come first.

Employees (or other impacted parties) may require grief counseling or therapy.

Behaviors that Indicate Employee Assistance Is Necessary

  • Difficulty communicating thoughts, sleeping, or maintaining balance
  • Easily frustrated
  • Use of drugs/alcohol
  • Headaches/stomach problems
  • Tunnel vision/muffled hearing
  • Colds or flu-like symptoms
  • Disorientation or confusion
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Reluctance to leave home
  • Depression, sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Mood-swings
  • Crying easily
  • Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt
  • Fear of crowds, strangers, or of being alone

Employees can be your biggest champion in telling your story, or they can can become a major hurdle. Treating employees with respect and sharing information on a continuous basis is essential if your crisis response requires input or voices from employees.


This is part of a special blog series, Communicating in Crisis. Find tools, information and resources to better understand crisis.

For an expertly assembled plan, contact Ryan.

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