It’s been said that during this global pandemic we may all be in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat.

This applies as much to businesses as it does to personal experiences. Company owners and leadership teams have had to steer their own course – in conditions ranging from mildly choppy waters to full storm force 12. I take my hat off to each and every one of them.

What has been consistent for every organisation during the Coronavirus crisis (as in any other crisis) has been the need to communicate effectively; whether you’re managing  disrupted customers, educating people on public health advice or engaging with a remote workforce.  Being clear, honest and transparent has never been more important than in recent months and brands that got it wrong took a serious reputational hit.

As the economy opens back up and businesses begin to reset, reshape and evolve, there is no doubt that effective communications will be as important to business recovery as it has been to business survival.

In a survey of SME’s by Sage UK on plans for recovery, 40% of businesses said they would be diversifying into new markets. Critical to their success will be how effective those businesses are at creating brand awareness and a clear positioning in those new sectors and reaching the right audience, with a compelling message, at the right time.

37% of SMEs also said that attracting new talent would be central to their business recovery plans. For some businesses this will mean a keener focus on their employee brand to ensure they attract the best people. Remuneration alone is no longer enough; people want to work for a business with a clear purpose, values that align to their own and a more flexible approach to working life.

64% of companies were also rightly concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on levels of engagement and motivation amongst staff. Meaningful employee engagement and the careful management of any organisational change will be critical in the months ahead. Most companies will need to adapt to survive and it’s important that leaders take their people on that journey with them, providing clear business direction and reinforcing organisational purpose and values.

In response to COVID-19, Whistle has created a tailored package to help businesses in the recovery phase. Business Bounce Back includes an audit of an organisation’s current communications, useful sector, market and media insights, a review of organisational objectives and the development of a multi-channel communications strategy.

The next few months are unlikely to be plain sailing for many. But those businesses who put meaningful engagement, clear organisational purpose and proactive communications at the heart of its recovery plans could well be the ones that stay afloat.

Sarah Kent is managing director at Whistle PR which offers a range of integrated communications services including strategic consultancy, PR, social media, community engagement, internal communications and crisis management. For further information, on Whistle’s Bounce Back package email or click here.