The service sector, including communications, relies heavily on the macroeconomic situation. Therefore, if the users of public relations (PR) consulting services are affected by COVID-19, they will automatically feel the same way.
Therefore, to minimize these impacts, it is important for us as public affairs and communication consultants to mitigate issues. Long before the first case of COVID-19 entered Indonesia, Kiroyan Partners had conducted a series of mitigation issues. Precisely, since WHO declared the corona outbreak found in Wuhan, China as a global health emergency
Mitigation attempts carried out range from monitoring a variety of issues that are or will potentially impact the clients, analyzing issues, to providing recommendations to clients. Through media monitoring, I at that time asked the team to look for references to how other companies both at home and abroad responded to this condition. In particular, regarding the implementation of health protocol procedures for their employees.
In fact, long before the Provincial Government of DKI Jakarta imposed Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB), we have implemented a policy of working from home for all employees. Precisely, March 16, 2020. That belief is also supported by the readiness of our internal infrastructure that supports flexible working system for the past two years. All of this we do because the company position itself to prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of employees during the pandemic.
Undeniably, given the characteristics of the work as a communication consultant requires intensive team discussion, WFH policy is indeed an obstacle in itself. Our strategy is to walk the talk. In other words, we practice for ourselves what we teach and recommend to clients. Namely, communicate well to stakeholders in the midst of uncertainty.
We are also required to always be agile or flexible, adapt quickly, not rigid, and make various innovations so that the services provided remain relevant to the needs of clients. As was the case when we were required to quickly change various activities that were originally held offline to online. In addition, we take a special approach for executive training in the field of communication and public affairs so that participants can continue to learn optimally, full of motivation, and are engaged in learning sessions even if they are done virtually. We also hold virtual informal meetings with internal employees as an event to strengthen relationships and entertainment for KP team members. However, I believe this change will also have an impact in the long term. I believe there are many positive things that we can continue even after the pandemic ends. Among other things, how to build engagement with employees, clients, and media.
Another important thing is the commitment to upholding the company’s values. Because, in this uncertain time, the principles and values that we believe in will be a compass/guide during the face of various challenges. So, do not neglect the values of the organization. Thus, in times of crisis such as pandemics, we will be tested by the values we believe in.
Of the many challenges, there are many positives that we can pick from this pandemic. Among other things, the increasing awareness of businesses to the importance of crisis communication and internal communication. Without the support of internal stakeholders, organizations find it difficult to move from one point to another. The function of issue management is also increasingly considered strategic. Therefore, businesses need to look at things that are happening at the global, regional, and national levels. So, they are always ready, even able to prevent unpleasant “surprises”.
This condition needs to be captured as an opportunity by communication consultants to continuously improve their skills. Because consulting services are really needed by clients to help them do work outside the scope of business as usual. Companies that want their business to be sustainable will surely pay attention to these three things.
CEO & Principal Consultant, Kiroyan Partners
This article has been published in PR Indonesia magazine 72nd Edition, issued on March 2021, page 42.
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