Businesses seem to always be talking, especially in a time of crisis. The issue is – are they talking to the right people? Communications and important messages mean nothing if they aren’t heard and understood by the right people.
Think about hurricanes. In Florida, we have become desensitized to hurricanes. Many don’t take them seriously unless it’s a category 3 or higher. That means we often ignore warnings, wait to begin preparations, and fail to share or pay attention to pertinent information. This is when communications becomes even more important. It needs to cut through the noise and the apathy to grab the attention of the right audiences.
Successful construction projects are comprised of several partnerships, with each partner playing a role with specific responsibilities. This leads to unique audiences for your communications, particularly during a hurricane. All are important, but there are specific messages for each audience – some with calls to action and some only with information. Knowing who needs what information is the key to successful and effective communications when preparing for, making it through, and cleaning up from a hurricane (or any crisis for that matter).
It all comes down to “WHO”.
Who is going to do the talking? Identify who will deliver the messages. Will it come from the CEO? Project leaders? Determine who is most likely to get the results you seek.
Who are your audiences? Well, it will vary for each organization but there are some consistent audiences to acknowledge across the construction industry. These can be separated into two groups: internal and external.
Employees – they are often forgotten or put off until the very end. Don’t make that mistake. These are the people who represent your brand anywhere and everywhere they go. They can also be your most effective communication channel. Update them, and make sure they have the latest information. This is not the group you want to surprise. By keeping them informed and in the loop, you empower them to share information with key groups – vendors, partners, customers, etc. Your employees are always your most important audience.
Project Managers/Leaders – These are the unsung heroes of strong hurricane communications. Project leaders know who needs the message and who will get things done. Enlist them early. Make sure they are on board with the messages and understand their responsibilities. Project leaders will make things happen and know what and when everything needs to be done.
Developers – These are your customers. They pay the bills. It is critical that you keep them informed and reassured. Update them early and often but manage the amount of detail. They don’t want or need to be in the weeds. They want to know you have everything under control.
Subcontractors – These are the people who are going to do the work to get your sites ready for a storm. Their partnership and buy-in are critical. Be upfront about expectations and timelines. Make it as easy as possible for them so they know what to do, when to do it, and what to report.
Property Managers – This is a group that can be easily overlooked. But if there are people living in the development, they need to know what will be happening. The property manager can act as that source of information. They can relay critical information to residents.
Media/Neighbors/Surrounding community – They care a lot about what is happening. And they will be the first ones to call you out if proper preparations or cleanup don’t occur. Take their concerns seriously. Be honest and respectful. Don’t ignore them. They won’t simply go away.
There may be other groups to consider. It’s always better to err on the side of overcommunicating. You have nothing to hide and the more people who know the precautions you take, the more they can share the information – protecting your good name and reputation.
Think about WHO wants to know and then make sure you tell them.
ABOUT LANDSOUTH CONSTRUCTION…BUILDING IDEAS
LandSouth Construction, the Southeast’s premier general contractor, specializing in multifamily, senior living, and mixed-use development, was named one of Engineering News Record’s Top 400. Since 1998, LandSouth has transformed ideas into best–in–class communities. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla. LandSouth has completed more than 25,000 multifamily units. For more information, call LandSouth’s Marketing Coordinator, Kaley Robinson, (904) 760-3188, or visit www.landsouth.com