BLUF

An Australian university study has examined the communication challenges leaders are facing as a result of COVID-19.

Summary

In times of crisis, leaders need to understand how to communicate critical information to their employees. To investigate how senior leaders share information with their workforce, UNSW Business School undertook a global research project. The researchers examined a range of managerial responses to COVID-19. Although the study focused on the higher education sector, the results provide unique insights into how organisations can more effectively communicate with staff during a crisis. The researchers collected and coded data from emails sent by the vice-chancellors or deans of 35 universities across 16 countries. Overall, the universities with the highest scores were those whose leaders shared information that assured employees that they were being looked after in a distinct, consistent and consensual way. The conclusion then is that leaders should try to share information in a way that builds trust.