When the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the whole world, one would’ve been hard-pressed to find a business that wasn’t affected one way or another. After all, lockdowns meant to keep people safe at home also meant people couldn’t go out and spend.
But if there’s any business that felt the pinch more than others, it would be the airline Cebu Pacific. Travel restrictions and bans all over the world suddenly put flights to a grinding halt, leaving pilots, cabin crew, and thousands of support staff with no work at all.
Yet Charo Logarta Lagamon is proof that even when a company’s bread and butter is taken away from them, that’s no reason to sit there and be passive about it. Currently, Lagamon works with beverages company Pernod-Ricard, one of the largest wines and spirits companies in the world, but she functioned as Cebu Pacific’s Corporate Communications Director from 2017 until August 2020. Lagamon had a hand in everything from corporate social responsibility, media relations, and now most importantly, crisis communications.
Lagamon first emphasized that external crisis communication cannot function without addressing things internally, which is mainly done through the human resources department, with her team providing guidance. Thus, this means that employees had to be updated constantly on the state of the company during the pandemic: how much the company was losing, how many employees may have to be laid off, when pay cuts would take effect, and more.
Though these types of information may be hard to swallow at first, Lagamon maintained that proper communication means ensuring employees get information first. According to her, everything that they put out must also address the questions employees have been frequently asking. “We don’t want them to have to worry about these things from another source,” Lagamon explained. “It’s better to be transparent than risk creating an atmosphere of rumor-mongering and distrust.”
It’s also equally important then that information is communicated through the best channels. In Cebu Pacific’s case, information is usually disseminated through town halls but the advent of the pandemic has seen the company do much of their remote work on Microsoft Teams. This shift to digital ensures that although they are all apart, information reaches Cebu Pacific employees swiftly.
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