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MULTI-NATION BUSINESS CONTINUITY TASK FORCE COMMUNICATIONS POLICY GROUP WORKSHOP NOTES & RECOMMENDATIONS 9 AUGUST 2020


About the Multi-Nation Business Continuity Task Force Initiated by AmCham Dubai and AmCham Abu Dhabi to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Multi-nation Business Continuity Task Force aims to gauge sentiment, assess business continuity challenges and support the wider business community on specifics that require UAE government assistance. The task force aims to provide a channel of communication for its members and is committed to supporting members on an individual basis where possible, in addition to presenting common strategic themes at the government level.

The MNBC Task Force is supported by


Executive Summary Summary • • • •

Recommendations

In the initial stages the government responded well. The government was quick to act and communicated frequently. Things became more confusing as time went on There was no clear government spokesperson, and no single source of information Employees and the general public looked to businesses for guidance

• • • • •

Objective

Have one designated spokesperson for the crisis Provide one single point of contact for all information Hold regular scheduled briefings Provide a mechanism for 2-way communications Appoint government industry representatives to liaise with business sector groups

Risks

To generate recommendations based on the feedback of the Multi Nation Business Continuity Task Force Steering Committee members for the UAE government to develop short-term policies that would enhance government communications. This will enable the business sector to effectively endure the adverse economic conditions.

3

The burden of leadership during crises is to communicate with clarity and authenticity – even when there are high levels of uncertainty and ambiguity.

In cultures where there is a low tolerance for uncertainty, there may be a reluctance to step forward and communicate freely during a crisis


MNBC Task Force Survey 59%

SME

41%

Branch of MNC

• Multiple surveys were conducted

Representing more than 6500 firms from the greater Multination Business Continuity Task Force membership:

• A central survey was designed to

Highest representation comes from:

gauge sentiment, business continuity challenges and an appetite for supporting the wider business community with specifics on UAE government assistance

• 600 respondents

• • • • •

Energy/Oil and Gas Consulting Healthcare Construction Consulting

70%

16%

13%

Service

Trading

Manufacturing

Sector

Sector

Sector

4


What are the most important relief measures to sustain your business during 2020? Clear communication from government is the most crucial aspect

77%

Reduction in rent is the most important relief measure 61% Reduced utility fees Reduction of fees such as incorporation fees, licensing fees

Visa deposit requirements should be abolished

5

55% 52%

52%


Overall Recommendations from Task Force

01

Predictability

04

Public Communications

02

Government Spokesperson

05

Channels & Frequency

03

Business Communications

06

Capacity Building

6


Recommendations from Task Force 1

Predictability

• •

2

Government Spokesperson

• • •

3

Business Comms

Provide information about what you anticipate is coming next. It does not have to be certain. If you have to change policy at short notice, provide clear reasoning Government spokesperson needs to be someone that the multicultural audience will naturally trust The spokesperson does not need to be a subject-matter expert. He or she needs to be an expert communicator Spokesperson should be supported by subject-matter experts Government to business communications should be at 2 levels: • High-level government policy relevant to the whole business community • Industry-specific communications by government appointed industry representatives to business appointed industry representatives • Industry appointed representatives to their respective memberships There needs to be a mechanism for effective 2-way communications • An app or website that allows members of the business community to ask questions • A mechanism for sorting and directing these questions to the appropriate government industry representative • A mechanism for posting the responses in a timely manner 7


Recommendations from Task Force •

4

Public Comms

There should be one single point of reference for all crisis communications • A website that is updated constantly • The trusted source of all verified information • All communications channels should derive their content from central website • All other government ministries and departments should have links to the centralized website Messaging should take account of cultural differences • Develop specific messaging for each cultural group • Use multiple languages • Emphasize the use of visuals: • Commonly recognized icons • Infographics, videos and other visual content Given the highly diverse population mix of the UAE, this approach is more likely to build trust and understanding than the policy of only communicating when the information is deemed to be certain

5

Channels & Frequency

• •

Rely on trusted mass media channels such as Gulf News, Khaleej Times, Dubai Eye to act as the backbone of the communications campaigns Use all social media platforms simultaneously to support mass media channels

6

Capacity Building

• •

Provide crisis communications training to the government crisis management team Provide media training to the government spokesman and the subject matter experts 8


MULTI-NATION BUSINESS CONTINUITY TASK FORCE COMMUNICATIONS POLICY GROUP WORKSHOP NOTES & RECOMMENDATIONS 9 AUGUST 2020

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