As companies make changes to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, details need to be effectively communicated to employees. And the accepted wisdom is that the best way to do so is through face-to-face conversations.

How, then, do you approach communication when many employees are working remotely—or are spread out across multiple locations and time zones? One way is to use virtual meeting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. But even with those tools, communicators and leaders don’t have time to meet one-on-one or in small groups.

What’s needed is to recruit change champions—advocates selected from across the organization to share knowledge and gather feedback. Champions spread the word about change, freeing you up to focus on different communication efforts. Plus, the more employees participate, the easier it is for them to accept change.

Enlist change champions to:

  • Extend your reach: Again, you can’t be everywhere at once. Change champions can connect with colleagues to reinforce what’s changing and why, and explain what actions need to be taken.
  • Hear new perspectives: Change champions have their own opinions and hear a lot of feedback from colleagues. As a result, they report back with questions, comments and concerns that need to be addressed.
  • Get candid feedback: Some employees find it easier to talk to peers than leaders. Change champions enable people (who otherwise might have stayed silent) to open up.
  • Spread enthusiasm: Choose champions who are energetic and influential. Their excitement will be contagious and make it easier for employees to embrace the change.

But simply asking someone to be a change champion isn’t enough. Before sending champions out into the world, spend time establishing roles and expectations. Read our Change Champion Smart Guide to learn more about setting change champions up for success.