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At the time of this writing, organizations in the US made it through our first phase and the initial shock of responding to the global COVID-19 crisis. While still facing a lot of uncertainty, I hope one of our learnings is that we can handle this. It’s hard for so many reasons, even feels insurmountable, but we can and will respond in ways that put the needs of our people first. In just the last week, I’m guessing, HR has tackled transitioning that part of your workforce which previously operated in office or in person to virtual; you have created new HR policies in record time, and you’ve likely rapidly built and introduced a crisis resource support center for your employees to call or reach out with questions and concerns.

Most organizations have also created a centralized, digital place for employees to find knowledge and information on an existing platform, like your intranet or HR portal. (If anyone is still struggling with this, check out this blog by Leapgen’s Harry West on how to do just that). This was a CRITICAL step to making sure employees feel both informed and safe with centralized access to always-current information on how their company is responding to the situation. We’ll call this your Crisis Portal.

So now what? As a state of crisis settles in as our new normal, how do you continue to sustain the support you’ve built over the last days and weeks? The Leapgen team is providing an abridged version of our approach to Workforce Content Management Strategy to help. This is intended to provide immediate support for HR professionals who need to ensure their Herculean efforts to quickly stand up crisis solutions doesn’t go to waste because they are not maintained.

These four steps will guide you through key design decisions that need to be made for a sustainable approach to managing content during the COVID-19 crisis:


Define what content is actually in scope for the digital knowledge base now serving as your Crisis Portal. Most likely, Week One of your crisis management response was focused on gathering all possible information. Now, you’ll need to decide what will continue to be delivered through the Crisis Portal and what will not.

In this case, scope will most likely be related to COVID-19 responses, but other topics may be helpful to include, like sick leave policies, employee benefits hotlines, links to reputable COVID-19 case information, etc. Define what is IN scope and what is OUT of scope. This provides laser focus for content you curate and deliver and will set clear expectations for employees about the purpose of the Crisis Portal. It should be clear this is not the place to go for questions about a paycheck.


Who are you trying to reach with this content? Within the full group of those you want to reach, are there key populations who might need a different message, or potentially need the same message delivered in a different way?

For audience segmentation, as an example, consider those who spend most of their day working on a computer versus those who do not. Those who work in front of computers from a desk all day may be more likely to fully read thorough, detailed messaging; those who must stop working to receive information are more likely to respond well to short, succinct bullets. Other audience groups could be based on those who lead teams, by physical location, or by business segment. Think about what each group needs and create content specific to them.

TIP: Determine whether your Knowledge Base technology delivers data-driven personalization. This is an easy, automated way to ensure employees view information as relevant as possible to them based on all the information (data) you already have about them.


A content management strategy should consider structure to ensure content is a) easy to find, b) easy to understand, and c) comprehensive.

a). To make sure content is easy to find, create simple taxonomy and titles for content. Now is a good time to ditch “HR speak” (e.g., FMLA, EAP,  Business Continuity Planning) for more common language that will resonate with employees (e.g., taking leave, working from home, help and resources).

b). To make sure content is easy to understand, create one or two content frameworks to guide content creation in the coming weeks. This might take the form of FAQs, summaries or briefs, detailed or itemized resources, or Additional Resources.

c). To ensure all frameworks are comprehensive, direct content authors to be thorough but to also highlight what actions should be taken and who to contact for questions. These frameworks can be turned into templates in your knowledge base technology to make it easier to draft and publish new content.


A complete content management strategy utilizes a number of roles and responsibilities. For managing specific content in times of crisis, it is helpful to consider just three roles.

  1. First, who is the owner of the content on the Crisis Portal? One person should take the lead and be ultimately responsible for all content on the portal. This role is often required to partner across multiple groups in the organization to bring content to life.
  2. Second, who should author content? In some organizations, the owner may also be the author. In other companies or instances, there may be multiple authors. Identify authors upfront and determine the process for them to create and edit content.
  3. Can authors draft content directly in the knowledge base technology? If so, we should consider a third role: the approver. Are approvals needed before content is published? In some organizations, the owner is simply reviewing and approving content written by contributing authors, but other organizations may ask someone from corporate communications or an executive to approve all communications during this sensitive time. If approvals are needed, can the knowledge base technology support approvals through workflow? Where possible, leverage the technology to make sure content doesn’t get bottlenecked through email approvals.

If you ever thought there was no such thing as a content emergency, we just met one. Communicating the right information and sentiment well, often, and in a manner that reaches your people quickly, shows care for their safety and wellbeing, and through channels that connect a disparate workforce at critical times is and should continue to be your most important priority.



Alex Zea is a people strategist, technology lover, and data advocate. She has focused her career on helping organizations reimagine HR through data and tech, first as an internal practitioner and now as a strategy consultant at Leapgen. In her career, Alex has led implementations of Workday, Visier’s workforce analytics solution, and Collibra, a data governance technology. Her common career focus is on data and analytics, first building a strategy and analytics team at Time Inc. and later responsible for strategy and administration for HR Business Intelligence solutions at Morgan Stanley.

At Leapgen, she leads the re-imagination of workforce experiences at several multinational enterprises including Target, Avery Dennison, Humana, Land O’ Lakes, and Northwestern Medicine. Alex holds a Bachelor’s degree  in Organizational Leadership from Temple University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Behavior from New York University. She lives in Chicago, IL, with her husband and two cats.

Leapgen is a global digital transformation company shaping the future of work. Highly respected as a visionary partner to organizations looking to design and deliver a digital workforce experience that will produce valued outcomes to the business, Leapgen helps enterprise leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business.

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