With the many serious changes that have now taken place to the way we live and work due to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s natural for various employee concerns and anxieties to prevent employees from feeling fully motivated and totally integrated with their workplace and company.
At the same, many brands are striving to show the world they care about various global issues like healthcare, social justices and economic equality. However, some are overlooking the importance of maintaining integrity internally among their own people.
As people’s lives are twisted and turned in various directions, now is the best time to invest time, effort and money in ensuring your employees are looked after and cared for, within the context of the huge changes taking place in society.
Change can be incredibly unsettling. The pandemic marked a period of intense, rapid change where we have needed to adjust our working and personal lives significantly. This includes people switching to working from home arrangements, companies adapting products and services to meet shifting consumer preferences, and increased or decreased demand for certain services.
Against this turbulent backdrop, leaders need to do their best to bring calm and to minimise ambiguity and fear. For example, if you lose a client account you’ve had for years, does this mean that people’s jobs are at stake? If not, simply telling your employees that they’re safe can significantly reduce doubt and work-related anxieties, helping them to focus on doing a good job.
It’s up to you as a leader or senior member of your company to help employees achieve a sense of normality. Simple actions like creating and sharing policies for home working or providing people with the tools and software training they need can make a huge difference.
There might be pressure on your organisation to do everything it can to make sure customers are still satisfied with your products and services, despite any disruptions. However, it’s also crucial that you give the same time and energy to your employees.
Below are a few steps that companies can take during the course of the pandemic or any other major disruption to ensure employee concerns are addressed and engagement and productivity are still maintained.
1. Create a Recovery Road Map
One of the lingering concerns from employees across all sectors is that the current situation is “never-ending”. With constant changes to government rules and regulations, it can seem like things won’t ever return to normal.
While you can’t control everything, you do have the power to create a kind of recovery road map that will help your employees prepare for what’s to come in various eventualities. If you foresee your business never really returning to normal, then giving people clarity around what their future job roles and careers will look like will help them accept and make the most of things as they are. Resist the temptation to be over optimistic as much as the tendency to be too downbeat. Pragmatic hope is a good style guide.
2. Communicate Clearly and Effectively
Eliminate rumours, false information, and unsubstantiated fears by getting ahead of issues with clear and timely messaging. You might assume people know their jobs are not at risk if they get ill or take time off for isolating, but unless you make this clear, concerns can spread among your team.
Reclarify and update all necessary COVID-19-related information, such as time-off policies. Tell people about the various safety measures you are implementing in your offices and how you plan to handle operations if workforce capacity or customer demand fluctuates significantly.
If someone is expected to cover another employee’s workload while they’re sick or unable to work for whatever reason, make sure they are aware of this in advance. The key is transparency and clarity.
3. Acknowledge People’s Circumstances
Even if you don’t have the power to make people’s lives better in the short term, you can acknowledge the situation employees’ are ein and show empathy. Demonstrating sincere understanding will foster better rapport.
On an individual level, you may have certain employees who are particularly worried about their circumstances or those of their loved ones. Listening to what people have to say and offering logical and considered advice can help support people through difficult times.
The more you listen to and have a dialogue with employees, the more you can empower them to suggest new ideas and solutions, ultimately improving their perception of the company and their engagement levels.
4. Spread Positivity
As your company embraces a new sense of normal, you must bring employees along with you and remind people that there are still opportunities for everyone to look forward to and enjoy.
You might be adapting your business to changing consumer preferences, and this could be an exciting time in your company’s journey where you reinvent yourself and move forward with a new purpose and energy.
Need Help Improving Employee Engagement?
The COVID-19 pandemic has, undoubtedly, changed the lives of your employees. If you need help understanding how to understand and address what people are most worried about, in order to foster greater integration, motivation and engagement, we at SERVICE BRAND GLOBAL might be able to help you make the right changes so 2021 is a year of positive change.