People and organisations around the world are frantically trying to adapt to the unprecedented changes to our work and lifestyle. Whether it’s adjusting to social distancing, remote work, cancelled events and travel plans or dealing with the closure of shops and restaurants. On top of this, the unpredictable economic climate that is felt on a global scale only compounds people’s feelings of anxiety, confusion and fear.
Amid record levels of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and a general feeling of unease about the future, many organisations are looking with some trepidation at different ways to motivate and ‘stay connected’ with their employees. Now, more than ever, is the most important time for leaders to listen to feedback, hear the concerns of employees and react to their individual needs. It would be short-sighted for leaders not to ensure that the feeling of connectedness and trust in the relationship between the employer and the organisation stays intact.
But, it would be fair to say, conducting an employee survey without asking relevant questions would make your company leaders and HR team seem lacking in empathy and detached from reality. Considering the effects felt from the coronavirus pandemic by your workforce will be an essential part of the feedback loop. Therefore, to help with gauging feelings and understanding the impact on your employees’ work and life, we’ve looked to research to see what the key topics are that are emerging.
Be agile with change. With news and updates changing at an ever-increasing rate, employees want leaders to keep them informed on changes that affect them in their workplace. Clearly communicating change openly and honestly with relevant, timely and easy-to-digest information is critical. For instance, new processes may be needed, direction may need to be changed or adjusted, opportunities may emerge. Giving people bite-sized chunks and an opportunity to feedback or ask questions builds trust in the relationship between you and your people; particularly when employees are struggling to keep up with and adjust to the changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
Be mindful of people’s mental health. Employees appreciate being asked ‘how do you feel, what are your concerns, issues and anxieties’. Recognising that, in addition to concerns about physical health, there are financial pressures in many families or uncertainties around job security and a general unease about the situation. Changes to or absence from the normal workplace affects how people feel about themselves, their self-worth and feeling of belonging. Be mindful of the impact this has on people’s ability to concentrate, focus on one thing at a time and be productive. Additionally, recognise and celebrate small achievements – share successes with others. Help with planning and encourage ideas to keep energised and motivated. Most employees will remember how they felt and were treated even more so in challenging times.
Be virtually visible. Checking in with your team, both individually and as a team, is vital. Using virtual meeting tools whether this is Zoom, Teams, Google hangouts or any other digital tools rather than relying on e-mail keeps your people connected with each other. Good practice might be to check in at the beginning and end of each day and maybe mix it up with a few fun elements in addition to more formal meetings. If you’re usually starting the week or the day with breakfast huddles why not have virtual huddles or catching up for ‘socials’ on Friday afternoons with virtual cocktail hours or drinks instead.
Lead with a human face. Showing a human face of the organisation by being compassionate and understanding of the different situations in which people find themselves is perhaps the guiding principle. It’s the time for showing empathy rather than dishing out orders. In times of crisis, human nature can take us down two routes: helplessness, fear and victimisation or self-actualisation and engagement. Show your people there is a way forward, that there is hope and you’ll find most of your people are amazingly resilient. Above all, people look for their leaders to give them the right signals; that things will be ok and that they are part of the solution and the journey.
To help leaders understand whether they are meeting these needs we have reviewed research and applied this to the current coronavirus crisis in a short ‘stay connected’ pulse survey. You can send this out to your employees and get a high response in two days using our platform or your own. The key is that we can provide you with actionable feedback on how you are doing within 48 hours.
At ClearVoice, we are experts in delivering employee engagement and communication strategies that inspire your people and transform your business. We influence change through the power of communication to improve your company’s performance. For information or help with rallying your people behind a short ‘stay connected’ pulse survey, call or email us today. And let us show you how the power of communication can change your business even in times of uncertainty.