It’s been a few months since the world has been struck by COVID 19, a pandemic being considered as one among the worst of human history. Organizations around the globe are trying their best to cope with these unforeseen times. Working from home, working with limited bandwidth and resources, temporary suspension of services, etc. seem to have become the new normal for an organization and its people.
Coronavirus has brought with it a phase of uncertainty for us all, both at a professional as well as a personal level. Measures like nationwide lockdowns, the norms of social distancing, etc. to slowdown the spread of the virus and flatten the curve brought along their own set of concerns – people feeling self-isolated, overwhelmed with balancing work and home errands, stressed, depressed, etc. The current environment seems to be taking a toll on the physical, mental as well as psychological wellbeing of people.
It is now more than ever that companies need to focus on their teams more consciously, stay connected more effectively, and keep the employee morale and employee engagement high at all times.
How can we keep the employee morale up in such uncertain times?
1) Stay Real & Positive
Be honest about sharing information and updates about your business with your people. There is a lot of talk happening around how the current situation is affecting industries, companies, economies around the world. Therefore, hiding crucial facts from employees might not be the best call to take. On the contrary, being honest and open about your current business situation will bring you closer to your team.
At the same time, it’s important to stay positive and optimistic. If the leadership seems shaken and shows signs of anxiety, it will certainly trickle down to the rest of the employees as well. Therefore, leaders have to stay firm, ever inspiring and ever supportive for their teams. Discuss alternatives with them, come up with solutions to problems together. If the employees feel involved in decision making and facing the challenges, it automatically boosts their morale and also increases their trust and loyalty for the company.
2) Focus on Remote Communication
Virtual communication tools like Google Hangouts, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc seem to have become superheroes when it comes to communicating and staying connected these days. Having said that, different people may face different challenges and have different preferences for remote communication channels. Confusion on how to communicate is the last thing your employees need right now. It’s important to ensure that your team is familiar with the remote communication tools being used.
Some Tips –
- Make sure your team is confident of using the virtual office tools set up.
- Have frequent and meaningful one-on-ones with your team.
- Don’t overload your employees with online meets.
- Use video options whenever possible, as per a study, faces have increased motivational and engaging significance for people.
3) Be There & Show you Care
We are all struggling through different circumstances – some are managing work and taking care of kids/parents at the same time, some are attending to sick family members, some are all by themselves away from their hometown, while some are managing work & everyday house chores, etc.
Telling your people, we’re in this together is the need of the hour. Leaders need to be available to their employees when required. Be there for your team (more at a personal level), show empathy and concern for your staff and their situations; it is an imperative.
Some Tips –
- Relax your targets and be more open and flexible towards the new work routine.
- Host live Q&A sessions with your employees, encouraging them to participate, express views, etc.
- Go virtual with your open door policy and town-halls.
- If feasible, run a short pulse survey to know how your people are coping and what you can do to assist them better.
- Encourage your employees to follow a safe and healthy routine as they work remotely.
- Encourage short breaks in between work, like looking away from the screen, taking a quick walk within the house, doing some quick & easy exercises, getting some fresh air, etc; all this counts.
- Be open to having a dialogue on mental health and wellness.
4) Recognize & Applaud
Recognition acts as a crucial motivational and employee engagement factor. If employees are acknowledged for the work they do, they will be more involved and instinctively inspired to find better ways to solve a problem or even create a faster way to achieve a task.
Don’t let the lockdown keep you from recognizing the hard work your employees are putting in. Acknowledge the efforts of your team more often and also encourage your team leads to do so. Ensure that you make your employees feel appreciated for their efforts, especially now. Thank and applaud your teams for their support during this difficult time. It’s the least one can do.
5) Have Some Fun
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”! NMPi’s parent company Incubeta started a daily five-minute afternoon dance party with a dedicated Spotify playlist hosted on Google Hangouts to boost employee morale.
One of the best ways to keep up employee energy & morale during the coronavirus lockdown is to launch some fun activities and sessions for your team.
- Go live, share posts, stories, videos, etc. on social media handles, just to break the mundane schedule and encourage your team to participate.
- Run an online contest like a selfie contest, stay home activity contest to lighten the environment.
- Host a virtual lunch or a morning tea session, etc. just to catch up at an informal level.
Research says that virtual events help in reducing the feeling of isolation and boost a sense of belongingness among people.
Employee engagement and employee wellness have become essential now, more than ever. People across the world are struggling to fight this pandemic, sustain their livelihood, and ensure their job security. Whether working onsite or remotely, your employees need their organizations’ support to sail through these extraordinary times. You need to be available for your team and offer assistance in every form possible. When all this gets over, you will look back and realize that you have emerged as a stronger, more productive, and resilient workforce.
Garima Sharma is Lead – Assessments & Surveys, at GreenThumbs. She has demonstrated experience working in the human resources industry. A subject matter expert for Personality Assessments, 360 Degree Appraisals, Employee Engagement, Feedback Surveys, etc.