The Importance of Communication in Crisis

Empowering Employees Through the COVID-19 Pandemic

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In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, natural beauty and lifestyle brand, Sky Organics, has implemented numerous policies to protect their employees, partnered with Feeding America to help provide meals to those in need, and donated to the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation to assist restaurant workers encountering hardships throughout this health crisis. While these macro-level efforts are generating an outstanding impact, the company’s micro-level efforts to support employees during this time are equally impressive. For Dean Neiger, co-founder of Sky Organics, the key to empowering employees in this crisis has been quite simple: communication.

“Mental well-being among our staff is a number one priority. Anxiety and stress settle in when people are uncertain about what’s happening and feel alone,” Neiger shares, “We never hold back information from our employees and have weekly, all-team meetings through video call, and daily, video calls within smaller groups, to keep everyone updated on how the business is doing and see how the team is feeling.” This commitment to transparent communication bolsters employees’ emotional health by mitigating unnecessary ambiguity surrounding the current situation.

Additionally, Neiger believes that now, more than ever, individuals must lead by example. “Take the first step in making sure your team feels safe and connected during this time, while practicing patience and empathy. We know some of our staff are having to be a teacher to their kids, care for their loved ones, and are taking on a number of new responsibilities on top of their regular work – we recognize that, and take it into consideration when delegating assignments or discussing deadlines,” he explains, “It’s so important to check in regularly and make sure no one feels overwhelmed or disconnected – and if someone does, reassure them of their importance on the team and offer support in whatever capacity possible.”

While Sky Organics maintains an open-door policy (or in these times, open chat box), the company has also enlisted counselors and health professionals to supply employees with coping techniques and other guidance with regard to well-being. Leaders at Sky Organics understand that nobody should feel like they are going through hardship alone. By encouraging employees to communicate in this way, Sky Organics is ensuring that individuals remain connected to others in this time of crisis.

Though the pandemic has yielded a myriad of challenges for organizations across the world, Neiger recognizes that this critical situation also serves as a learning opportunity: “We know how interdependent and connected we all are to one another. Every member of our team is valuable, and we all carry different responsibilities that blend together to contribute to the company’s success. We know how vital communication is and how easy it is to take something as ordinary as speaking face-to-face or hearing a simple ‘good morning’ from a co-worker for granted. When life does return to ‘normal,’ we want to continue implementing team-bonding and communication techniques – doing things like team lunches, that will help keep our team close. And of course, we will bring with us a renewed sense of gratitude to have made it through all this and having done so together.”

Behind their clean and organic products is a message of hope, love, and integrity, and Sky Organics’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic truly reflects this. They’ve adapted to challenges with grace, demonstrating how organizations can continue to help others during this time.

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