Employees’ lives and jobs have been significantly influenced by COVID-19 with their working experience has been disrupted – many companies have to change work processes, embrace new technologies, and rethink internal communications. The main task of employers today is to create a positive employee experience, keep a team motivated and inspired during the crisis. All resources and time your company is investing in this will definitely pay off. And here is why.
In what way the pandemic has disrupted employee experience?
None of us expected the kind of global pandemic, and the subsequent economic recession, that the COVID-19 has brought. Yes, there are places in the world that have long struggled with diseases and economic hardships, but for the majority of us, these sudden changes might lead to anxiety, depression, and feeling of loneliness. When it comes to the employee experience, three main disrupting factors might hinder motivation:
- Switch to teleworking. We need to adapt to the new way of business processes, collaborating, and communicating. For many of us, it’s essential to see and directly contacting our team on a daily basis. However, many people are now isolated at home with laptops and feel disconnected from the world and business they work for.
- The fact that employee growth and development may be put on hold. The main task of almost every business amid the pandemic is to make every effort to ensure the continuity of processes. To stay afloat. Learning, development, and promotion programs for employees come second these times.
- Psychological pressure. And it’s not only about the task to save the business by working as efficiently as possible, but also about the world around. We are all humans and we all fear – for our family, friends, those who are more struggling than us. It is so difficult to be motivated and productive when the world around you is particularly vulnerable.
That’s why managers need to put even more efforts to re-energize their teams, accurately identify and diagnose recurring struggles, and assist employees in addressing their problems.
What businesses can do to create a positive employee experience?
There are a lot of tools and tips that can be given in this regard, but the main idea of all strategies is to keep employees feeling supported and preserve the sense of belonging to a team.
That’s why the first and the main strategy here is to reinforce communication. The more information you share, the easier employees can cope. You also confirm their value and show your empathy by being open to conversation or discussion.
Advice number two: solicit ideas. Don’t pretend to know all the answers. Ask your employees to assist, encourage brainstorms, make them feel being a part of the decision-making process. That reinforces your commitment to the common deal and strengthens team spirit.
Provide guidance. Don’t let your team alone to cope with all the new things. Provide guidance and tips on topics related to using online conferencing tools, managing time while juggling responsibilities at home, coping with isolation and so on. This provides leadership and again demonstrates empathy.
Enable teamwork and collaboration. Yes, it is not so easy in times of teleworking, but still, use all resources to provide continuity of communication and collaboration between team members: regular calls, messaging, clear distribution of responsibilities. That will make the whole process smoother.
Recognize and reward good work. This is one of the most important points, as acknowledging our efforts can drive our motivation through the roof. Show employees that their work and even small achievements are really meaningful and valuable for your common business.
Share important company updates in a timely manner. Do not forget to keep people informed about everything that happens within a company. Share even bad news. Employees will appreciate this and feel more confident and prepared for any scenario. However, don’t get carried away and eliminate information overload to keep your team productive.
Direct speech: a couple of real-life cases
(Quoted by Campaign US business media)
“My early insight is that leadership at a time of COVID-19 requires a balancing of efforts designed for enabling productivity while also giving employees a chance to bond and connect in new ways. I’ve never been a leader that speaks in terms of building a family. My reference has also been a high functioning sports team. But now it is clear, we are a family and a critical ‘home’ of stability that needs to be inclusive of our ‘first families.’ That has included being a resource and support system for employees directly impacted by the virus. It’s embracing children and pets on our video calls. Our zoom St. Paddy’s happy hour (clients included!) was truly a heart-warming hour that will fuel our vision for how to get through this stronger.”Beth Ann Kaminkow, Global CEO, Geometry
“The truth is that it’s not about motivation. It’s about support, empowerment, and empathy. People want to know that we’re in their corner and that we’re in it together. Everything else – motivation, smart ideas for clients, provocative thinking – it all comes out of that. The biggest component of that is having a steady stream of communication, both from myself and our other leaders to not only keep people updated on what’s going on but to drive more virtual connectivity and culture. We launched an internal platform for exactly that – sharing photos and videos of us working remotely with our kids and our pets, recipe ideas, music playlists, nonprofits that people are supporting, and more.“Adam Gerhart, US CEO, Mindshare
“I’ve got a great team. I tell them the truth about where things stand, what we’re doing in the best interest of this business I believe in, and why. My hope is that they believe in the values and ambition of this business because of how my partners and I have behaved the whole time they’ve known us. Frankly, right now I’m more concerned about their health and burnout from over-work and stress than I am about them being motivated. I encourage breaks, and taking the time off they are entitled to. I talk about that. As a result, I think they believe in our mission and know exactly what’s at stake. And since they are awesome and our mission is good, I genuinely believe we’re going to come out stronger.”Greg March, CEO, Noble People