RIGHT now, many employers have been placed in the position of having their teams working from home, on stand-down, working reduced hours, or on leave.
In spite of this – in fact, because of this – it’s important that you keep your employees engaged with your business, even if they’re not physically present in the workplace.
After all, you’re going to want and need them back at work for you when all of this settles down!
There are a range of things that you can do to keep your employees engaged and “in the loop”. Of course, you might already be doing this, but here are some suggestions:
• Send a fortnightly email to all your employees – even just to say “hi” and ask them how they are going.
• Keep employees updated about the business – inform them about how your business is performing during this time when compared to other companies, to highlight and remind them that this is a global issue and we are all in this together.
• Check if they have questions about what’s going on from a work perspective and respond to these questions promptly. And if you do not have answers to their questions, then be clear about that too.
• Be empathetic. Remember, not being at work or working from home is challenging in its own way! Encourage people to keep talking to each other. Lots of people are missing the social interaction that work provides, and will be pleased to chat with others. Perhaps consider communication/collaboration technologies such as Slack, Asana or Trello.
• Don’t micromanage them – trust them, and focus on results and output, not time spent logged on. Some might take advantage of the time away and not work as hard as they could, but the majority will be keen to keep their jobs and keep doing what they have to to keep the business afloat.
• Consider sending employees little things like birthday or service anniversary cards during the period they are not at work to let them know you’re thinking about them. Small gestures like this will go a long way in the long run.
• Organise a regular video catch up – this can be formal or informal. If you want to have fun with it, you could theme it – Footy Jersey Friday, High Tea, etc. Do a quick round-the-room “what’s up” catch up with everyone.
• Remind employees of support mechanisms you have in place – for example, do you have an Employee Assistance Program? Is there someone they can call if they have questions / need information / need support?
Most importantly, keep in mind that people will remember how they’re treated by you during this time – and they’ll tell others (family, friends, and so on), which can be great for – or potentially damaging to – your business when recovery kicks in. If you want to keep them as employees, you need to look after them now.
If you need help or would like more information on managing staff during COVID-19, check out our resources page at https://bit.ly/3eWaWKL
By MARGOT GALLAGHER
Margot Gallagher is a Senior Consultant with HR Success, who have been supporting businesses and organisations in Western Sydney for over 13 years. Visit www.hrsuccess.com.au for further information or make contact via ph. 1300 783 211 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.