Staff morale affects your company’s success. During trying times like these, it is important to keep your staff happy and motivated.
Now that your employees are back at work or adjusting to working at home, remember that even if you are one of the few employers who did not have to cut salaries or make redundancies, it’s still important to maintain high employee engagement levels. For those who had to cut salaries and make redundancies, remember that now more than ever, your once-upon-a-time loyal employees may not be as loyal anymore. They have suffered financial losses and now have some hope of finding other opportunities. If you are a business owner or CEO, no doubt you have been worried sick about the situation and about when business will pick up. Your employees don’t know this, and they’re worried about paying bills, having food on the table and sending money back home to loved ones. Everyone has their own difficulties and anxieties. Your response as a leader is to graciously listen, be humble and be transparent. During these unprecedented times, you will not have all the answers or the wherewithal to confidently tackle every single issue that comes your way — and that’s OK. Let your employees know that they are appreciated and that you will continue to listen to and advocate for them. Show them you care! For HR and engagement leaders, here are some ways to improve staff morale and ensure that you do not lose your best talent:
- Priorities only the bare essentials.
In times of unpredictability, with a range of activities going on and a segregated team, you don’t have a lot of control over what happens. This is the time for leaders to get focused, step up and communicate a clear purpose and direction for the organisation. Where possible, it is critical for managers to drop projects that are non-essential as these will slow the team down. You need to focus on the basics of your operations. Here’s what we at ReformHR recently suggested to one of our clients, a global company: “Basic operations should run as usual. So, any additional projects that can be put on hold should be shelved at the moment so that staff is able to adapt to changes and settle in. Employees no doubt may sometimes react negatively to any major changes in such work environments. Self-productivity will be one of the best signs to look out for. When it starts dropping, individual KPIs may take a hit. So, monitor these changes and listen to your employees. Adjust your KPIs for this year! We’ll also encourage all employers to stay very close to the ground for the first few weeks and manually keep track of all their daily tasks, consistently making sure that everything’s been completed with the same quality. Day to day work should not be affected. Every company has their own ways to track their KPIs so they need to keep a check on this to ensure that disruptions are minimised.”
- Employees who are allowed to operate onsite must be provided with important basic hygiene amenities
By basic amenities, we mean surgical masks and hand sanitisers. Don’t forget to keep a stock of hand soaps as well. Strict social distancing at work premises must already be enforced to minimise physical interaction and keep your employees safe. Offices should be sanitised and if you are in the UAE, you must comply with the government regulations to avoid any penalties
- Communicate more with your employees and stay connected
Communicate what’s going on with the business and don’t brush away your employees’ concerns. Hold regular town halls during which you can update everyone on the business situation and address questions in an open and informative manner. Be transparent. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is prepare for the worst and encourage the downward spiral. One way to keep morale up is by divulging the organisation’s “worst-case scenario” to your employees (e.g. pay cuts, unpaid leave of absences etc).
- Listen to and understand your staff’s concerns
Listening and addressing your staff’s concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic shows them that you care about their health and wellbeing. Do you have a trusted HR partner who can listen and empathise with your staff concerns? If not, call us as we would love to help.
But right now, it’s imperative that you or someone in the organisation listens to problems so you know how to go about addressing them. When employees feel like their concerns are being listened to, they will be more productive and focus to complete the tasks on hand. It can also help minimise distraction by quashing all rumours related to the company.
- Inspire and encourage your staff members
One way to inspire your staff members is by showing them that the management trusts them. How can you do this? Well, here are three ways you can inspire and encourage staff:
● Share knowledge – Every week, ask one person to share what they learnt during the lockdown and how they implemented it.
● Organise Events
● Hold a *knowledge week
where each department shares information on what they do, making it fun and interactive. For example, ReformHR organised Knowledge Week, during which senior executives from Dispute Resolution Authority and DIFC Courts spent an entire day “Living the life of a CEO”, which included role-plays, case studies, networking and presentations on different topics. This kind of activity helps build an open culture in which employees feel valued and provide solutions to problems you did not even think of.
● Hold daily huddles during which managers ask everyone to take a moment to think about that day, acknowledging one thing that was difficult and three things that went well. Give praise and thank everyone for their ongoing support and contribution. Rest and recharge for another day.
● When you can, hold a monthly Thursday or Friday lunch pot. Some of us became creative with our cooking skills during lockdown. Why not share this with our colleagues, spread love and talk. Of course you will need to observe social distancing measures and ask your staff first if this is something they would be comfortable with.