With the end of the covid-19 pandemic nowhere in sight, businesses big and small continue to face difficult challenges. Many companies have had to either downsize or close down. As a result, employee morale in several organizations appears to be at an all-time low. For one, company workers have no stability in their jobs. They don’t know when their names will come up in the never-ending list of redundancies and early retirements.
Besides, those who have managed to keep their jobs have also had to sacrifice. Full-time employees are becoming part-timers, and many have seen drastic decreases in their income while maintaining equal levels of productivity.
How can businesses tackle a growing pandemic and, at the same time, preserve employee morale? The answer to this question is not an easy one. Yet, there are certain things organizations can do to maintain employees motivated at the time of a crisis. These include employee bonding experiences, flexibility, and managing expectations through proper communication.
Strength in Numbers
One of the many effects of covid-19 in human beings is the feeling of isolation. Many people feel lonely, anxious, and depressed. It is especially true in those individuals who used to work outside their homes. For these people, the change from a social environment to a secluded one has been dramatic.
To deal with this, companies must provide a virtual environment where employees can share valuable time, talk to one other, and release stress. One way to do this is through group activities involving art and music. As many will attest to, nothing brings people together more than music.
For example, businesses could enroll their staff in weekly singing or piano lessons. They are fun and provide a wonderful opportunity for employees to bond. They also show the workforce that the company cares about their well-being.
In times of crisis, there is nothing more important than being flexible. Things are unpredictable and in constant change. Thus, companies must have the ability to adapt, to tread the waters in an open-minded, non-rigid way.
Flexibility is not the same as leniency. Laziness and procrastination shouldn’t be condoned. Staff members need to have it clear in their minds that there is still work to be done.
However, even if the result has to be the same, the method to achieve it doesn’t have to be. Employees with adequate home workstations should have the opportunity to telecommute. Companies should offer flex-time. Deadlines should be extended whenever possible.
By being flexible, enterprises show workers that they understand their situations and have their backs.
Perhaps one of the main factors always linked to a crisis is uncertainty. Nothing is for sure, and people don’t know what will happen. Hence, proper communication is more important than ever. Employees need to know what is happening and what is planned for the near future. They must also be aware of why this is happening and when.
If part of the workforce will be cut, clear reasons should be outlined along with schedules, job placement opportunities, severance pay, and early retirement packages. The last thing employees want is to be caught by surprise. They have families to feed and bills to pay.
Managing expectations is not about providing ideal scenarios. It’s about being honest, timely, and clear. Most employees will accept the loss of their jobs as long as this is communicated in a transparent, logical manner.
Maintaining employee morale in a crisis is one of the most challenging things a company will ever have to face. But, this doesn’t mean companies cannot do it. They can provide opportunities for employee bonding and become a little more flexible. They can also manage employee expectations and provide better, more appropriate communication channels. By doing so, they will survive and keep a motivated, loyal workforce in their ranks.