How to Help Employees Get Through Times of Crisis
Times of crisis inevitably lead to stress, fatigue, anxiety, feelings of isolation and lack of communication. Companies struggle with insecurities related to finances, workforce and, nowadays, the actual presence of employees in the office. Although stay-at-home orders have ceased in many countries and areas, it’s still risky to decide whether people should resume their normal schedules and workspaces. This uncertainty and unpredictability can determine workers to lose faith and trust in the organization that hired them.
What can leaders do online, to address these issues and make sure that employees remain loyal and satisfied? Here are a few suggestions:
Remind the team of the company’s culture and policies
Guidelines aren’t usually what people look to first when they feel worried and unassured. That is why it’s essential to remind them often of the resources that the company makes available for them, so as to help them through difficult times.
First and foremost, mental health policies should be generally known and understood by everyone. Managers may choose to send a weekly newsletter, corporate e-mails or reports, publish a company magazine or cite specialized articles from various scientific journals. People need to be informed, so as not to adopt or spread panic. They have to take care of their mental wellbeing, spend quality time with family and friends, practice hobbies and relax. The company can even offer employees free therapy sessions, subscriptions to meditation apps, vouchers for online mindfulness courses or anything they might be interested in for taking the burden of anxiety off their shoulders and restoring their self-confidence and efficiency.
Also, working parents should be encouraged to take advantage of flexibility options and find some balance between work and parenting. Whether they need to tend to a toddler or supervise an older child through online school, assist teenagers with homework or simply provide the basic necessities such as food, cleaning and buying supplies, parents have to be understood and helped to navigate through their responsibilities and tasks.
Tackle difficult subjects directly
Most corporations will probably decrease their spending and personnel costs in the near future, in order to make up for the losses brought on by the harsh market conditions. Projects funds will be cut, investments will be reduced and people will need to be laid off. Managers and HR representatives should have a face-to-face or virtual meeting with those who will leave the company, in order to let them know what led to this decision, what formalities will have to be performed and what options they have from that moment on, and then with the rest of the team, who will stay, because they too have to know what is happening, whether their jobs are safe and what the future has in store for everyone. They will probably have to take on additional work, in order to make up for the losses and eventually restore the firm to a more stable position.
Full disclosure and openness will make remaining workers feel more at ease and trust the management board more. Answering their questions and handing over fundamental information will help the company as a whole move toward progress and closer relations between team members.
Don’t be afraid to show vulnerability
Give an example and talk about your feelings first, so that others will be inspired and gain more confidence to speak up. However, try not to get fixated on your own emotions and experiences, instead encourage the rest of the team to share theirs. Don’t shy away from touching controversial subjects, such as racism, fake news, diversity, equality and inclusion. Workers need to know what management will tolerate and what will be scorned, but people’s concerns and misunderstandings also have to be addressed and their questions answered.
Admit when you don’t know something and request help in finding that information, take accountability when things go wrong, acknowledge imperfections and be authentic — all these are will be appreciated and emulated by colleagues and partners alike.
Keep them close
At TRISOFT, we know that leading a business is challenging work and hardships only intensify during times of crisis. A vital — and sometimes overlooked — part of this endeavor is communicating with employees sincerely and helping them sail over the stormy waters of the critical situation smoothly, alongside you. Because that’s what a team stands for!