Engaging and caring for your workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic

During a global crisis, employee wellness can be impacted in different ways – whether it’s physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of all three. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the way we work, the way we interact, and on our lives in general.

As the Australian Government said in its recently released COVID-19 National Health Plan, “Coronavirus is changing the way we live, work and communicate and prioritising our mental wellbeing is an important part of staying healthy”.

Organisations will inevitably place their focus on the processes required for business continuity, however leaders should not forget about their most valuable asset, their people.

Here are some insights and practical advice for organisations looking to support employees’ well-being during these unprecedented times which reinforce wellness in the workplace.

Increase visibility

Maintaining visibility during times of change is essential for employees to feel informed. A well-defined and widely understood communication process can help create trust within the organisation and ensure employees are up-to-date on company information, policies, and organisational changes.

It’s also important to ensure employees know where to access company information and updates, and where they can get help or support. Leveraging a system to centralise company information will help organisations deploy time-sensitive material quickly across the entire workforce.

Additionally, leaders will need to rethink their standard leadership tactics such as “walking the floor” and having in-person one-on-ones. During a crisis, leaders are traditionally coached to be highly visible and physically present, so employees can connect and interact. Given today’s unique scenario, leaders must adapt and effectively leverage digital platforms to maintain visibility through virtual office hours, all-hands calls, and video chat one-on-ones.

Encourage two-way communication

While it’s critical that organisations are ensuring visibility every step of the way as changes occur, it’s just as important for employers to ensure employees’ voices are heard. Organisations can provide the workforce with a platform to voice their opinions and concerns. Engagement analysis tools allow organisations to collect feedback from people and identify patterns and trends in employees’ emotional states. With this information, organisations can build action plans to respond quickly to employee concerns, as well as help reduce turnover, burnout, and absenteeism.

Empower employees to self-manage their time

As COVID-19 continues to shake up the routines of the workforce and their families, further flexibility is needed. At the same time, businesses must meet customer demand. Organisations can empower employees to balance their work and personal matters by allowing their people to schedule time away from work, or work on flexible rosters to address personal matters.

Additionally, workforces have become more dispersed  - with some employees transitioning to a work from home model, while others may still need to work on-site. Companies need to enable their employees to be able to access their rosters from anywhere, at any time.

Offer holistic benefits

Employees are grappling with many changes and navigating day-to-day life with an uncertain future. Organisations can offer wellness programs that include mental health benefits to help ensure workers have access to the type of care needed to prevent, treat, or manage psychological distress and burnout.

Maintain a positive employee experience

Change is happening daily and maintaining a positive and consistent employee experience during this uncertain time will help organisations drive continued employee performance and engagement.

Leadership must set the tone for the workforce, and this starts with genuine engagement, as well as open and honest conversations every step of the way.

For more information please visit, www.ceridian.com/au/.

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