How to Engage Employees in a COVID 19 World

The great re-opening of the U.S. economy is beginning as government officials loosen restrictions on social distancing, public gatherings and business operations. However, employees have mixed feelings about the return driven by many conflicting issues. A recent social listening review conducted by VOX Global found that people are eager to open the economy but also have well-founded concerns about their personal safety.

Teammates coming back to work will be filled with anxiety about not only their physical health and safety, but also their economic health because of the devastating financial impact of the virus. However, a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (#SHRM) found that 1 in 4 Americans have not been told anything about how their company is responding to COVID-19.

Employee communication and engagement are critically important for relieving anxiety and instilling confidence in the workforce. The more we can address the questions and concerns of our teammates in advance, the more they can focus on their immediate tasks and contribute to the company’s recovery as well as the resurgence of the U.S. economy.

What to do to ensure a smooth transition back to work

Begin thinking about the return of your business immediately

While some organizations have already began thinking about the health implications of a re-start, there is much more to consider depending on the type of business, geography, employee base and other issues. Consider your re-entry strategy for employees across the organization and the best means to reach them while they are remote: email, phone, social media, etc.

Communicate regularly and use the c-suite as the company’s voice

VOX Global recommends using an organization’s owned and shared platforms to deliver messages and keeping the content balanced between the day-to-day operations of the company (business as usual) and information about the coronavirus, especially that impacting the company, employees or community directly. A balanced approach allows employees to see that the organization continues to function, while the COVID content acknowledges the moment and the immediate implications of the virus.

Whenever possible, use the CEO or members of the c-suite as the voice for company communications. This helps instill confidence with a wide range of important communities, but none more important than the employee base.

Be specific about health considerations

As soon as possible, begin relaying to your team the steps taken to ensure the workplace will be safe for their return. This not only includes the pre-emptive measures put in place concerning proper protective gear and cleaning, but also flexible work schedules and additional support the company is offering to respond to diverse employee situations and needs.  

Nurture your culture

Odds are your organization will be very different as people return to work whether it’s in the office, a family-owned store front or the factory floor. Critical to your operation’s comeback is reinforcing the best elements of your culture now whether your company is closed, an “essential business” or somewhere in between. The culture reinforces your values, defines the organization and holds the group together. It’s one of the critical factors that keeps employees coming back to work each day with a sense of purpose and ready to give their best. Maintaining that culture now will be a big part of getting back to your new normal as re-entry begins. 

This post was originally shared on LinkedIn here.

How to Engage Employees in a COVID 19 World

The great re-opening of the U.S. economy is beginning as government officials loosen restrictions on social distancing, public gatherings and business operations. However, employees have mixed feelings about the return driven by many conflicting issues. A recent social listening review conducted by VOX Global found that people are eager to open the economy but also have well-founded concerns about their personal safety.

Teammates coming back to work will be filled with anxiety about not only their physical health and safety, but also their economic health because of the devastating financial impact of the virus. However, a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (#SHRM) found that 1 in 4 Americans have not been told anything about how their company …

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