The COVID -19 outbreak has been an overwhelming time for everyone.
Our businesses, workforces and institutes are all dealing with uncharted territory and trying to navigate through it as best they can.
If lucky enough to do so, many organisations around the globe are working from home. With many employees now working remotely, the way we work is changing dramatically. How can we ensure a company’s culture and employer brand stay intact? How can we make sure people are feeling supported, connected and aligned with company values?
I have outlined the 3 most important things to focus on in the midst of this uncertain time to ensure that you are doing the best you can to care for the people in your organisation and to care for your employer brand.
SUPPORT YOUR PEOPLE
During this time, while companies are figuring out how to run their business, it’s important they also don’t forget to focus on the people within the company itself. Companies need to make a plan to help support their people because, ultimately they are the most critical part of an organisation. It’s crucial to treat your employees with compassion and kindness at this time and let them know you are as committed to them as they are to you. There is no one-size-fits-all solution on how to show your commitment and not every company has the means to support their employees like they used to. However as long as you have a plan, you will be able to protect your people and employer brand during the outbreak of COVID-19.
Here are a few ways to help you get started
- Collaborative tools: Provide access to video and chat platforms so that your employees can communicate with each other. This fights isolation and ensures team unity and productivity! It also allows employees to stay social with their team.
- Focus and encourage employee well-being: Create a wellbeing plan for your employees to focus while they work remotely. This could be a weekly menu of things which your people can choose from to help them break up their day and disconnect from work and the media. Consider sharing apps, podcasts and online programmes which focus on mindfulness and meditation. Did your company previously offer exercise classes? You could now organise virtual classes. It’s also important to offer advice around working remotely. Send reminders for everyone to take breaks and lunch, go for walks and stay hydrated throughout the day!
- Create a virtual support program: Twitter’s is demonstrating their commitment to employees by carrying out #FlockTalk organised by their Inclusion and Diversity team. This is a support programme where employees can discuss how COVID19 is impacting them. Consider creating something similar to allow employees to know they have a place to go when they need support.
- Keep spirits up: Do a weekly round up email of positive things that have happened company wide throughout the week. Get employees to send in the highlights of the week. No matter how small it might be!
This is an uncertain time for everyone. Employees can feel out of the loop and confused about what is happening and they want to hear from you, especially now. Communicate as openly as you can and as often as you can with your people about news and updates that impact them. Staying connected and keeping up communication is key to keeping your culture intact. Transparency during this time will be incredibly appreciated by everyone. Develop a clear communication plan with your employees and make sure team leaders are following suit.
It can be difficult to feel connected and engaged when employees are working from home – especially if it’s something they have never done before! Most people spend their days working closely with their team, meaning communication is effortless. Make sure to take the steps to ensure your people feel connected and supported. This could mean scheduling weekly video company updates, having 10 minute calls to kick start and wrap up a team’s day or even an 11am coffee catch up call. Employees should be encouraged to reach out to their boss or team on video calls or chat apps whenever they need to whether they have questions or even just for a bit of motivation!
ACTION YOUR CORE VALUES AND EVP’S
Your core values play a huge part in how a company structures itself and your employee value proposition plays an important role in engaging and developing employees. The communications you make during this time with your employees will shape how they view the company, culture and brand more than ever. This is a vital time for you to reiterate your identity to your people and to the world. Take this as an opportunity to action your values and EVP’s to show your people who you are. You might have to make some hard and challenging decisions during this time but stick to the company values and be open and honest – it’ll go a long way.
It is without a doubt that the way we work is changing because of the COVID – 19 pandemic. Our businesses, workforce and schools are adjusting as best they can to the situation. By supporting and connecting your workforce and ensuring your actions align with your values and EVP’s you are continuing to look after your employer brand and your people.
Don’t forget to plan everyday with compassion and kindness and stay safe!