Over the last few weeks, there has been so much fear and uncertainty about the future. Employees are looking to you–their employer–to address some of their fears and guide them through the uncertainty. While we know you’re doing the best you can given the circumstances, there are three things you should keep in mind when addressing your employees, and their concerns around COVID-19. Now more than ever, your employees are relying on you to guide them.
3 things to keep in mind:
- Be clear: There is a lot of misinformation being shared around COVID-19 which only adds to the fear and uncertainty. Our research indicates that 79% of employees trust their employers when it comes to their wellbeing. This means that they will likely turn to you for clarity. You have a powerful role to play in disseminating accurate information, cutting through the noise, and giving employees guidance. Language is key in this process, so be concise and clear with your messaging.
- Be empathetic: Because the recent events were unexpected, we weren’t prepared to handle the impact on our everyday lives. We’re each being affected in different ways. Your job as an employer is not to solve every problem, but your messaging should be compassionate, caring, and understanding. The key is to ensure your communications are reassuring, empowering, and leave room for open dialogue. A simple way to achieve this is to take the time to ask ‘how are you?’ then wait for an answer and listen to the response.
- Be connected: With so many rules around social distancing in place, many of us are experiencing diminished physical contact with friends, family, and colleagues. You should make an extra effort to communicate effectively and often during this time. To ensure your employees don’t feel alone, let them know you’re available to talk if they ever need it. We also recommend regular updates from senior management to remind employees that you have their best interest in mind, and you’re staying on the pulse of current events.
For remote workers, we recommend you try to meet face-to-face over video chat if possible. While we know it’s easy to jump straight into conversations over email, it’s important to encourage employees to make space for human interaction. This will also ensure you’re keeping the company’s culture alive. If you can, we also recommend incorporating breaks during the work day for virtual exercise sessions, meditation, team quizzes and games, or virtual happy hours.
Need more help talking to your employees about COVID-19? Here’s an article you can share with your employees featuring our 10 best tips for getting through the uncertainty.