Businesses that have provided clear, consistent communication and dedicated support to employees have maintained higher morale and productivity levels throughout the constantly changing landscape of the past two years.

Organisations without effective communication channels have experienced a dive in morale and productivity. When people do not know what is happening and don’t receive regular clear information from the leaders within the organisation, they will begin to create their own scenarios and misinformation can become rife, which is extremely difficult to correct.

I work with a wide range of clients in the retail, hospitality, trade and construction and agriculture industries and the economic impact of COVID-19 on each of these has varied. In addition, we’ve been learning how to adapt to less personal interaction, restricted movement, increasing pressure on household budgets, and global challenges including climate change and conflict overseas. That’s a lot of reasons to lose a little sleep.

Rules and regulations have been in a constant state of flux, especially in public facing sectors such as retail and hospitality. In these situations where employees may be exposed to customers who blame them for such rules, it is vital to have clear information and support available to staff, so they feel empowered to make decisions which are backed by the business.

For business owners, they have the added challenge of managing their own affairs as well as supporting staff. With an overload of information, many of my clients didn’t have time to fully digest all the support options available and to ascertain if they were eligible for assistance.

Often, we act as their internal advisor by assisting owners to make decisions in the face of uncertainty, as well as seeking out those support mechanisms, both financial and personal, to help them manage that change.

Making staff feel safe and supported is also extremely important when dealing with ongoing change. Providing employees with a haven at work and a sense of stability makes them feel more comfortable, confident, and empowered.

It is best to provide regular updates to employees and to do so in a way that encourages feedback, interaction, and engagement. An engaged workforce that feels listened to, respected, and involved in decision making will be more productive and feel more positive and loyal towards their employer.

Working from home has become the norm for many employees. While some staff thrive in this setting, others feel disconnected from their work colleagues and find it hard to work alone.

Employers and managers need to identify and cater for the needs of diverse types of employees. Some people may be fine with a weekly check in, while others will require more structured support to achieve the best outcomes.

The ability to be nimble and adaptable has become a key aspect of operating a viable organisation over the past two years.

Businesses that have not been able to quickly adapt to online platforms have been left by the wayside. Being able to provide information in new ways to not only customers and clients but also to employees is extremely important.

Tips for managers and employers

  • Stay focused on your core values and clearly communicate the “why” of your business or organisation so staff remain connected and engaged with your business vision.
  • Find out how individual employees want to be supported and make sure they feel safe and valued.
  • Communicate regularly and in an open and honest way so staff know exactly what is going on within the business and wider industry sector.
  • Provide feedback channels for employees and explain the actions you are taking to address any issues that arise.
  • If staff are working from home provide them with the tools they need to create a healthy, comfortable, and enjoyable workspace including office furniture and technology.
  • Get creative regarding social interaction via online channels – it is important to find fun ways for staff to interact socially as most employees miss this interaction when they are working from home.
  • Be flexible and empathetic by listening to employee concerns and ensuring that there are various channels for them to communicate any concerns they may have.
  • Set clear and realistic expectations for employee performance which are achievable and remember to reward outstanding achievements. Share these success stories throughout your business to encourage others to step up to the next level.

If you would like support to implement your business plan whilst keeping your team engaged, then please get in touch.

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