The COVID-19 lock down has undoubtedly forced everyone to look at matters from some alternative perspectives. With business environments evolving rapidly and the workforce becoming increasingly diverse and remote, keeping the teams motivated and productive to their best level becomes a demanding yet necessary task. While some sectors could be under pressure and look at optimizing their cost structures just to stay afloat, retaining key talent is very important.
Employees are going through a series of worries and distress may it be in the medical facilities, childcare, elderly care, loan payments, income disturbance, and others. All these have a major impact on employee engagement, productivity levels, and quality of work. We have been sensitive to such situations given the current context and have taken some proactive steps to ensure a seamless transition to the new situational demands.
Below are a few ways we adopted to enhance employee experience:
- Create a culture that drives the productivity – Redefining the culture that promotes transparent communication and organizational values within the team is extremely important as employees should feel they are a part of a bigger team contributing to the success of the company.
- Stronger communication regime – There is no such thing as over communicating right now. Things are changing fast, and leaders must connect with employees in real-time – as real people. Empathy is key when managing teams working remotely.
- Care – We have provided employees with all the required tools and resources to work effectively as part of the work from home scenarios. If organizations want employees to do and deliver more, then employees must feel valued as people. This is vital when health concerns arise among st the employees.
- Continue performance management – It’s important that we don’t park the performance management systems aside, on the contrary, it will be good to reflect back on the objectives set at the beginning of the year and reset those as things have changed during the pandemic. Appreciate people regularly on their milestone achievement and provide at least a non-monetary recognition.
- Employee engagement activities – We believe that engaged employees are happy, loyal, committed, and more productive. However, when they are not in the vicinity it’s important to keep them engaged all the time. We introduced some virtual employee engagement activities like online wellness programs, healthcare sessions, hosting online team building activities, appreciation sessions over coffee meetings, etc.
- Online learning – We are planning to adopt robust online learning systems that will cater to the upgrading of the employees’ skills and interests.
- Corporate Social Responsibility – This is the best time for companies to rake part in community support initiatives. Involve your employees into the social cause as this will lead to a long-lasting gratification for the company and its employees.
HR measures should be carefully analyzed through 3 dimensions – the employee, the cost-benefit, and the legal aspect of it. HR personnel should advise the senior management on how important it is to deal with employees in a reasonable way even amidst the cost optimization processes for creating new working models, compensation restructuring, etc. Companies should take proactive measures in looking at finer things in their organization to get opportunities out of this crisis, navigate the crisis in a positive way, and come out stronger.
Ms. Ambika Nair
Director – HR & Business Support,
WME Consultants, Dubai, UAE
MBA – Cardiff Metropolitan University