Keeping Employees Motivated in a Gloomy Work Environment
If employers were struggling to keep employees motivated before now, coronavirus just made that a little more challenging. Millions of employees across the country have been forced to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of these employees have had to make an abrupt transition from the office to working from their homes. While there are concerns that this may hamper productivity and customer experience, leaders and managers want to keep employees happy and motivated. How is this possible?
1. Keeping employees calm
There’s growing panic among employees as the coronavirus continues to ravage the world. Business leaders, however, have to find a way to help employees calm their fears.
According to SHRM, calls to employee assistance programs, grew 20% in March, compared to the previous month. Employers have to pay more attention to the physical and mental health of their workers, to help them ease their fears about their work, the coronavirus, and more.
The US Chamber of Commerce recommends that;
● Employers maintain frequent communication with workers
● Take active steps to keep employees safe
● Consider establishing flexible work policies
● Reduce business meetings and travels significantly, and
● Keep up with state and local guidance.
2. Show genuine support
Business leaders are enjoined to show their support and care for employees during these times.
More importantly, these should be sincere and genuine. People may be dealing with various challenges with their personal and professional lives even when it appears like everything is normal. This is the time to be empathetic, show genuine support, and let employees know you’ve got their back. There are many free Covid-19 resources and services that Benefit companies have made available to help employees and employers.
3. Reward excellence
Even as employees are struggling to adapt to the new ‘normal’, it’s still important to leverage both formal and informal recognition programs to recognize and reward outstanding employees. This is an ingenious way to help bored and burned out workers regain motivation.
For these programs, it’s important to communicate expectations in clear terms to employees and also encourage employees’ inputs in recognizing outstanding teams and individual employees. Open praise, gift cards, and similar things may suffice in this case.
4. Promote engagement and inclusion
Remote employees (Work from Home-WFH) are at risk of loneliness due to the absence of regular office interaction and the current social isolation. This alone is enough to bore them and impact their productivity and performance.
It’s important to foster inclusion for WFH Employees so they can have that sense of belonging that can help them stay engaged and motivated. This is only possible by promoting social interactions and connections among employees, leveraging tools for inclusion, reassessing current work and business settings to promote inclusion, and creating virtual opportunities for employees to create a sense of belonging, among other things.
5. Being flexible, creative, and accommodating
You might have had big plans laid out for the year already and the current uncertainty may have threatened the possibility of achieving these plans. While it makes sense to help egg employees to help achieve organizational goals, it’s important to remember to also help employees keep stress levels down.
69% of employees already point to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most stressful time of their career. If it appears not so reasonable to carry on with initial goals and initiatives due to staff shortage, logistic reasons, or more, it may be much more reasonable to get flexible and creative, reassess and reevaluate team goals to avoid contributing more to employees high-stress burdens.
Employees need their leaders to be supportive now, more than ever.
This is the time to be empathetic, supportive, understanding, flexible, creative, and more, to help employees find their feet and stay mentally fit, healthy, happy, and motivated.