In Crisis, Here's What Employees Want Most
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, employers are scrambling to protect their workforce, minimize disruptions, and adapt to a new, virtual way of working. Undoubtedly, the crisis will have many phases. And now more than ever, companies need to keep the lines of employee communication open with what is the most disparate workforce this economy has ever seen.
So, as company leaders navigate the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, here are some imperatives and key questions to consider:
- Align: Is your senior leadership team aligned on your response to COVID-19?
- Connect: Do your employees feel well-informed? Are your senior leaders clued-in to what it’s like on the front line?
- Coach: Are managers and leaders demonstrating they care about employee concerns?
- Perform: Are you performing effectively and efficiently given all of the changes, stresses, and contingencies that are being presented by this crisis?
During a crisis, there’s one workplace culture driver in particular that can get overlooked. “Clued-In Leaders” is about upward feedback and employees feeling heard. What happens when organizations struggle with this? When employees believe senior leaders are out of the loop, it’s harder for them to connect with the organization. And when leaders really aren’t clued in to what’s happening, they’re missing valuable insight from those closest to the customer: their employees.
To keep a strong connection and stay “clued in” with employees – especially now – pay special attention to keeping the lines of communication open. Here are three ideas:
- Communicate through levels of hierarchy. Ask employees to talk to their managers and managers to talk to their managers. Then, talk to the senior leadership team up through the layers of the organization.
- Utilize town hall meetings. While it’s best to hold these in person, virtual town meetings can also be an effective way to communicate key messages and give your employees a voice.
- Ask your employees for feedback. Pulse surveys are the most effective and efficient way to ensure you give employees a voice, capture real-time data, and deliver it to the senior team quickly and directly.
Demonstrating this connection really makes the difference between an average or awful workplace and a great workplace.
Doug Claffey is founder of Energage, a Philadelphia-based research and consulting firm that surveyed more than 2 million employees at more than 7,000 organizations in 2019. Energage is The Washington Post’s research partner for Top Workplaces.
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